Accounting services monitor the taxes, expenses, income, and other financial information for individuals and organizations. Professional accountants provide individuals and business owners with a precise depiction of their finances, execution of tax relief strategies, and other types of financial benefits for their clients.
This article will look at what you need to do when setting up an accounting office.
1. Create a Business Plan
It is essential to have a clear plan to succeed as an entrepreneur. It will help plan the particulars of the business and learn some unknowns.
Start by choosing a business name and try and choose one that does not include your name. The second step is determining the costs needed to open the accounting office. You will need an office, accounting software, computers, filing cabinets, desks, printers, ledger sheets, insurance, and money for marketing. Exam fees are also needed to become a certified public accountant (CPA).
An accounting office also incurs ongoing expenses such as utility bills, office rent, salaries, internet, insurance, software upgrades, marketing costs, and general office expenses. You should be ready to cater to these expenses out of your pockets during the initial months of operations. You still have to obtain a client base to start making money.
Another thing to include in your business plan is the target market. Large businesses, business owners with varied income sources, and wealthy individuals are among the clients to consider. It would be best if you also outlined how you will make money. Will you charge your clients on an hourly basis or a flat rate? You can charge large organizations an annual sum to cover a year’s worth of accounting services. The amount you charge each client is determined by the size of the entity, scope of work, your location, among other factors.
2. Form a Legal Entity
Corporations, Limited Liability Companies, partnerships, and sole proprietorships are the most common business structures. Forming a legal entity such as a corporation or a limited liability company protects you from liability if someone sues your accounting firm.
3. Register for Taxes
Before you open for business, you must register for several federal and state taxes. You will have to apply for an employer identification number (EIN) to register for taxes. The EIN is acquired free from the IRS website, mail, or fax. Depending on the type of business structure you settle for, you may have different tax options for your business.
4. Open your Business Bank Account
If you want to protect your assets, you should open a business banking and credit account. If you mix your business and personal accounts, you will be putting your assets (car, home, etc.) at risk if your business is sued. You also learn how to build business credit as it helps obtain credit cards and other required financing using your business name. A business account also makes it easier to file business taxes and accounting.
A business credit card helps separate business expenses from personal expenses and build your firm’s credit history, which you can use to raise money in the future.
5. Obtain Necessary License and Permits
Licenses and permits are essential, and operating a business without them can result in huge fines or the closure of your business. For an accounting office, you may require to obtain an accounting license from the state; this requirement depends on the state you are operating your business.
Get CPA certified. CPA certification is mandatory for providing accounting services that need a certified accountant. Also, develop a services contract that clearly states the services you provide and the charges for each service.
6. Obtain Business Insurance
Any business needs insurance to operate lawfully and safely. Business insurance safeguards your company’s financial health if a covered loss happens. Insurance policies are of different types to suit different businesses with varied risks. If you are unsure about the risks you may encounter, it would be good to start with general liability insurance. You should also acquire workers’ compensation insurance if you have employees in your accounting office.
7. Define your Brand
Your business brand is what it stands for and how the public perceives the business. A credible and robust brand helps a business stand out among its competitors.
You also need to promote and market your accounting firm. The best way to promote the business is to establish relationships with local professionals and business owners and attend networking conferences and events. Use different methods to advertise the business, such as regional magazines, brochures, flyers, radio and TV ads, and the local newspaper.
A business website is also essential, and it should look professional with an intuitive user experience design. Ensure that your website content is optimized for search engines to enable locals to find your service when searching online for accountants within their locality.
To attract and retain customers:
- Take advantage of every networking event to advertise your business.
- Seize every opportunity to let others know about your accounting service.
- During tax season, increase your marketing efforts when there is a high demand for accounting services.
- Beat or match competitor prices, create strategies to minimize client expenses, and expound accounting particulars in a language that the client quickly understands.
8. Have a Business Phone System
Another way to separate your business life from your personal life is by having a business phone system. It also helps automate your business, gives it legitimacy, and makes it easier for prospective customers to contact and find you. Many options are available for business owners willing to install a business phone system.
Accounting is an extensive and competitive field. So long as complex tax/finance laws and businesses exist, there will also be a demand for accounting services. If you prove your accounting skills, you will gradually acquire and retain clients to your roster.
You can even expand within your region and across the state. The ultimate result is expanding your accounting service to reach clients throughout the nation.