If you’ve been working in accounting firms and want to branch out on your own, it’s an excellent time to do so. If you’ve never worked in an accounting firm, you may need a little practice before this next step. Working in a firm before you start one helps you network, build a client base, and learn the business.
Once you’ve worked in a small practice, have a prospective client base, and have honed the right skills, you can start setting up your account firm. It’s essential to set goals, consider your finances and tax forms, and find the right employees if you’re hiring a team. However, don’t skip these additional three crucial steps before you begin.
1. Build a professional image.
It’s essential to build a client base and establish a good reputation for your small business. However, customers look for more when they’re considering what firm to hire. It’s crucial to build your image in line with the vision of your small business. An easy way to begin doing this is to get the right outfits for every business situation.
Wear a pantsuit or business attire with a stylish jacket for client meetings. At a social networking event, pick a business dress in a sensible fabric with a simple jacket or blazer. Don’t let your clients see you in sneakers, sandals, or casual attire unless you run into them after business hours. Even in less formal settings, skip casual wear and stick to business casual, so that you always look professional.
Even your accessories speak volumes to your customers—everything from the jewelry you wear to your dress pants and button-down shirts helps to create a specific type of image for you and your company. So, pick your business wear depending on the kind of image you want to project. The right dress code can help you obtain more clients and create more confidence in your new firm.
2. Get the right business tools.
There’s no use in having traditional business attire, a great team, and a good business plan if you don’t have the right tools. To ensure that your firm is successful from the start, don’t skimp on the essentials. Get the right accounting software program and ensure that you have proper cloud-based tools for your employees. If you’re working remotely, make sure you set up security software to prevent losing data or sensitive information.
It’s also essential to have the right stationery in the office. Do you have proper paper for every important tax document? Accounting firms need letterheads and customized envelopes. Consider getting stationery, especially for your accounting firm. Get your name put on self-seal envelopes for all your important correspondence.
Consider getting W-2 envelopes, 1099 envelopes, double window envelopes, envelopes with a security tint, and anything else you may need for your employees and tax season. Customized stationery is also a great option for when you have to send out official correspondence and important tax return documents.
3. Focus on the legal aspects.
So, you’ve managed to get clients, stationery, software, and proper business wear. However, have you given the legal aspects of opening a small business any consideration? A vital issue for any company—especially an accounting one—is to ensure you don’t get hit by lawsuits and liability claims.
Even if it’s a small company, consider setting it up as a legal entity of its own. It will prevent you from being liable in the case of a lawsuit or any other issues. Also, hire a financial advisor, lawyer, and team of professionals to help you navigate federal and state laws. This will help you ensure that you’re following the best business practices and going by the book.
It’s also vital to check other legal issues before you set up your firm. Several missteps can sink your business before it has a chance at success. So, check that your name is available, set up a separate business bank account, hire the right people and don’t forget tax season. The more you learn about the legal aspects of starting a business, the more successful your accounting firm will be.