An accountancy practice is an establishment that provides accounting, along with other services, to local business ventures, clubs, societies, individuals, and charities.
If you want to find out more about starting your own accountancy practice, you have come to the right place, as you can now read our extensive guide on the matter.
How to start your own accounting firm UK
You maybe thinking of starting your own accounting firm in the UK. No doubt you have plenty of questions about how to set up a new accounting firm and get off to a great start.
There are a number of options to consider when you are starting up in practice. The first steps are the most difficult ones. We hope our resource will help by pointing you in the direction of answers to some key questions you may have.
We look at a number of issues future accountancy practice owners will come up against and need to over come to build their practice.
The statistics you need to know about
The following statistics come courtesy of Nimblefins:
“It’s estimated that there are around 43,250 accountancy firms in the UK. The majority of these are small in headcount—around 80% of them are made up of four or fewer employees, not necessarily surprising given the UKs well developed freelance professional services market.”
“Income-wise, roughly 55% of firms generate under £100,000 per year. While these numbers aren’t broken down by size of firm, given an average chartered accountant will earn around £85,000 per year it might be fair to assume the lower end of the market primarily consists of freelance/independent accountants, with perhaps a few 2-3 person businesses (that might include 1-2 non-chartered accountants) at the upper end.”
“Let’s take a deeper look at the numbers and consider the health of the UK’s accountancy market, which many consider to be among the strongest (and most competitive) in the world”.
Research your target market
One of the first steps should be to research your target market and understand what customers will be spending money with your business within a specific area.
Firstly, you should judge whether there is enough demand for a new accountancy practice within the area you are situated in.
You should remember that accountancy services are available from the following:
- Qualified accountants, regardless of the size of the company they work for
- Unqualified individuals that are offering simpler services such as bookkeeping completing tax and VAT returns and more
- Online accountancy business ventures (these often charge highly competitive rates)
- Other organisations, including the likes of banks that will offer personal tax services to customers
You should identify the competition in your area and decide if there is enough room for a new, but largely similar, venture to open its doors to the public.
A look on Yell.com won’t just show the quantity of competitors you will have in your region, however, will likewise assist with recognising the size of these practices and the scope of services they offer. Adverts may likewise incorporate subtleties of membership of professional bodies like the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).
It is possible that you may be contending directly against a portion of these practices since you will offer extremely similar services. For instance, you may bring the training and expertise to the table for tax consultancy, or you may choose to offer an exceptionally thorough support for a particular kind of business, for example, the catering trade or medical profession.
Attempt to discover what your competitors charge for their offerings. This will assist you with setting your own charge scale. You could likewise have a decent gander at the premises and general set up of practices which are comparable in size to yours. This will provide you with a thought of the standard of fittings, etc which is expected by customers.
Understand what clients are looking for
You should seriously think about doing a casual study of organisations which you have distinguished as being expected clients. Ask them what they find unsuitable with regards to their current accountant. Numerous businesspeople blame their accountants for not caring about the way in which their organisations work or in offering advice on the best way to grow or further develop productivity. This may be something you could expand on and become the gap you can fill in your crowded market.
Be proactive when discovering what services potential clients would like you to give, proposing administrations they might not have thought of, for example, the planning of management accounts, assistance with pension auto-enrolment, giving general business advice, etc.
The presentation of compulsory advanced record keeping and quarterly returns under Making Tax Digital (MTD) will imply that organisations are probably going to have an expanded need of accounting administrations to guarantee that they keep computerised records in a manner that empowers their quarterly re-visitations of be made in consistence with HMRC prerequisites. Showing that you are ready with regards to the necessities of MTD might be a decent method of acquiring new customers.
Online accountancy services
You shouldn’t overlook the power of the internet in this modern world. If you operate online, you will be able to provide your accountancy services to a much wider audience, as you’ll be able to reach anyone in the country from the comfort of your own desk.
With this, your clients would enter details of their business transactions into an expert cloud-based accounting program that you could then work on. You’ll need to ensure your site is fully kitted out with the best SEO practices, so it extends its reach and performs well in online search engine rankings.
Advertising your business
Whoever your clients are going to end up being, it is crucial that you spread the word about your accounting practice. Nobody is going to connect with your new business venture if the company itself remains unheard of; its existence wouldn’t be known. Therefore, you must produce a marketing campaign and advertise your new venture to the world.
Here are a few things you could do, which are usually low costing:
- Create a website that includes details of your services and gives some background information about your organisation as a whole
- Utilise the numerous social media channels available to you today, so that you can connect with your audience and promote
- Print out leaflets and business cards that can be handed out to clients so that you stay in their mind
- Display your eye-catching company logo throughout all areas of your business venture
Build a customer profile
To get an idea of the customers you are going to be targeting and trying to sell your products to, you will need to first develop your ideal target persona; this is part of your market research. This may be one of many types of customers your business will encounter.
All things considered, your customer base will comprise generally of local businesses, clubs, societies, charities, and other organisations, although you will most likely likewise have a few private customers. These might require individual tax assessment services or help with venture business, especially since the unwinding of the benefits rules. If you have an area of expert mastery your customers may likewise incorporate other bookkeeping rehearses. Obviously, on the off chance that you choose to offer web-based accounting administrations your customers can be based anyplace in the UK.
Customers can be extremely demanding and are probably going to come down on you to keep charges low. You may be asked by bigger organisations to delicate for issues, for example, audit work.
The greater part of the work that you do is probably going to be charged out to your customers on an hourly premise. To this charge you will add any costs or payment you bring about while chipping away at the case. A few practices charge their customers a proper yearly expense – for instance of £1,000 – to cover the scope of services they’re probably going to require.
It is critical to ensure that, when you take on another customer, you send them a letter of commitment which plainly sets out the premise on which you will charge and when you anticipate that your invoices should be paid. It is typical for an underlying gathering to be held with another customer to talk about the administrations they will need and to provide them with a sign of the expenses. For the most part no charge is made for this gathering – you could involve it as a method of enlightening the customer regarding every one of the administrations you offer which would be valuable to them.
It is smart to concur with your customers how you will charge them. Preferably for ordinary work you will charge them much of the time (for instance, month to month) rather than presenting an enormous bill every so often. Be ready for the way that numerous customers are going to delay payment. Try not to continue providing administrations to customers who don’t cover their bills. Contemplate how you will approach gathering cash which is because of you. Would the administrations of a variable be valuable?
You should seriously mull over utilising the Premium Credit FeePlan finance facility – this permits your customers to spread the expense of your charges by month-to-month direct charge, yet you get payment in full. You can discover more with regards to FeePlan on the ICAEW site.
You can think about offering discounts to certain organisations, such as local charities, housing associations, churches and so on. This could be as a goodwill gesture to get them on board, but it will also increase the reputation of your business venture.
To turn into a qualified accountant, you should go through a time of preparing in a preparation practice which has been approved by one of the expert bookkeeping bodies like the ICAEW. Preparing by and large takes somewhere in the range of three and five years, during which time you will read up for the expert body’s tests and gain pragmatic experience. The preparation practice will pay you during this period and will permit you concentrate on leave with the goal that you can finish the course.
When the preparation is agreeably finished, you will have acquired an expert capability and turned into an individual from the expert body. After a further time of work experience you can apply to the expert body for a rehearsing declaration with the goal that you can set up out in the open practice. You will be qualified for utilise the title Chartered or Certified and you should conform to the standards and guidelines of the expert body.
To accomplish review work you’ll have to get a perceived review capability. This must be granted by a Recognised Qualifying Body like the ICAEW or ACCA.
To attempt work, for example, indebtedness, probate administrations or review work you should be a certified bookkeeper and you should likewise get the proper authorisation from your expert bookkeeping body. You’ll have to register with a Recognised Supervisory Body (RSB) like the ICAEW to do review work.
Membership of a professional accounting body, which for the reasons of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 is a Designated Professional Body (DPB), permits you to do a restricted scope of venture business, general protection or home loan business or proposition customer credit administrations. These are known as controlled exercises.
In any case, this kind of movement should be ‘coincidental’ to the arrangement of your fundamental administrations of bookkeeping, review work, tax assessment, etc. You should apply for a DPB permit from your expert body. To complete ‘standard’ managed exercises you should acquire authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) or become the delegated agent (AR) of one more firm that has been approved by the FCA. You can discover more with regards to this on the FCA site and in the technical assets > Financial services > DPB permit and FCA authorisation segment of the ICAEW website.
You could purchase an existing business
Maybe you’ll decide it is the right approach for you to buy an existing accountancy practice, rather than starting your own up from scratch. The advantages to this can be that you will be walking into an already reputable establishment, one that has clients, staff, premises, and equipment.
However, keep in mind that buying a business can be extremely risky, as it is a highly expensive approach that and a daunting task if you don’t have the right level of experience. You will need to be armed with experience, financial know-how, a team of professional, hardworking individuals, and extensive legal knowledge.
You should predetermine the genuine trading and financial position, so that the price you pay for the business is not too high.
Is accounting practice profitable?
Yes, running an accounting practice in the UK is recognised as one of the most profitable industries as of 2021.
How do I make an accountancy practice profitable?
To make an accountancy practicer profitable you need to running both a successful accountancy practice and making it profitable is to run it as a business.