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Starting an Accountancy Firm

Starting an Accountancy Firm

Company structure

The first thing you'll have to consider when setting up an accountancy firm is whether or not you are going to set up as a sole practitioner or registering a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP). The choice into whether you set up an LLP or not is dependent on tax benefits.

To set up an LLP, start by searching your company name here.

Compliancy

In order to start your own accountancy firm, you need to have a Practising Certificate. This is to stay compliant with the ACCA's Global Practising Regulations 2003 requirement. You cannot get this certificate as a student. You'll need 2 years of experience post qualifications.

Once you've achieved this, you'll need to get business insurance to protect your firm against theft or damage and personal injury in the office. It is also worth getting professional liability insurance to protect yourself against any professional errors.

Throughout your accountancy venture, you'll need to make sure you stay compliant with UK law and/or the law of the country your client is operating in. This includes Anti-Money Laundering regulations (AML).

You'll also need a business bank account.

Planning

Financial

There are a few financial elements that are important to consider. Firstly, you'll need to create a financial plan. In this plan you'll need to ensure that your income will meet your needs. It is important to remember that you can part-time whilst trying to set up your accountancy firm. Your income needs to be able to cover your cost of living. Your financial plan also needs to consider operating costs, sick leave, holidays and training.

Business plan

Your financial plan should run in conjunction with your business plan. The business plan will be your main pitch point for funding and investors. It should be regularly revised in order to ensure your accountancy firm will develop with your progress.

Marketing

You'll be starting with a small client base or no one at all. You'll have to invest in marketing in order to get your company out there. This may be in digital marketing, SEO, networking at events etc.

End goal

Your ultimate end goal for starting an accountancy firm is important to understand from the outset. A lot of this should already be outlined in your business plan such as what type of accountancy practice you want to be (e.g. consulting or for a specific industry area etc.) and whether you want to be a solo practitioner or employ staff.

Outside of your business plan, it is important to understand why you are setting up your own accountancy firm. Do you want to be your own boss? Do you want more flexibility (to spend time with family or other)? Do you simply think you can do it better? Whatever your reason for starting, you need to make sure it is the right reason.

Extra tips

Online professionalism

Know your limits

Don't be afraid of the limitations of your own knowledge. You can say no to a client if they are out of your expertise areas – it's up to you. Taking advice from peers, mentors or others is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, it is resourceful.

It's important to make your new students fill out and sign two forms (especially if it is a private lesson): a student information form and a liability waiver. The student information form should include information such as if they have done yoga before or not, if they do other sports/physical activities, any medical conditions and/or past injuries.