A Step-by-Step Guide to Starting a New Accounting Practice

Person starting an accounting practice, charts and graphs on desk

Tax season is ramping up once again. Are you feeling less than enthusiastic about how your work and personal life will roll out over the next few months? Long hours, endless tax preparation, and low-margin clients, the grind of tax season is real and if you can relate, then it’s time to make some real changes. Take a deep breath and make a plan for this time next year to be different.

From my own experience (I was once a tax accountant, too), one way to make an unpleasant situation a little more bearable is to make a step-by-step plan with some simple wins that you can create along the way to make you feel like progress toward your goal is possible. This is exactly what I did to build a multi-million-dollar IRS representation practice as an attorney. 

Consider the following eight easy steps to build the practice of your dreams—pulled from my book, How to Build a Million Dollar Tax Representation Practice. These were some of the simple wins that helped me make a change that was much needed from tax compliance to helping save taxpayers from serious distress while also enjoying a less stressful and more profitable practice:

  1. Identify what you want your practice to look like.  It’s so important to take the time to determine exactly where you want to take your practice upfront.
  2. Engineer your practice backwards. If you don’t make a plan for where you want to go, you will never get there. Start thinking about the practice you want now so you have clear direction and don’t waste time or money.
  3. Create your service offering. To have a dream practice, you really do need to identify what it is you want to do and, more importantly, what you do NOT want to do. Make a list and then make it so.
  4. Leverage technology. Technology is critical if you are going to reduce the hours you work and increase the profitability of your firm. RCReports, for example, is a simple win when it comes to accurate reasonable compensation reports. It makes no sense to spend hours with spreadsheets when you could utilize this tool to free your time.
  5. Examine your existing practice. If you have an existing practice that is not bringing you joy and profits, you need to understand why, then change it. A simple win here?  Ensure that your clients and profit margin align with what you want to be doing and earning. Then make sure you get paid on time. 
  6. Find your ideal clients. When it comes to attracting the clients you want, your marketing mindset can be the key: simplify your marketing message and then be consistent with the means to spread the word about what you do. Put these two strategies in place and you will be golden!  
  7. Plan the training you need. Having the training you need to be the best in your chosen niche is a simple strategy for dominating your niche. To bill like a specialist, you must be trained as a specialist. Want to know more about reasonable compensation and why it is so important? Check out this comprehensive training webinar here.
  8. Practice discipline, do not depend on motivation. Building a dream practice is an exercise in discipline. Motivation will wax and wane. You need to simply list out what you want to achieve then do what is necessary to knock out your action items each day.  

Those are eight wins that I have used to build my firm to over $5 million. Most are very simple (but perhaps not always easy) and I’ll conclude with two more for a top ten list: 

  1. Take action now. If you wait, you’ll only delay the dream practice that you deserve. 
  2. Celebrate the progress you do make. Be thankful for all the opportunities you have to make a difference for yourself and your clients as an amazing and dedicated professional. Taking time to focus on what is right about what you’re doing is one simple but very powerful win that you can score each and every day this tax season and beyond. 

It’s also important to keep your eyes on the prize so to speak. Make sure you download our 8 Steps to Build a Million Dollar Tax Representation Practice, eBook which can be applied to any niche you want to serve. Use it to remind yourself to put these simple wins into action. Then go make it happen so that next year, you can really be looking forward to what lies ahead!

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