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To launch an accounting firm, you'll need a little more than a knack for numbers. From understanding your target market, setting business goals and ensuring the right legal documents are in place, we've outlined the best steps to take for a successful venture.
An accounting business takes care of other people's finances, whether they be business or personal. Accountants are trained in summarising, analysing and reporting annual income and expenses to help businesses track and manage their money effectively.
It takes a certain type of person to become a highly skilled accountant. You'll need to be able to summarise and analyse financial data effectively while creating comprehensive and user-friendly reports for clients. While you will need to undergo training to become an accountant, you'll also need to possess these additional skills:
The very first step in opening your own accounting business is to make sure you're qualified for the job. Here's a quick overview of the qualifications you'll need...
The first step is to gain a diploma, bachelor's or master's degree in accounting, allowing you to apply for your practising licence.
A bachelor degree is the preferred option, as this will allow you to apply for entry to Australia's top professional accounting bodies.
A Bachelor in Accounting takes between 3 or 4 years of full-time study to complete and will cost around $11,000 per year, depending on the institution that you choose. To make your life a little easier, there are numerous online accounting courses that you can complete from the comfort of your own home.
If you already have an undergraduate degree under your belt, you could opt for the 2-year Master of Professional Accounting which will set you back around $14,000 per year of full-time study.
The Institute of Public Accountants (IPA), Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) and CPA Australia regulate the Australian accounting industry. With a Diploma or an Advanced Diploma of Accounting, you can apply for entry to the IPA. For CPA and CA ANZ accreditation, you will need a Bachelor of Accounting degree.
You will need a Professional Practice Certificate (PPC) before you start offering accounting services to the general public. You can usually apply for this through the board you're registered with, but you will need professional indemnity insurance to do so.
Here's a list of websites that offer accounting courses:
Choosing a name for your business can be a key factor in its success. Here's a quick step-by-step guide on choosing a name that reflects the services you provide while staying relevant:
To transform your business idea into a legal entity, you'll need to register for an Australian Business Number (ABN). This is a unique number that will identify your business to the government. You can use it on an invoice, on tax payments to claim goods and services tax (GST) or to get an Australian domain name.
To do this, you'll need to know how you'd like to structure your business. Depending on the size of your business and how you see it developing in the future, you may want to consider one of the following structures:
It's worth noting that you can change your business structure later down the line as it grows and evolves. If you're still unsure how to register your business, you may want to seek advice from a small business lawyer.
Although a business plan isn't a legal requirement to open a business, it can be a useful tool. Understanding your market, gaining insights into future finances and setting goals are all benefits of writing a business plan.
Here are a few elements to include:
When it comes to starting an accounting business, you will need to invest a certain amount of money. Luckily, there are a number of financing options available, ranging from personal loans to small business loans.
The table below shows a number of personal loan providers. Be sure you're able to afford the repayment plan, along with any added fees or charges, prior to applying for any type of loan.
If you're setting up your accounting business from home, a large part of your initial investments will go into buying the right equipment and software to run your business. We've put together a list of essentials.
You'll want to invest in some quality office furniture if you're launching your company from home or providing work areas for your employees. Basic accounting office furniture includes desks, office chairs, bookshelves and filing cabinets.
A computer or laptop is essential to running your accounting business. It will help you keep a log of customer's records, and organise and analyse financial data.
To make your life easier, you may want to invest in accounting software such as QuickBooks or Xero. Both can assist with forecasting and analysing data, helping to reduce human error in the long run.
As is the case with any new business, it's important to understand your legal rights and obligations before setting up shop. A good place to start is thinking about the legal documents that you need to get in place. You can do this yourself using online templates or contact a lawyer to do it for you.
Here's a list of a few essential legal documents you'll need to have in place to start your accounting business:
Generally, accountants charge for their time in two ways: They either provide clients with a fixed-rate fee for the project, or they decide on an hourly fee and bill their client at the end of the project.
Choosing how much to charge clients can be tricky, especially when you're first setting up in the industry. It's worth spending some time researching how other accounting businesses in your area charge their clients. This will give you a general idea of how to price your services and how to stay competitive.
Marketing is an essential tool when it comes to starting an accounting business. To kick-start your marketing, consider printing business cards and flyers to hand out in your local area. You could also consider buying a magnetic sign to advertise on your car.
Social media channels like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, along with email marketing, are effective methods to promote your services to a broader audience.
Online marketplaces also offer an excellent opportunity for selling your services. Airtasker, hipages and Oneflare are just a few examples of this hassle-free service. These types of websites help you to gain access to potential markets and maximise sales.
Online business directories are also useful assets to add to a small business's marketing plan. They are comprehensive and can help you reach new customers.
What are the different types of accounting fields?
There are various types of accounting available, including auditing, tax accounting, managerial accounting, cost accounting and fiduciary accounting.
Can you start an accounting business from home?
Yes. In fact, many new accounting businesses choose to work from home to cut down costs while they find their feet. Most of an accountant's work takes place online or with clients, all of which can be done from the comfort of your own home.
How much do self-employed accountants earn?
According to PayScale, an accountant can earn between $58,000 and $80,000 annually. When you're self-employed and set your own rates, you have the potential to earn this and more.Back to top
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