For accountants considering starting their own small business, it is crucial to strike a delicate balance between your experience and knowledge while recognizing the gaps that need to be filled. After years of honing your accounting skills and gaining experience in the industry, the thought of launching your own accounting services business may become increasingly appealing. However, it is essential to evaluate your readiness before taking the leap. Starting a venture without adequate knowledge and experience can lead to significant challenges and setbacks.
Embarking on a new business venture can feel like building an airplane while it is already soaring through the sky. Personally, I found myself trapped in a toxic job that made me physically ill, compounded by three car accidents resulting in concussions. Despite being able to complete tasks in half the time, the union job required an entire 8-hour workday, leaving me hunting for ways to stay occupied. I had to get out. Doubting my abilities as a solopreneur, I contacted established bookkeepers and joined The Quicksource, a local supportive group of tech-forward accountants. Their reassurance and guidance gave me the courage to start my cloud-based bookkeeping firm in August 2014, and the lessons I have learned along the way have been invaluable. Here, we will explore the concept of building your plane in the sky as an accountant, relying on a network of trusted technical experts and mentors to guide you, all while emphasizing the importance of a solid foundation of knowledge.
To ensure a successful takeoff, accountants must possess a solid foundation of knowledge. Familiarity with accounting principles, tax regulations, financial analysis, and business management is vital. Building your expertise through relevant certifications, ongoing education, and practical experience is a prerequisite for establishing credibility and trust with potential clients. We have all cleaned up messes from other accountants who bit off more than they could chew. There is a difference between taking on a challenge and working on a project entirely outside your wheelhouse. Do not be that person.
Check your GPS:
Do you want to be a generalist, working with many industries? Do you want to focus on start-ups and small businesses? A certain industry? Certain pieces of technology? Whatever you choose, it will be critical that you set your sights on becoming an “expert” in your chosen path. This will help guide your marketing efforts and make a name for yourself.
Surround yourself with the right crew:
Technical Experts. While you may have a strong foundation of accounting knowledge, there will inevitably be areas where you lack expertise. Building a network of trusted technical experts can be invaluable in such situations. Collaborating with tax specialists, legal consultants, IT professionals, and other subject matter experts can provide support and guidance when encountering unfamiliar challenges. When you first hang out your shingle, focus on joining associations and networking in your local area (or join the plethora of accounting communities on social media). Do not be afraid to admit that you lack knowledge and desire an experienced sounding board. You will be pleasantly surprised to find that most of our industry is eager to assist you.
Mentors and Advisors. Mentors play a pivotal role in the journey of any aspiring entrepreneur. Finding experienced professionals who have successfully navigated the accounting industry can provide invaluable insights and advice. Mentors can help you identify blind spots, offer guidance on business strategies, and help you avoid common pitfalls. Their wealth of experience becomes your compass as you build your plane in the sky. Look for someone who has completed similar goals for your business. Do you want to have rapid growth? Seek out those who have done just that. Set up a regular meeting with your mentor, and be ready to be vulnerable! Your mentor(s) can only help if you are prepared to be honest with the good, the bad, and the ugly of your business model.
Strategic Partners. As an accountant starting your own business, you should consider forming strategic partnerships with complementary service providers. Collaborating with professionals from related fields such as bookkeeping, payroll management, or financial planning can expand your service offerings and enhance your value proposition. These partnerships allow you to leverage each other’s expertise and provide a comprehensive solution to your clients. You do not need to offer “all the things” to your clients. Develop an incentive plan with your partners to share the love so you can stick to what you WANT to work on.
Maintain Your Plane:
Building an airplane in the sky requires constant learning and adaptation. As an accountant-turned-entrepreneur, staying updated with industry trends, emerging technologies, and evolving regulations is essential. Engage in professional development opportunities, attend conferences, and invest in ongoing education to ensure your skills remain relevant and competitive. You will never run out of things to learn, and staying on top of trends, new regulations, and the ever-evolving technological landscape will keep business coming your way.
Starting your own accounting services business can be an exhilarating and challenging endeavor. While it may feel like building an airplane in the sky, with a strong foundation of knowledge, picking a lane and staying in it, and the support of a network of trusted experts and mentors, you can navigate the journey successfully. Begin by taking inventory of what you know, what you don’t, what you love, and what you hate. Remember to invest in your expertise, collaborate strategically, and stay adaptable to changing circumstances. Building your plane in the sky becomes a rewarding experience when you combine your existing knowledge with continuous growth and a reliable support system. So, take the leap and watch your dreams take flight.