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How to Start an Accounting Firm: From Excel to Empire in 10 Key Steps!

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Simran Aggarwal

Simran Aggarwal is a highly accomplished Digital Marketing Consultant, who kickstarted his career as a data-driven business analyst. With an impressive track record spanning five years across diverse industries, she possesses a unique skill set that sets her apart in the field.

Simran excels in dissecting intricate business problems and translating them into actionable insights, thereby facilitating strategic decision-making processes. Her expertise lies in the realms of business analysis, process improvement, and adept management as an stakeholder. With a keen eye for detail and a commitment to driving tangible results, Her expertise helps businesses succeed in the digital world.

In today’s ever-evolving world, there is always a need for accounting services. Keeping accurate financial records and abiding by tax laws is crucial to managing a successful business, regardless of size, from start-ups to large multinationals.

Well, you’re in the right direction you’re an experienced accountant who aspires to run your own business. Establishing an accounting business can be a financially and professionally fulfilling endeavor.

However, it requires careful strategy and execution, just like any business venture. Here in this article, we have covered a step-by-step guide to assist you- how to start an accounting firm, including the basic requirements and lots more.

So, why wait? Let’s jump in!

What are the Basic Requirements to Start an Accounting Firm?

How to Start an Accounting Firm
How to Start an Accounting Firm

Before jumping into the procedure of how to start an accounting firm, it is essential to consider various factors and adherence to basic requirements. So, let’s check out below:

1. Education and Certification

To gain trust in a strong accounting firm, education is necessary. Although other certificates like Chartered Accountants (CA) or Certified Management Accountants (CMA) might also be useful, Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) are the ones who created the majority of accounting firms. Note that you possess the credentials and licenses required to offer accounting services in your jurisdiction.

2. Professional Experience

Having prior professional experience is extremely beneficial, ideally across a range of positions and sectors. It not only improves your abilities and expertise but also gives you an insightful understanding of the requirements and difficulties faced by consumers.

3. Have Employer Identification and Tax ID Number

 If you intend to hire administrators, accountants, HR personnel, cleaners, and so forth, you will have to register as an employer. All firms need to have a tax number. Obtaining these is a simple step in the business registration procedure.

4. Funds

One of the important aspects of how to start an accounting firm is funds. Well, we can’t predict the precise amount required to launch your business but it will mostly rely on how big of an operation you intend to run. It is possible to start an accounting business with a relatively small initial investment, particularly if you use software subscription services rather than buying software outright.

Types of Accounting Firm Structure You Can Start With

Below, we have mentioned the types of business structures you can start with as per your experience and education.

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

According to state law, a limited liability company (LLC) is a legitimate corporate structure. If you wish to start an accounting firm as a limited liability business, you should verify with your state as each state may have different regulations.

An LLC’s members are its owners. Individuals, businesses, other LLCs, and international entities may be members as the majority of states do not impose restrictions on participation. The maximum number of members is unrestricted. The majority of states also permit LLCs with just one owner, or “single-member” LLCs.

Founding a Corporation

A corporation typically deducts the same expenses from its taxable income as a sole proprietorship. Additionally, corporations are eligible for specific tax benefits. For federal income taxation reasons, a C corporation is regarded as a distinct tax-paying entity. A corporation manages an enterprise, generates revenue, pays taxes, and allocates earnings to its stakeholders.


A partnership is an association between two or more individuals for trade or business purposes. Everyone contributes—cash, labor, goods, or skills—and splits the company’s gains and losses. A partnership does not pay income tax, but it is obliged to file an annual information return each year to disclose its income, profits, losses, and deductions, among other things. Rather, gains and losses are “passed” to the company’s partners. Each partner lists his or her portion of the partnership’s profit or loss on their tax returns.

Sole Proprietorship

An individual who owns their own unincorporated business is known as a sole proprietor. You are not regarded as a sole proprietor if you decide to handle a domestic limited liability company (LLC) as a corporation and you are its sole member.

How to Start an Accounting Firm: A Step-By-Step Procedure!

Now that you have selected the type of accounting firm you need to start and complete all the basic requirements in hand. Let’s jump into the procedure of how to start an accounting firm.

Step 1: Conduct Market Research

Before diving into the world of accounting business, it is vital to understand the local market needs and competition. Determine your target market, evaluate the requirements of possible customers, and weigh the advantages and disadvantages of your rivals. You may improve your services and create a distinctive value proposition with the aid of this study.

Step 2: Choose Your Business Structure

For liability protection, tax consequences, and operational flexibility, your accounting business must choose the appropriate legal structure. Limited liability companies (LLCs), corporations, partnerships, and sole proprietorships are common forms of business organization. Speak with a financial or legal professional to find the best arrangement for your unique situation.

Step 3: Create a Business Plan

As per your experience, market research, and firm structure, create a business plan describing your target market, pricing strategy, marketing plan, goals for your business, and projected financials. Take into account elements like anticipated revenue, ongoing expenditures, and start-up costs. In addition to assisting you in making decisions, a well-written business plan can help you find lenders or investors if you need them.

Step 4: Obtain the Required Licenses and Certifications

To ensure that your accounting firm is operating in compliance with regulatory regulations, make sure you have the required licenses and certifications. These could include memberships in professional associations like the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), state-specific permits, and professional certificates like CPA or ACCA.

Step 5: Establish Your Office

When deciding where to put your office, consider aspects like visibility, accessibility, and ease of access to your target market. Make sure it satisfies your operational demands and presents a professional image to clients, whether you choose a virtual office environment or a regular office location.

Step 6: Invest in Software and Technology

In the current digital world, utilizing technology is essential for productivity and competitiveness. Invest in accounting software to simplify the operations of invoicing, bookkeeping, and financial reporting, such as QuickBooks or Xero. Take cybersecurity precautions into account as well to shield private customer information from dangers.

Step 7: Build Your Marketing Plan and Brand

Differentiating your accounting firm from the competition and drawing in customers require a strong brand presence. To reach your target audience, make a polished website, produce eye-catching marketing collateral, and make use of digital marketing channels like social media, email marketing, and search engine optimization (SEO).

Step 8: Make Connections and Network

Creating connections through networking can help your accounting business expand. Participate in industry events, become a member of associations for professionals, and reach out to prospective customers and referral sources. Developing trusting connections with other experts, including lawyers and financial consultants, might result in beneficial recommendations and joint venture possibilities.

Step 9: Deliver exceptional service

In the end, your accounting firm’s success depends on the caliber of service you offer to your clients. Aim for perfection in all facets of your work, including timeliness, correctness, professionalism, and client interactions. Long-term success and client loyalty can be fostered by exceeding client expectations and providing outstanding service.

Step 10: Stay Informed

The accounting sector is always changing due to the frequent emergence of new laws, technology, and consumer trends. Participate in continuing education courses, stay up to date on industry advancements, and be ready to modify your tactics and offerings to suit changing customer demands.

Besides, these crucial steps, there are a few more steps you can perform to boost customer engagement and keep your accounting firm thriving in the competitive market.

Additional Key Steps You Should Perform To Start an Accounting Firm

How to Start an Accounting Firm
How to Start an Accounting Firm

 1. Create a Website for Your Business

 In today’s digital world, you know how important your business website is. So, after your physical setup, go online and set up your accounting firm online. If you don’t know how to build a website, then hiring website designing services can be beneficial for you.  In addition, to reach as many people as possible, you should also work toward developing a social media presence. It will make you visible to your target market and help you find new customers. In this regard, social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn can be very beneficial.

2. Insure your Accounting Company

Before starting an accounting firm, it is essential to ensure your accounting firm avoids uncertain conditions. In this context, we recommend taking the advice of a reputable and seasoned insurance agent who understands the standards that financial services companies must adhere to and who can help guide you toward the kinds of products that would be a good fit for your business.

3. Register for Employer ID Number

An Employer Identification Number (EIN), also known as a Federal Tax ID Number, may be used to identify your company for tax filing and reporting purposes. Any business that hires individuals or is organized as a corporation or partnership must get an Employer Identification Number (EIN). Most financial institutions require a valid EIN from a corporation before they will open a bank account for the company.

4. Open Bank Account

You already understand the need to maintain separate funds for personal and corporate uses for legal and tax reasons as an accounting professional. LLCs and corporations must keep their personal and business finances separate to preserve the “corporate veil,” which protects the owners of the company from its debts. The business needs all the necessary paperwork to create a business bank account and credit accounts after registering with the state and acquiring an EIN.

5. Understand the complex nature of employment legislation

Besides the steps of how to start an accounting firm, you are aware of the goal of your company. Plan the services you will provide and delineate your zone accordingly. Except for audits and assurance services, which you must select, you can accept practically any service.

How to Find Prospective Clients: 3 Smart Strategies You Need To Follow!

How to Start an Accounting Firm
How to Start an Accounting Firm

 Now that you have understood how to start an accounting firm and what tips you should follow to make your business a huge success.  It’s time to look out some strategies that can help you find potential clients because without them you can’t even survive.

Let’s check out:

1. Get Recommendations from friends or Family

 Never be afraid to request an introduction if friends or family members know someone who may be a potential client. It can be simpler to strike up a discussion and establish a relationship with a new prospect after receiving a kind introduction from a mutual friend.

2. Use Social Media

LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites are excellent resources for locating and establishing connections with potential customers. Become involved in communities and groups that your target audience frequents and that are relevant to them. Distribute informative content, participate in discussions, and make direct contact with possible leads.

3. Join Communities and Build Network

Attend conferences, trade exhibitions, and events tailored to your sector to network with prospective customers in person. These gatherings offer fantastic chances to network, demonstrate your knowledge, and produce leads. Have a strong elevator pitch ready, along with lots of business cards.

Final Words

Starting an accounting business is a difficult but worthwhile undertaking that calls for thorough preparation, commitment, and firmness.  But I hope with our guide- how to start an accounting firm create a successful accounting firm for you. However, for a successful business venture, you should maintain your attention on providing value to your customers.

Additional Readings

How To Start an FMCG Business

How To Start a Catering Business

How To Start a Jewelry Business


Q1. What mistakes you should avoid when starting an accounting firm?

Rushing into choosing the business structure, understanding customer needs and funds, ignoring legal opportunities, and submitting error legal paperwork can lower your chances to establish as trusted accounting firm in the market.

Q2. What key services are offered by an accounting firm? 

  • Financial accounting and reporting.
  • Tax planning and compliance.
  • Audit and assurance services.
  • Management accounting and consulting.
  • Virtual CFO services.
  • Technology integration and cloud accounting.
  • Payroll processing and compliance.
  • Business advisory and strategic planning.

Q3. How to find clients for your accounting firm? 

  • Offer a free workshop or webinar.
  • Ask for referrals.
  • Explore online platforms.
  • Build networks and relationships.