Accounting skills are in great demand. Some larger businesses hire in-house accountants. But many large businesses, and most small businesses, can't justify paying a full-time employee to do accounting. That leaves a void to be filled by accountants who are independent contractors.
The main requirement for starting an accounting business is the proper training. In order to be a Certified Public Accountant in most states, you must have degree in accounting. Some states allow various combinations of education and experience. Check your state's CPA board website to find out what requirements you will have to meet.
Startup costs for an accounting business include fees for your licensing exam. These will likely be one of your biggest expenses when getting started. You'll also need accounting software and a computer with a printer. An accounting business can easily be run from your home office, eliminating the need to pay rent on separate office space.
Promoting Your Accounting Business
Once you are licensed and set up, you can get started promoting your business. If you know other small business owners who could use your services, offer them. Providing accounting services for people you know gets you experience and references. These factors can help you get clients who do not know you personally.
Advertising in local papers is a good way to get the word out about your accounting business. Classifieds are usually inexpensive and can get results. But display ads are more noticeable and appear more professional. If your budget is low, you could start out with classifieds and move on to display ads when funds permit.
The yellow pages are one of the first places people looking for specific services, so a listing in this section of your local phone book is a sound investment. Just having your business name and phone number in there is often enough to get results. Display ads catch the eye more readily, but they are often pricey. People who are looking for an accountant who is close by will take the time to read all of the listings anyway.
Exchanging referrals with other business-to-business service providers can be beneficial to both parties. You could partner with a wide variety of providers, such as web designers, consultants, or even network installers. Clients often ask service providers for referrals to providers of other services. If you are willing to give referrals to others, they will often be happy to do the same for you.
Every business needs some accounting done at some point. Some larger businesses hire employees to do their accounting, and some small businesses do their own. But for everyone else, obtaining the services of an independent accountant usually makes the most sense. If you have or are willing to obtain a CPA license, an accounting business provides great money making potential.