A tax accountant tends to have one really busy season – basically, January 1st through the April tax deadline, followed by what seems like months of not doing much at all. This isn’t true, however since most businesses pay taxes quarterly. They require an accountant to not only handle those payments in a timely manner but also to keep their books in order. For this reason, tax account businesses are busy throughout the year. Starting one of these businesses is a great idea, as long as you have the knowledge, qualifications and marketing skills to get it up and running. Many of the things that you’ll need are discussed below.
What You Need to Start a Tax Accounting Business
Before starting a small accounting firm, you first need to be knowledgeable about the topic. A Certified Public Account, also known as a CPA, needs a license in order to practice their trade. This is regulated at the state level, so the amount of testing and coursework involved may vary. With that said, at the very least a CPA must have a Bachelor’s degree in the topic. Of course, you can always hire someone with these credentials to run your CPA tax business, but that means less profit for you. It’s best to keep this in mind for when your company begins to grow. After the legal requirements are met, you have another important decision to make: do you want to run a freelance tax business where you primarily work out of your home and your client’s offices or do you want to have a main office location? If you go with the latter, then consider small storefronts in your city’s downtown area or locations in small strip malls. They’ll offer the most visibility. Finally, you have to choose whether or not you want to specialize in business or personal taxes, or in both. If you choose both, then you’ll get the best of both worlds, as far as keeping busy is concerned. However, the decision is up to you. You need to pick the type will work best for you needs, as well as the ones that fits your expertise. You might have more experience with business accounting than with personal, or vice versa.
Picking a Name is Very Important
Next, you need to come up with a general marketing plan. This starts with the business name. You could either use a clever play on words that utilizes accounting terms, as long as they’re ones that the average person would understand. You also have the option of simply going by your name. Your company could be incorporated as “Your Name Here, CPA.” This is a perfectly acceptable option, and it looks quite professional. Just remember that the name you choose will be reflected in your business’ logo and slogan. These two things will end up on your business cards, any branded materials, such as notepads and pens, and even on your company website. Since it’s hard to rebrand once you’ve started, it’s important that you like your company’s name. Developing the logo and slogan are equally important, as they really reflect everything that your business represents. Since accounting tends to be serious business, consider sticking with neutral tones, such as black, white, brown, dark blue, and dark green. This field is not the place for bright, happy tones and cartoonish fonts. The logo can include some images, as long as they reflect what the business is about. A rubber “tax” stamp, an old-fashioned counting device, and even an image of money or tax forms will all fit nicely into your logo, as long as they aren’t too cartoonish. Basically, your logo needs to be serious. Your slogan needs to fit into this category as well, although you can use a play on words if necessary. It just needs to be memorable. Remember that all of these things – the business name, the logo with its images, and your slogan – all need to go onto your website. Your website should be set up with plenty of information about you, including where you went to school, when you were licensed, and where you interned. It also needs details about your business, such as the type of accounting that you specialize in, and how your potential clients can contact you. Without these things, you may have a hard time getting clients. They are important.
Networking Leads to Clients
The very last piece of the tax accounting business puzzle involves networking. You can’t just create a website and hope that your clients will magically find you. Yes, you can utilize SEO to end up near the top of Google’s results for your area, but getting clients involves a bit more than that. You’ll have to network. This involves joining local small business organizations where you can get to know people. Other suggestions include groups like your local Rotary club. Your local town or city may also have a small business center that you can get involved with. All of these things open you up to new opportunities and potential clients. Before you can get out there, however, you’ll have to have business cards. They should have the logo and slogan that were previously described, as well as your contact information. You should have your business cards on hand at all times since you never know who you’ll run into. Finally, you’ll need to advertise. Networking, word of mouth and online search results can only get you so far. Consider placing ads in your local newspaper, in any city-based publications, such as magazines, and even online. Facebook is another good place to advertise since their rates are inexpensive and you can reach a very targeted audience. All of these methods will hopefully bring you some clients.
Now that you’ve worked through every step of the process, everything should be in place. You can finally open the doors of your tax accounting business, even if your main office is going to be your home office. Your business can start off on the right foot, thanks to your credentials, marketing plan – and logo, and networking opportunities. Soon, you’ll be proud of the business that you’ve created.