Starting Your Own Accounting Business: 5 Things You May Not Have Considered

Have you been thinking about starting your own accounting business? It can be tempting to take this leap into being your own boss, but there are several things you should consider before you move forward. There are plenty of advantages to running your own accounting business, but just because you are great at accounting doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re ready to be a business owner. The points below are all important ones to consider.

Your Education

Both starting an accounting business and education cost money, and you might be concerned about spending money on your education that you should be setting aside for your accounting business. However, having the right education is critical as well, and a graduate degree can really unlock your potential and prepare you for success. You may be able to get student loans from a private lender at a favorable interest rate to pay for the degree.  Either way, there is a path to becoming an Accountrepreneur.

Buying One or Starting a New One

One of the most important decisions you’ll need to make is whether to purchase an existing accounting firm or start your own. There are different factors to keep in mind, and some of them will be specific to the company that you are considering buying. First, think about costs. On the one hand, you can arguably start your own accounting business out of your house with very little overhead. However, you might have to spend some money on marketing and getting your name out there, while an established firm might already have better name recognition. On the other hand, there’s no question that you’ll need a substantial amount of money in order to purchase a company.

If you’re buying a firm, one thing you have to be careful about is their existing financial situation. You will need to be prepared to really dig into their records and make sure you understand any liabilities they have. The owner of a struggling company that is up for sale might not be very forthcoming about money problems. When you purchase a firm, there are certain things that might be out of your control, like client loyalty and whatever rates the business has established. You can certainly increase the rates later, but you’ll need to keep them the same to start with.

Along similar lines, you may need to offer the same services for a while as you make the transition while if you start your own, you can simply offer what you want. Software and other equipment are going to be necessary and potentially costly. If you purchase a company, make sure you know exactly what is coming with the purchase and the age and condition of it all.

Either way, consider being in business for yourself but not by yourself with Universal Accounting Center.

Managing Employees

Whether or not to have employees might not be a decision you have to make immediately, but it is something you’ll need to deal with eventually. If you are starting from scratch, it might just be you, but you may want to add staff over time. If you’re purchasing a company, there may already be employees.  How much do you know about managing people? It may not be enough to be a good accountant.

This is where a degree in management could come in handy if you don’t have a background in it. If you have neither of these, you might want to read a few books about management and, if possible, explore taking some classes or seminars. Managing people is a skill in itself, and it’s a mistake to think that just because you are a whiz at accounting, you’ll also be great at management. Of course, some people are naturals in this position, but doing some reading can help confirm your instincts or shore up places where your skills might be weaker.

Your Personal Qualities

Having the right qualities to be an entrepreneur go beyond management skills. You also must know that owning your own business comes with many shades of grey. You might currently be asking yourself basic questions like is starting a tax prep business right for me but you need to understand that knowing if you have what it takes to actually do it is going to come from many more in depth questions about who you are as a person.

One irony you may face is that the very qualities that make you an excellent accountant are not necessarily that same ones that make for an excellent entrepreneur. Accountants may tend to be cautious and conservative, not risk takers like many entrepreneurs. There is an element of financial insecurity associated with running your own business that may fly in the face of your instincts. However, careful, and cautious people can be successful entrepreneurs as well. Making sure you have the right business knowledge and skills will be important. Writing a business plan can help you figure out where your weaknesses may be, and you’ll need one if you’re planning to seek loans or other types of funding.

Networking and Building a Client List

It’s not uncommon to get so caught up the various details of getting everything up and running that you lose sight of what you most need to succeed: customers. Are you a people person? If you’re more comfortable with numbers than people, this may involve some effort, but you’ll need to retain clients if you’re buying a business and attract them in the first place if you’re starting your own. And without the big budget that large firms have, that may depend on your ability to network and sell yourself and your company effectively.

You should work to strengthen the existing contacts you already have in the industry and locally and think about how you can make yourself more visible. This will vary depending on the type of service that you offer and the clientele that you want to attract, and you may want to consider working with a marketing firm or an individual to help you raise your profile if you are struggling to attract clients.

In short there is a Turnkey Business Plan for accounting professionals, there is no need to feel like you need to reinvent the wheel.

Setting up your home-based office

This article examines the first step in starting a successful homebased accounting and bookkeeping service — your office.

Your first rule of success for any home-based business is to stake out your territory. You need to locate a place in your home that is away from the main traffic path of the home, and has as much solitude as you can find. If nothing else, find a corner of a room as far from the door as practical. Or, if circumstances allow, it is best to use a separate room.

Stay away from the kitchen table. That’s the worst place in the home. The kitchen is, for most families, the busiest room in the house. Beside all the distractions, you are constantly having to interrupt your work and set your papers aside for a meal. Then, when you want to get back into it, you will need to make sure all the milk, ketchup, and whatever else has been thoroughly cleaned, or you might be doing work over again.

You will need something to work on. A folding table works well for some. Others want the prestige of having a beautiful cherry wood, executive desk. Since most clients will never see your working environment, the choice is simply one of your personal preference, and how much you want to spend on your surroundings. If money is an issue, pick up a six-foot folding table at your local discount store. If you like the smooth feel and attractive look of a big solid wood desk, keep in mind it won’t make a difference in how many clients you get, but it might make a difference in your pocket book.

For more infomation about getting started successfully with your own accounting and bookkeeping service, check out our courses.


Start, Grow, Cash In, Repeat

One strategy of some of the most successful business owners is to build a business from nothing, grow it, and sell it or have someone else run it. So how does it work and why would someone want to do it in the first place?

Why "Flip" Businesses

The process of starting, growing, and selling a business is called"flipping" it. Start with a business that is in demand, such as Accounting and Bookkeeping services that has a wide client base. You then find clients to build up the business into a profitable venture. Finally, sell the service to investors and cash out. Let’s see why this can work.

How Much Is an Accounting Service Worth?

To understand whether this strategy is appealing to you, you need to know first of all what an investor will pay for an Accounting service. On average, you should be able to sell your Accounting and Bookkeeping service for the amount of client billings you would have in a 12-18 month period. An average small-business client will pay you $300/month to service their Accounting and Bookkeeping needs. So, if you get up to 20 clients, you are billing $6,000/month. This means that you could sell your business at the 20 client level for between $72,000 and $108,000.

Try our Client Income Calculator.

The "Flip" Process

Let’s compute how much money you can make using the flip strategy. The graph below illustrates money collected each month as you build the business then sell it.

The Steps

1. Start the Business

You will start the business from scratch. Make sure that you have a firm understanding of small-business Accounting and Bookkeeping, the kind of bookkeeping that the Professional Bookkeeper™ (PB) program teaches. Beyond the basics of Accounting and Bookkeeping, the PB program teaches you to run your Accounting and Bookkeeping service smoothly and how to take your skills to market.

The PB program teaches you how to find profitable clients quickly! You will use the marketing techniques taught in Module 4 of the Professional Bookkeeper™ program to find 2 new clients each month. This requires little effort on your part. Module 4 teaches you how to find potential clients and the techniques to make them paying clients. Just follow the step-by-step procedures and it comes easy.

The most incredible thing is that once you establish your client base, you will continue to get referrals from the clients you already have. It is a very common problem that our graduates often experience that they have to cut back on clients. But clients are worth money to investors, so why throw them away?

2. Reach the Maximum Clients that One Full-Time Person Can Handle

20 clients is typically what is considered to be full-time (40 hours/week) for one person. You want to continue to grow your business, so you have one of a few options:

  • Have your spouse do data entry and basic Accounting and Bookkeeping work
  • Have a teenage child do basic data entry
  • Use an independent contractor at $10/hour to help. Your clients will pay you between $30 and $60 per hour, so you still net $20 to $50 per hour for the work that THEY do!

With someone to help with the data entry, you can continue to prospect for clients at the rate of 2 per month.

3. Plateau at 40 Clients

Because you and one other person can only service around 40 clients, you cannot service more clients than that without additional help. You can certainly use another contract accountant and continue to grow beyond 40 clients. For purposes of this example, we will just peak at 40 clients, though you are not limited to that number if you get help.

4. Cherry Pick the Best Clients and Cash Out the Rest

When you reach a point where you are beginning to have more clients than you can handle, it may be an ideal time to sell off a portion of your business, rather than turning clients away as most accountants do. Look over your list of clientele and pick out the clients that are most desirable. These include those that require the least amount of time to service, those that are easiest to get along with, or those in a targeted industry that you have special knowledge of. The rest you begin to service under a new company name, even a close alternate to the one that you use now. Preferably have a contractor bookkeeper service these less desirable accounts. That way, they continue to service them for your buyer. You can now sell the secondary company to an investor for 12-18 months worth of billings from those clients that you would likely have just dropped.

You get to keep the most profitable and enjoyable clients while selling off the excess. You will probably want to keep some of your clients, rather than selling the entire company. This way, you get cash now and continue to enjoy a revenue stream to support yourself.

Sell the new company with its 20 clients to an investor at this point. Many accountants want to purchase a functioning practice rather than start from scratch because they don’t know just how easy the process is. These are ideal to purchase the less desirable portion of your business.

When you sell an Accounting and Bookkeeping service, you will get paid for 12-18 months of client billings (what they paid you during that time). 20 clients generate on average $6,000 per month, so you will sell the service for between $72,000 and $108,000! Cha-ching! You cash in and still keep the 20 most desirable clients. You keep a $4,400/month income as well!

With $72,000 to $108,000 cash, you can pay off your debts and be able to live on much less than you do now. Maybe you can even pay off the balance of your house and never have a mortgage payment again! If retirement is in your not too distant future, invest this in a money market and reap the benefits.

5. Repeat the Process

You can repeat the build and flip cycle about every 18 months or so. Each time, you cash in $72,000 to $108,000! This is a very comfortable living that eliminates debt and gives an incredible income to play or invest with. What it buys you most is OPTIONS! If you have ever felt like a slave to your creditors, there is a real way to break out of the cycle and find true financial freedom for yourself and your family.

Management Alternate Strategy

Rather than cashing out some of your business, you may also choose to continue to grow your service, using cheap Bookkeeping contractors and just managing and growing your business. With as little as 2 contractor bookkeepers, you could be bringing in as much as $8,800/month, even AFTER paying your contractor Bookkeepers.

So where do we come up with that number? An average client will pay you $300/month. It takes 6-8 hours/month to service a typical client. If you pay a $10/hour bookkeeper to do the work for you, it costs at most $80/month (8 hours * $10/hour) to service that account. After you pay your $10/hour bookkeeper $80, you are left with $220 ($300 – $80) net profit. If your bookkeeper can service 20 clients, you make $4,400 per month ($220 * 20) net profit. If you have two bookkeepers working for you, double it to get $8,800 Per Month!

Month-By-Month Breakdown of Income Using This Strategy

Consult the chart below to see month-by-month how much you will make:

Number of Months Into Your Business Number of Clients
(gain 2 clients/month)
Monthly Income Total Earned So Far
1 2 $600 $400
2 4 $1,200 $1,600
3 6 $1,800 $3,400
4 8 $2,400 $5,800
5 10 $3,000 $8,800
6 12 $3,600 $12,400
7 14 $4,200 $16,600
8 16 $4,800 $21,400
9 18 $5,400 $26,800
10 20 $6,000 $32,800
11 22 $6,600 $39,400
12 24 $7,200 $46,600
13 26 $7,800 $54,400
14 28 $8,400 $62,800
15 30 $9,000 $71,800
16 32 $9,600 $81,400
17 34 $10,200 $91,600
18 36 $10,800 $102,400
19 38 $11,400 $113,800
20 40 $12,000 $125,800
21 40 $12,000 $137,800
22 40 $12,000 $149,800
23 40 $12,000 $161,800
24 40 $12,000 $173,800
25 40 $12,000 $185,800
26 40 $12,000 $197,800
27 40 $12,000 $209,800
28 40 $12,000 $221,800
29 40 $12,000 $233,800
30 40 $12,000 $245,800
31 40 $12,000 $257,800
32 40 $12,000 $269,800
33 40 $12,000 $281,800
34 40 $12,000 $293,800
35 40 $12,000 $305,800
36 40 $12,000
$72,000 to $108,000 for Flip =
$84,000 to $120,000
+ Flip =
$389,800 to $437,800


36 months after starting your business, only gaining 2 clients per month, you will take in up to $437,800! That is the kind of life-changing income that most of can only dream of. The numbers are all there so that you can see for yourself. We at Universal Accounting® hate empty hype, and put none of it into this analysis. If you are ready to take control of your life and really make the kind of income that puts your financial goals within reach, today is when you need to get started to make your dreams your reality.

You Can Do This!

So what are you waiting for? Your financial future is in your own hands. When you start your own successful Accounting service, your success is your own. If you can find the courage to take the first step, we will give you the tools, support, and training you need to start your own profitable accounting and bookkeeping service.

Get Started Now!

PB - Professional Bookkeeper Program

Product Description

Call us today at 877-833-7909 to get started.

We will customize a program for you based on your career goals, experience level, and budget.

Click to verify BBB accreditation and to see a BBB report. Phone Enroll or Ask Questions by Phone 1-877-833-7909
M-F 7:00am to 7:00pm MST. Current MST time is 10:49am. Or Ask Your Questions Online.
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Learn Why Starting an Accounting Service May Prove to Be the Best Financial Decision of Your Lifetime

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Foreign-Born Accountants

Many foreign-born accountants come to America and Canada with fantastic accounting skills learned in their native country. The main obstacles that they face when seeking a job in accounting or starting their own accounting business fall into two categories:

  • Lack of certification in America or Canada
  • Not knowing the English terms used in Accounting.

Let’s look at each of these obstacles in detail. You will see that with a little extra training, you can overcome these obstacles quickly.

How To Get Certification in American or Canadian Accounting

If you have done accounting or bookkeeping in your native land, you will be surprised at how many of the things that you are used to are very similar in North American accounting systems. Most double-entry accounting systems do not vary much from place to place. The fundamental principles of accounting have not changed much in over 500 years.

You are probably fully aware of the similarities, but employers and accounting clients may not be. They want assurance that the skills you have from your native country are just as valid here. That’s where certification comes in.

Taking the Professional Bookkeeper™ program will teach you the methods of accounting and bookkeeping used in America and Canada. Most importantly, upon successfully passing the Professional Bookkeeper™ exam, you have something on paper to show that you have mastered the skills needed to get a job as an accountant or to take on clients in your own business. You do not need an American or Canadian degree to show that you can do accounting and bookkeeping tasks here, but you do typically need some kind of certificate. The Professional Bookkeeper™ certification proves that you can do it.

Learn English Terms Used in Accounting in America and Canada

The concepts of accounting may be pretty universal, but the language used is not. For many foreign-speaking people with accounting and bookkeeping skills, not knowing the English-language terms used in accounting may be the only thing holding you back. Accounting terms are simply not things taught in English classes in most cases. Add to your mastery of the English language a knowledge of the terms used in accounting. That may be all you need.

The Professional Bookkeeper™ course is presented on DVD video. Hearing the instructor speaking the accounting terms and seeing how they are pronounced gives you an advantage that you don’t get from a book. As the instructor introduces accounting and bookkeeping terms, you can repeat back the word to help you learn it more quickly. Because the course is on video, you can back up the presentation and hear the terms over you might have missed.

The video learning is like an English class whose entire focus is on Accounting and Bookkeeping. As you work through the examples in the course, you will see the terms in context of how they will typically appear in journals, ledgers, and on reports.

Success Stories

We hear from many foreign-born accountants that came to America seeking opportunity. The only thing holding them back was lack of certification in America or Canada.

One such is Nadine Malpas, from Australia. Even though English is her native tongue, she needed certification in America to start her own accounting practice. She says of the Professional Bookkeeper™ program:

"I have been bookkeeping for over 6 years and I have learned more over the past 4 weeks than I have in the past 6 years. I now understand what it is I have been doing for 6 years. I am so excited about being an accountant now and not just a bookkeeper. I feel confident and well prepared to have my own accounting business. Thank you for opening new doors of opportunity. "
-Nadine Malpas

New Opportunities for You

Many come to America seeking opportunity. If you are one of them and have a background in accounting or bookkeeping, the Professional Bookkeeper™ Program is for you. You will quickly get certified in accounting and bookkeeping. If you need to learn the terms used here, the video presentation of the course will give you the practice and confidence you need. Remove the last barrier between you and a great career or a profitable business earning $30 to $60 per hour doing small-business accounting.

You Can Do This!

So what are you waiting for? When you start your own successful Accounting service, your success is your own. If you can find the courage to take the first step, we will give you the tools, help, and training you need to start your own profitable accounting and bookkeeping service. You came here seeking opportunity. We will help make it happen for you!

Get Started Now!

PB - Professional Bookkeeper Program

Product Description

Call us today at 877-833-7909 to get started.

We will customize a program for you based on your career goals, experience level, and budget.

Click to verify BBB accreditation and to see a BBB report. Phone Enroll or Ask Questions by Phone 1-877-833-7909
M-F 7:00am to 7:00pm MST. Current MST time is 10:49am. Or Ask Your Questions Online.
Visit with UAC in your Area! Accounting Seminars
Please see our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy for details.

Learn Why Starting an Accounting Service May Prove to Be the Best Financial Decision of Your Lifetime

Want answers? Let’s explore the perfect training solution and business plan just for you. We can keep you updated on special course offers. Also, you’ll get our free introductory video about the benefits and methods of starting your own practice.

Zip Code:

Accounting & Bookkeeping   QuickBooks Tips   Tax Tips

lock We value your privacy  

Should I Stay or Should I Go Now?

Admit it, you have probably daydreamed about what it would be like not to have to show up for your job and to be more in control of your life. So just quit and be free! I know, let’s get real. Few of us have the money to live without the income that our current job provides. Ok, we need the money, but besides that, what is holding you to your job?

From the time that you were a kid, if you are like most people, your life plan probably included education so that you could get a "good job". What makes a job good? Perhaps it is a great income to do the kind of things that you like to do in your off-time. It may include good health benefits, retirement, or other company perks.

What Keeps You At Your Job?

To know if the job you are at is really where you ought to be, first you have to know why you are there in the first place. If the reason that you showed up for work today is because that’s where you went to work the day before, maybe it’s time to analyze what’s in it for you to stay. For many, a traditional job strikes a balance between risk and reward that they are satisfied with. Note that I didn’t say "happy with". It pays the bills and gets one by, but maybe that’s all it does.

When you know what holds you to your present job, you can also know if you are staying for the right reasons. Maybe you are, so let’s find out.


Probably the number one reason that one stays at a job is that it supplies the income necessary to pay the bills. Hence the term, "It’s a living." So the question to ask is, "Am I staying here because the income is what I want, or because I don’t have another income source presently."

Are you really making the kind of money that you would like to make? When you get a raise, does it really get you closer to your financial goals? In a previous article, it was shown that if you get a 5% raise each year, which is considered very good in most companies, once you factor in inflation, 10 years from now, you will only earn about 10% more in today’s dollars than you do now. Is 10% enough to change your lifestyle? Is it likely that your expenses 10 years from now might be 1/10th more than they are today? Probably.

So again, are you getting the money that you want and deserve, or is your employer paying you just enough to keep you?


A popular reason for staying with a company that may not be meeting your needs is the perceived stability of working for a single employer for a long period of time. Your grandfather might have lived in a time where you put in your 40 years and got your gold retirement watch, but those days are not much more than a memory today. Fewer and fewer employees manage to work their entire career for a single company and retire with them.

The landscape of business has changed. Corporate layoffs, restructuring, downsizing, and reorganizations make the likelihood of a single-company career very unlikely. Companies of any size are often slaves to their own shareholders. They are required to make decisions to affect this quarter’s profits. Often the ordinary working person is the one to pay the price.

If you stay with your present employer because of employee loyalty, just realize that your employer may not feel that same loyalty to you. Earlier in my career, I worked for Hewlett Packard for about seven years. HP was well-known as one of the best companies in technology to work for. Most employees that I knew there felt secure that there had not been a layoff at the company in the traditional sense for many years. As long as you were willing to relocate to another division, you pretty much had a job for life. At least, that’s what the expectation was. When I left HP to pursue a promotional opportunity that I couldn’t get within the company, my co-workers thought I was crazy. Nobody left the security that HP provided willingly. Well, that was then. The division of HP that I left has since all but disappeared, leaving many of the employees with very uncertain futures. The employees were loyal to the company, and many of them passed up opportunities elsewhere, clinging to the perceived security of a big company.


Especially if you have children, one of the biggest benefits that a company often provides is health insurance. It can be expensive to purchase your own insurance, so many employees feel that they don’t have a choice but to stay where they are at. However, you may want to consider how many companies are reducing their health insurance benefits and buying into plans with less coverage and higher co payments and deductibles. Many are paying a lower percentage of the premium costs as well, passing on a higher percentage of the total premium to be paid by the employees themselves.

For the self-employed, there are many options for purchasing your own insurance. In many states, you can buy into group coverage with organizations for the self-employed. When I worked as a free-lancer, I didn’t have my own insurance, but I was able to find discount plans that often rivaled insurance once I considered the co payments. One in particular that I used gave up to a 50% discount on various services and medications. Also, for uninsured patients, one can often get deals with a hospital’s billing office of up to 50%. In one case, I actually paid more with insurance for one surgery than I would have paid with an uninsured patient discount. While there are many considerations, health insurance involves more than "yes you have it" or "no you don’t". Still, for many of us, good health insurance is a big consideration. Just know that you have options, even if self-employed.

Promotional Opportunities

Many large companies provide "move up" opportunities within the company. Some of the companies that I have worked for have "hire from within" objectives as encouragement for employees to stay. As long as you are not passing on opportunities now for ones that might happen later, this can be a motivator to stay right where you are. Just know that others are likely shooting for that position as well, so keep your options open.

You Enjoy What You Do

The fact is that I am one of these people. With a million dollars in the bank, I would still do the kind of work that I do now. If this fits what you do, this may be the strongest motivator to stay where you are. Just take into consideration that you might be able to do what you like to do and get paid better for it or to have an even better work environment. If you love what you do, you are doing better than most, so I hope this is the case.

Why Might You Want to Move On?

One could take the topics above (income, stability, insurance, etc.) and create reasons why not to stay based on their opposites (not enough income, instability, etc.). In addition, there are a few more that may apply.

No Say In What Happens at Work

It can be very frustrating to see a problem and have no power to fix it. If you do not occupy a management position in many companies, your ability to affect positive change can approach zero. When you work for yourself, one of the biggest advantages that many find is that they can see a problem and fix it. No committees, signature loops, no board meetings. You can be assured that your ideas get implemented when you work for yourself.

Work Annoyances

These include personality conflicts, undesirable work shifts, company policies, work environment, or dozens of other factors. When weighing these kinds of very objective factors, it all comes down to how badly they irritate you. Is this something that you can accept and live with, or will it continue to fester and cause more and more problems. Sometimes these issues can compound until they become unbearable, while other times, you just accept that you can’t change them and move on. The key is to know yourself and to take a hard look at whether these issues are a bump in the road or if they will make you miserable over time.


If you commute an hour per day, five days per week, fifty weeks out of the year, that comes to 250 hours of time spent each year. Is your commute affecting the quality of your day adversely? Some people commute up to double that amount, which can really cut into their personal and family time. Even at an hour per day, that adds up to six full workweeks of potentially unpleasant time each year that you don’t even get paid for!

So, Stay or Go?

If you want to know whether you are where you should be or not, weigh the pro’s and con’s of your current job. Even if the negative aspects of your job outweigh the positive ones, you have to be honest with yourself and try to be as objective as possible. Some people will never leave the safety (or perceived safety) of their present job, no matter how they hate it. For others, the good simply outweighs the bad, so they stay.

Either way, know yourself and what you need to accomplish to be truly happy over the long run. Sometimes you have to leave what you know to find something better. As long as you have weighed your options and choose to stay where you are at now, you will know that you are doing so because YOU chose to, not because you were forced to stay.

Income Options

It might not surprise you to find that we are selling something. 😉 The Professional Bookkeeper (PB) course teaches you how to start your own successful Accounting and Bookkeeping service. The PB program teaches you how to make $35-$75 Per Hour helping small businesses manage their money, and you can get started without quitting your current job. If that kind of income is appealing to you and you can find the drive to make a change, we will show you the step-by-step process that thousands of our graduates have followed to financial success.

They love the freedom of working for themselves and making a great income. Maybe you would too.

Learn More About Starting a Successful Accounting Service With the Professional Bookkeeper Program

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