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Starting a CPA Firm

If you have kicked around the idea of hanging out your shingle long enough and it’s time to get serious, then we can help. Every month, we work with many new and developing CPA firms helping them with the process. To avoid many of the pitfalls, here are some things that you should be asking yourself and pulling together before you start an accounting firm.

Self-Assessment

Before you hand in your resignation, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you have the experience to process the accounting needs of small businesses and individuals on your own?
  • Do you have the drive and motivation to succeed on your own?
  • Do you have support from your spouse and family?
  • Do you have the capital to get started and operate the accounting firm for one year?

Owning your own CPA firm business can be very rewarding. The process requires planning, hard work, perseverance, and investment. If you can weather the start-up and early development phase, the transition can be wonderful.

Entry Strategy

Most Accountants and CPAs start an accounting practice using a combination of:

  • Starting from scratch – Starting an accounting firm from ground zero allows you to begin without any legacy issues like old pricing, old software, and past-client service issues. To effectively market your services and price properly, you should enroll in a practice marketing and development program to learn marketing, pricing, selling and practice management.
  • Part-time practices - Many accountants start picking up clients on the side as a part-time practice. This lowers their risk and enables them to assess whether they might enjoy starting a full-time accounting practice.
  • Finding a partner – Some CPAs start off with an accounting peer. This can help expand the services of the firm so you can cast a wider net. This generally requires chemistry and compromise. While the start-up expenses are shared, so are the revenues.

I agree

by jcasetnl

I don't have a strong background in accounting but this mark to model crap, IMO, simply encourages banks to dabble in assets whose values are too prone to market swings.
Stick to the assets and practices that inspire confidence in your investors and depositors and you will have a strong bank.
When joe sixpack can no longer comprehend how your bank basically does business, he will panic and pull his money. People can argue all day but in the end this is the simple truth of business and life.

Generally, yes

by average-guy

I have money at Fidelity myself.
However, a few caveats.
Don't keep all your eggs in one basket. I have money in a savings and checking account at Chase, an IRA and brokerage account at Vanguard, an IRA and brokerage account at Fidelity, and a 401K at work. In this day and age when financial institutions engage in risky behavior and are not quite the model of the sound accounting practices they're supposed to be, it helps to spread your money around a bit.
If you know nothing about investing, you might want to get Investing for Dummies. Despite its title, it's a great book with some solid tips

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