accounting firm
26-Jun-2021 By - team

More than just a talent for math is required to start an accounting firm. We've detailed the recommended actions to take for a successful business venture, including analysing your target market, creating business goals, and making sure the appropriate legal paperwork are in place.

What is an accounting business?

An accounting firm manages other people's accounts, whether they are commercial or domestic. To assist businesses in properly tracking and managing their finances, accountants are taught to summarise, analyse, and report annual income and expenses.

Accounting firms help clients with a wide array of services, such as accounts payable / receivable, bookkeeping and payroll processing. They make sure that financial transactions are both accurate and legal, and they help individuals and businesses use financial statements to understand the health of their finances.
Daniel Hood, Editor-in-Chief at Accounting Today, reports that there are a lot of characteristics a firm needs to be good at to be ideal, including recruiting, keeping up with technology, being responsive to staff needs, and focusing on professional development.
Here are some tips on what accountants can do to ensure they enjoy a long and rising career in accounting.
  1. Don't fear technology. There is no escaping the fact that software skills are vital, says Jotkowitz. ...
  2. Learn to analyse data. ...
  3. Hone your communication skills. ...
  4. Learn how to lead. ...
  5. Seek sector-specific experience.
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Equip yourself with crucial industry skills

A certain kind of individual is required to become a highly skilled accountant. You’ll need to efficiently summarise and analyse financial data while producing thorough and understandable reports for clients. While training is required to become an accountant, you also need to have the following extra skills:

  • Strong writing skills
  • Clear communication
  • Critical thinking
  • Systems analysis
  • Time management
  • Organisational skills
  • Sharp eye for detail

Enroll in the suitable courses and get the best qualifications

The first step in starting your own accounting firm is to confirm your suitability for the position. Here is a brief summary of the skills you’ll require:

Qualify in accounting

To be eligible to apply for your practising licence, you must first have an accounting diploma, bachelor’s degree, or master’s degree.

The best option is to obtain a bachelor’s degree, as this will enable you to apply for membership in Australia’s top professional accounting associations.

Depending on the university you select, it will take 3 to 4 years of full-time study to earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting, which will cost you about $11,000 annually. There are several online accounting courses available that you can finish from the comfort of your home to help make your life a little easier.

If you already hold a bachelor’s degree, you might choose the two-year Master of Professional Accounting, which would cost you about $14,000 per year of full-time study.

Become a member of a professional accounting body

The Australian accounting sector is governed by the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA), Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ), and CPA Australia. You can submit an application for admittance to the IPA if you have a diploma or advanced diploma in accounting. You must have a Bachelor of Accounting degree in order to be accredited by the CPA and CA ANZ.

Apply for your licence

Before providing accounting services to the general public, you must have a Professional Practice Certificate (PPC). The board with which you are registered is typically where you may apply for this, but you will need professional indemnity insurance to do so.

Name your business

The name you choose for your company could make or break it. Here is a quick tutorial on how to pick a name that accurately describes the products or services you offer while being current:

  • Locate your niche. Will you simply focus on tax accounting or will you also offer to audit and investing services?
  • List potential names. Make a list of potential words that could describe your business and its offerings.
  • List your top choices. Examine your list of potential names and pick ones that are memorable, catchy, and simple to say and spell.

Investigate rivals. Verify that there are no rivals with names that are the same or sound similar.

  • Market analysis. Find industry professionals or prospective clients and solicit their opinions on the name you have picked.
  • Names of domains. Verify that the name you choose is available as a domain for your website.

Choose a business structure.

You must apply for an Australian Business Number in order to turn your business idea into a legal entity (ABN). This special number will let the government recognise your company. You can use it to obtain an Australian domain name, claim goods and services tax (GST) on tax payments, or include it on an invoice.

You’ll need to know your prefered business structure in order to accomplish this. You might wish to take into account one of the following structures, depending on the size of your company and how you envision it growing in the future:

  • Alone trading. You will be working alone to run the company as a sole trader. While you’ll be able to enjoy having total control over how your company runs, you’ll also be fully liable for any debts it accrues.
  • Partnership. You must register as a partnership if you intend to start a joint accounting firm with a friend. You will then have equal say over the company’s finances along with your partner.
  • Company. Companies are the best option for people looking to launch a sizable accounting business because they are more difficult and expensive to start up than other structures. A firm is often held by a number of shareholders who share the financial responsibility.

It’s important to keep in mind that as your company expands and changes, you can alter its structure. Consult a small business lawyer for guidance if you’re still confused of how to register your company.

Create a business plan

A business plan may be useful even though it is not legally required to have one before starting a business. Writing a business plan has advantages such as helping you understand your industry, getting a glimpse into your future finances, and creating goals.

Here are some components to incorporate:

  • Business summary. Tell us what your company does and how it generates revenue.
  • Product details. Examine the services your company provides and how they stack up against those of your rivals.
  • Market analysis. Identify the market you want to serve and how you’ll get them to your accounting firm.
  • Sales. Describe your marketing plan and the steps you will take to expand your consumer base.
  • Finances. Discuss the startup expenditures for your accounting firm, your fees, and your expected future sales in addition to outlining the charges.
  • Future. Establish attainable future goals and spell out your plan for achieving them.

Consider financing your business.

You will need to put down a specific sum of cash when opening an accounting firm. Fortunately, there are a variety of funding choices accessible, from small business loans to personal loans.

The table below lists many companies that offer personal loans. Before submitting an application for any kind of loan, make sure you can afford the repayment schedule as well as any additional fees or charges.

Set yourself up with helpful equipment and software

If you’re starting a home-based accounting business, many of your initial investments will go into purchasing the necessary hardware and software. We’ve compiled a list of necessities.


If you’re starting your business from home or providing workspaces for your staff, you should make an investment in some high-quality office furniture. Desks, office chairs, bookcases, and filing cabinets are examples of basic accounting office equipment.

Computer and printer

You require a computer or laptop for the smooth operation of your accounting business. It will assist you in organising and analysing financial data as well as keeping track of customer records.

Accounting software

You might wish to spend money on accounting software like QuickBooks or Xero to make your life easier. Both can aid with data analysis and forecasting, which will eventually help to lower human error.


You might wish to make an investment in developing a website to give your accounting business more credibility. You’ll also need a web host and domain name for this.


Organise the legal side of your business

Before opening a store, as with any new business, it’s critical to be aware of your legal rights and obligations. Thinking about the legal paperwork you need to prepare is a great place to start. Using online templates, you can complete this yourself, or you can hire a lawyer to complete it for you.

A few key legal documents you must have in place to launch an accounting business are listed below:

  • Employment Contract. For each new employee you hire, you must create an employment agreement. Along with their responsibilities, holiday time, and compensation, this will describe an employee’s rights and obligations within your business.
  • Notice about the Website. To shield your business from responsibility, you should post a website disclaimer on your website.
  • Privacy Statement. How you’ll gather and store the personal information of your customers is described in a privacy policy. This may include everything from their name to the information on their credit card.

Get access to legal services and documents online

Set your rates

Accountants typically bill their clients in one of two ways for their time: either they give them a fixed rate for the job or they choose an hourly rate and bill them at the end of the project.

It might be difficult to decide how much to charge customers, especially when you’re just starting out in the field. It’s worthwhile to take the time to find out what other accounting firms in your neighbourhood charge their clients. You’ll get a rough understanding of how to set your service prices and maintain competition from this.

Find your first customers

When it comes to beginning an accounting firm, marketing is a crucial element. Consider printing flyers and business cards to distribute locally to jumpstart your marketing. Consider purchasing a magnetic sign to promote on your automobile as well.

Email marketing and social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are efficient ways to offer your services to a larger audience.

A small business’s marketing strategy should also include the use of online business directories. They are thorough and can assist you in gaining new clients.

Frequently asked questions

What are the different types of accounting fields?

Auditing, tax accounting, managerial accounting, cost accounting, and fiduciary accounting are just a few of the different forms of accounting that are available.

Can you start an accounting business from home?

Yes. In fact, many startup accounting firms opt to operate from home in order to reduce costs while they get their bearings. The majority of an accountant’s work is done online or with clients, both of which may be done at home.

How much do self-employed accountants earn?

An accountant’s annual salary might range from $58,000 to $80,000, according to PayScale. You may earn this and more when you work for yourself and decide your own pricing.

Three ways your accounting practice can stay competitive

According to Jennifer Warawa, Sage’s EVP of Partners, Accountants and Alliances, although many accountants are concerned about their evolving roles, there are more opportunities than ever for you to expand your clientele.

According to Gartner, artificial intelligence will create 2.3 million jobs globally by 2020 while only removing 1.8 million, producing a positive nett job motivator. 20 billion devices will be connected to the internet by the same year, and by 2025, three-quarters of the world’s workforce will be made up of millennials.

How will accountants be impacted by the technological and demographic shifts that are sweeping Australia and the globe?

The accounting industry is more competitive than ever. Your accountant used to be either nearby or across town. Nowadays, corporations will travel across the entire country—and in some circumstances, to another country—to find an accountant who can meet their demands thanks to technology.

The playing field has been levelled by technology. With ever-increasing and changing customer needs, there is competition everywhere. According to a global Sage poll, accountants concur. 67 percent of respondents believe the industry is more competitive than ever, and 83% think clients have higher expectations now than they did five years ago.

How therefore can your business remain competitive? Simply said, you must ensure that you stand out from the competition, which requires rigors concentration on three crucial areas:

1. Embrace emerging technology

Customers increasingly expect their accountant to be equally tech-savvy. Millennials, who will eventually make up the majority of the workforce, are particularly affected by this. They have a natural aptitude for technology, with 41% of them believing that it will eventually render the idea of “your desk” obsolete. Instead, they predict that everyone will use a mobile device for work.

Some accountants worry that technological advancements would render them obsolete in the eyes of their clients. However, those who have embraced the cloud are learning how to cut costs, improve team access to accounting (and business performance information), and automate administrative tasks—leaving them with more time to add value to their clients’ businesses by providing business advice and developing client relationships.

According to a study by Sage, 67% of accountants believe that cloud computing is enhancing client relationships and service offerings. In contrast, 66 people say they would spend money on AI to automate time-consuming and repetitive chores.

2. Develop your soft skills

Maintaining solid client relations, keeping abreast of their evolving demands, and creating new service opportunities all depend on effective communication.

According to a NAB survey of Australian small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs), while many practises communicate with their clients frequently, one in three only does so once every three months.

To keep your clients, you must stay current with their shifting business needs. The most common reason cited by SMEs (31% of them) for changing accountants is that the nature of their firm had to be altered.

Many Australian businesses fail to ask their customers for feedback, despite the fact that doing so is essential for keeping customers and enhancing services. Only one in five Australian SMEs claim their accounting practise regularly solicits feedback, while one in four say they have never done so.

Customer input, whether favourable or unfavourable, is essential to enhancing your offerings. It demonstrates that you value your customers’ opinions, identifies potential trouble areas, and informs you of their favourite things.

3. Be a trusted advisor

Beyond core accounting, supporting clients is the foundation of a future-proof organisation. More significantly, it’s about creating “clients for life” all year long, not just around tax season.

The majority of practises are aware that the doctor of the future will need to be more of a business advisor, as clients are becoming more and more demanding. Australian SMEs rank accountants above business networks, attorneys, and family as their most trusted business advisors, according to NAB data.

But one of the main reasons SMEs change practises is because they only get reactive service and no proactive advise. Many approaches just don’t enquire about their clients’ businesses because they assume they are aware of their clients’ circumstances. But in actuality, businesses frequently change and assumptions about a client’s condition are frequently made that aren’t always accurate.

The key to revealing the issues that matter to your clients is to be proactively inquisitive by asking them open-ended inquiries, paying attention to their business concerns, and asking the appropriate follow-up questions. And doing this frequently will enable you to keep up with their shifting needs.

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