How to Start an Accounting Business in 10 Easy Steps [2024]

Accounting Business

I bet you’ve considered working for yourself, whether you’re a finance student straight out of college or have years of experience working in an accounting department or firm. Investigating how to launch an accounting firm involves many factors.

Let’s examine the crucial actions and errors to avoid. You can define your career path and benefit from the freedom and control of self-employment by starting your accounting firm. The process requires a lot of research and work.

As you decide how to proceed with starting your accounting business, you’ll want to be meticulous and well-informed.

A new business empire might also be difficult to establish given the financial data and legal requirements. Most people engage accountants to handle their accounts because it is a typical concern.

However, taking advantage of this circumstance requires more than simply a foundation in accounting. You must master a company strategy that fits the culture of competition.

We are aware of how challenging it is. But don’t lose concentration! If you intend to start over at your CPA firm without much past expertise, this article is for you.

Alternatives for Opening an Accounting Firm

The typical idea of beginning a business is to construct it from the ground up, however, this may not always be the best course of action for new accounting ventures.

For instance, as Home Business magazine notes, many professionals start the process of going it alone by freelancing. As a result, you can continue working at your current employment and develop important connections with new clients.

The most prevalent ways to launch an accounting firm are as follows

  • Starting from scratch: One advantage of starting a new accounting company is that you won’t have to deal with legacy pricing, technology, or client service issues. However, entrepreneurs must decide their pricing approach and develop a marketing strategy.
  • Start with a part-time business: Taking up a few clients on the side while continuing to serve as staff accountants is a common strategy used by accountants to make the transition from employee to owner. With no danger of completely leaving their current work, they can see what running a full-time practice might be like in this way.
  • Find a partner: With a partner, a company can offer a greater range of services to appeal to a wider customer; nevertheless, the chemistry between partners must be good, and everyone must be willing to make compromises for the success of the business.
  • Buy a practice: While buying an existing practice may appear to be a straightforward approach to starting an accounting business, the market usually has more buyers than sellers. This allows sellers to choose a buyer with extensive experience to protect the interests of the business’s existing clients. Purchasing a practice means inheriting a client list and other assets, but it’s also the most expensive option.

10 Steps to Start an Accounting Business Successfully

1. Pick a company name

This may seem like a simple decision to make, but the name you choose for your company will have a big impact. Customers will associate it with your brand, and it will appear on every piece of marketing content and communication you create.

Some business owners decide to use their first and last names as the names of their companies. Or they opt to be a little more imaginative and pick a trading name. To make sure no other company is utilizing the desired name, I advise conducting a corporate name search.

Knowing this as soon as possible enables you to change your mind about your name before spending money on registering the name and developing your marketing materials. A trademark search is also a wise decision if you plan to grow your company into additional states in the future.

2. Pick a type of business entity and register your accounting firm

An accounting business must consider the legal and tax ramifications of its business structure. PLLCs (Professional Limited Liability Companies), PCs (Professional Corporations), and LLCs are common business structures for one-person accounting firms and small corporations (Professional Corporation).

Accountants frequently take into account the LLP (Limited Liability Partnership) form when launching an accounting company with many owners.

Because each of them is regarded as a distinct legal entity, they all provide some level of liability protection for the business owner.

Therefore, unlike running an accounting firm as a sole proprietorship or general partnership, the owner’s assets are often not in danger in the event of lawsuits or financial difficulties for the company.

However, keep in mind that business owners are accountable for any misconduct or neglect on a personal level.

Because they are governmental constructs, the requirements and costs to establish commercial entities vary from state to state. Be aware that some states might have limitations on the corporate formations an accounting firm may use.

Reviewing the legislation that is relevant in your state is essential. You can accomplish this by talking to a lawyer and accessing the websites of the pertinent state agencies (such as the office of the Secretary of State).

3. Research is important

Scenarios related to finances and taxes are always shifting. Keep yourself informed as a result, because it is essential. Learn various terms, demographics, and psychographics to better manage your accounting processes.

It is essential to consider your prospects’ needs before making any decisions because the revenue streams of different people vary. It will also be beneficial for you to develop sound tactics if you understand how tax rules affect businesses and employees.

It is crucial to comprehend how accounting rules and concepts apply to various business endeavors.

4. Obtain an Employer Identification Number

Your company is identified for tax filing and reporting purposes by an Employer Identification Number (EIN), often known as a Federal Tax ID Number. Businesses that employ people or do corporate or partnership business must acquire an EIN.

Before opening a business bank account for a corporation, the majority of banks demand that the company obtain an EIN.

5. Business for Your Accounting Office

The next phase is marketing your business to grow your clientele after you’ve put the startup pieces in place and decided on a specialty. Positive word-of-mouth marketing is the quickest and most trustworthy type.

Request referrals from and approval to use past clients as references from your current clientele.

Using Promotion to Draw Customers to the Business

Starting an accounting firm requires more than just expanding your clientele; it also necessitates marketing your expertise by expanding your professional network:

  • Make use of every chance to arrange a friendly meet-and-greet with potential customers.
  • Consider joining a neighborhood business group or getting involved in civic or professional organizations.
  • Offer free services, which is a fantastic approach to making new relationships in the corporate world.
  • Inform your loved ones, acquaintances, and coworkers that your company is looking for references.
  • Targeted advertising on websites like Yelp, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn offers the chance to reach huge audiences. Being active on social sites is a terrific way to draw customers. Just be certain that you are focusing on your precise target market.
  • For favorable press coverage, you may also provide your services to a neighborhood charity and events. And if in doubt, distribute fliers and coupons while standing on the sidewalk. You can also put these materials on cars and office bulletin boards (with permission).

Developing the Online Brand of the Company

Promoting your services on social media, the company website, and other online platforms are essential as more business activity and communication move online.

For Example, AskForCPA is very famous for Online Bookkeeping and Accounting, this is just because of their Online Promotion.

The five components of a small accounting firm’s consistent brand are as follows, according to CPA Practice Advisor:

  • The company’s logo is the most identifiable component of a brand and establishes the tone for the message it wants to convey to the outside world.
  • The company’s tagline is a succinct statement that conveys the most significant feature or quality of the enterprise.
  • Using a color scheme that is constant throughout all printed and online content helps communicate the company’s brand.
  • Use the same fonts for both written and online interactions. Make sure the typefaces you select are from a library that is suitable for the web.
  • The images, illustrations, and backgrounds that accompany the firm’s online presence and correspondence should adhere to a uniform aesthetic.

6. Select the Products and Services You Will Offer

Since there aren’t many products available to you as an accountant, this process will be rather simple.

More people buy bookkeeping than any other accounting service. Other services that an accounting firm often provides include:

Accounts payable and receivable, billing, payroll, quarterly taxes, general ledger entries, and monthly trial balances are all included in the bookkeeping service.

  • Accounting: Creating financial statements, budgeting, and state, local, and federal tax returns. It also encompasses putting up computerized accounting systems, auditing information systems, monitoring assets, and auditing services.
  • Consulting: Offering wise counsel on financial strategy, business plan, risk management, and financial and regulatory developments.

Even though you’ll need to be knowledgeable in each of these areas, you can choose to specialize in some areas, such as accounting for startups or investment organizations.

Even while the fundamental concept is the same, every industry has its unique quirks.

Understanding and excelling in those intricacies will help your business succeed.

7. Purchase the Required Business Licenses and Permits

To obtain a CPA certificate and a license to practice, candidates for the designation must complete the CPA exam.

Additionally, each state has its own set of prerequisites for education and experience that must be met before someone may work as a CPA in that jurisdiction. Information on the professional requirements can be found in your state’s State Board of Accountancy.

Municipalities at the state and local levels could additionally need additional licenses and permits.

The following examples of possibilities are only a few:

  • A general business operating permit
  • Permit for Signs
  • Home occupation license (if operating a business from home)

8. Watch out for your competitors

It’s strongly advised to monitor competing businesses as you create your own business. Many times, people mistakenly believe that competition only involves comparing one accounting firm to another that is nearby.

Instead, it’s all about your prospects and how clients compare you to one another. That said, it might be anything. Additionally, examining your business from the perspective of a consumer and learning about the foundations can be very advantageous to your endeavor.

9. Software for cloud-based accounting

The usage of accounting software in the cloud is known as cloud-based accounting. Data is accessed via faraway servers rather than through desktop machines that need applications installed. The provider of the pertinent software maintains these remote servers.

Google Drive is a shining example of a popular cloud-based application. Google Sheets is an alternative you have if you need to utilize a spreadsheet but don’t have one on your machine because it is stored on the cloud.

Cloud-based solutions are superior to desktop-based apps in several ways, including:

  • Security
  • Online access from any location
  • Compatibility with other cloud-based applications
  • Real-time reporting

10. Schedule your business compliance responsibilities

After starting an accounting firm, there are continual commitments to fulfill in order to keep things in order with the federal, state, and local governments.

For instance, the majority of states demand that LLCs, PLLCs, and PCs present annual reports and provide proof of current certification. A corporation registered as an accounting firm will have more compliance requirements than an LLC.

They must conform to the bylaws, submit annual reports, hold annual meetings, record meeting minutes, and follow other rules. The requirements for company compliance vary by entity type and by state.

To eliminate any doubt regarding what needs to be done and the submission deadlines, think about using Compliance Portal.

The majority of accounting organizations also have the following compliance obligations to fulfill:

  • Renew licenses and permissions for businesses.
  • Keep your personal and business finances separate.
  • Having a registered agent on file in each state where the company is registered.
  • Renew commercial insurance coverage.
  • Officially document significant corporate changes using Articles of Amendment.


When starting an accounting firm, it’s important to have a well-thought-out plan and to be fully prepared for success. Starting an accounting business requires the same knowledge and abilities that accountants use in their day jobs.

A laser focus on satisfying your clients’ demands, along with a specialization focus and an efficient marketing strategy, will help your business plan achieve its objectives.

Author Bio:
Sophia Williams is a qualified content writer with experience in writing on a variety of subjects. He has written a lot of Content on Bookkeeping, Accounting, and many other topics for Ask for CPA.

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