Starting your own practice

Once you’ve completed the AAT Accounting Qualification there are numerous options available to you, including opening your own practice.

Being your own boss certainly brings a lot of benefits - you can work flexibly, you’ll reap the rewards for all your efforts and you’ll get a real sense of achievement from growing your own business from scratch.

Sound good? There are a few things to consider before you get started:

  • Have you got what it takes?
    Running your own business is really rewarding, but it can be tough, especially in the early days, Think carefully about whether it’s a challenge you are ready for and whether you have the necessary skills. Being your own boss means you have to be driven, highly-organised, motivated and diligent - hopefully all skills you’ll have picked up during your AAT Accounting Qualification.
     
  • Consider compliance
    There are lots of rules and regulations you need to bear in mind when opening and running an accountancy practice. To start with you’ll need to be fully licensed and comply with legal requirements surrounding data protection and money laundering.
     
  • Get marketing
    Any new business needs to drum up custom, so you’ll need to put your marketing head on. Tell everyone you know and drum up contacts through networking. It’s also worth considering social media and more traditional advertising methods to help stretch your reach.

Top tips for starting your own practice

  • Have a plan
    Before you leave your day job to go it alone it’s important you have a proper plan. What are your business aims? How much will your start-up and running costs be? Where will you find your client base? You need to consider all these things.
     
  • Stand out from the crowd
    What makes you different from other practices? Identify what your unique selling point is and make sure you make customers aware of it. Innovative and quirky marketing can also help you stand out from the crowd, for example, sending postcards rather than handing out business cards.
     
  • Ask for recommendations
    People still prefer to do business with someone they’ve heard good things about, so make sure you ask clients for recommendations. You could even offer incentives such as a discount for doing so.
     
  • Keep going
    The first months, or even years, can be tough for a new business. You may have to work long hours or do without luxuries like holidays while you are getting started - but if you can keep going and strengthening the business then you’ll reap the rewards down the line. 

 

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