Top Tips for Running an Accounting Firm from Home
Have you dreamed of starting a home based accountancy business? Maybe you love the idea of bookkeeping from home. But perhaps you haven’t yet taken the steps to realise your dream quite yet.
If you’re looking for advice, here’s a few things you may wish to consider when setting up a bookkeeping from home business. Explore the benefits to running an accountancy firm from home, what legally needs to be in place and how your environment really matters!
Why Start Your Own Business from Home?
There are many advantages to starting a home-based accountancy business. If you like the idea of no commuting and being your own boss, then you’re already in the right frame of mind.
But what really separates a pipe-dream from becoming a reality? Well, it largely comes down to two things: passion and drive.
If you’d like to run your own bookkeeping from home business, you’re in good company. Some of the biggest brands started from home including Amazon, Google, Ford Motor Group and Hewlett Packard, to name a few.
Today, some 1.7m people run a business from home according to the Confederation of Small Businesses. These micro-businesses are often referred to as ‘the backbone of the British economy’; and accountants can expect to earn between £50k-£100k per year.
By far most people who take the leap of faith to set up their own bookkeeping from home business, do so with no regrets. Sure, there may be a few learnings along the way. This, however, is far outweighed by the renewed sense of wellbeing and professional satisfaction that home working can bring.
Running your Accountancy Firm from Home
It goes without saying that you’ll need the right qualifications for advising other businesses on their finances.
The National Careers Services explains that private practice accountants typically engage in the following day-to-day activities:
- Overseeing clients’ spending and costs
- Filing tax returns and providing tax advice
- Producing accounts
- Preparing financial statements and budget reports
- Assisting with business plans, forecasting profits and performance
- Helping businesses that may be in financial difficulty
- Investigating fraud (forensic accounting)
Now, if you’re thinking of bookkeeping from home, you’ll largely be focused on the first couple of bullet points. It’s worth knowing how you might wish to expand your knowledge and service offering in the future though. This could mean upskilling and gaining vocational accountancy qualifications in other areas. This is far easier to do when you’re working from home. Both the AAT and ACCA offer distance learning suitable for those running their own business.
If you haven’t already done so, check out what other local accountants are offering. Do they focus on one or two specialist areas? Remember, there’s nothing wrong if you want to specialise. It’s always best to focus on the thing you’re most passionate about and what you excel at.
You’ll be especially keen to keep control of your costs when running an accountancy firm from home. Your set-up costs are usually quite straightforward to work out and include:
- Computer hardware and software (think carefully about your screen set-up and how powerful you need your PC or laptop to be).
- Website hosting and website build
- Professional membership fees (including possible regional business memberships)
- Marketing literature, including branding and printed materials
- Your office space (more on this in a moment)
Of course, you’ll have plenty of ongoing accountancy software costs that are pretty much unavoidable when running an accountancy firm from home. Remember though, these software costs should be absorbed within each client’s fee.
Make Sure You’re Legally Up to Speed
Anyone who starts running an accountancy firm from home – or any accountancy service for that matter – must register and be monitored by a recognised supervisory body. These include the AAT, ACCA and CIMA and they’ll all require you to hold a practising certificate when running your own business.
You must gain formal authorisation from HMRC to communicate with HMRC on behalf of each new client. You will also need to be aware of and abide by the rules on data protection and anti-money laundering.
Many people who choose to offer bookkeeping from home have a strict checklist of items they rigidly stick to when onboarding each new client.
Work Out How Your Accountancy Firm Will Be Different
Everyone has something they’re great at. It could be that you’re a fantastic all-around accountant but it’s still useful to know what your unique qualities are. Your difference might be that you’ve got a lot of experience within a trade such as transport and manufacturing. Or perhaps you’ve got in-depth tax knowledge, where you’re able to advise on VAT, Capital Gains Tax, and Inheritance planning. Whatever it is, know your strengths and own them.
Remember, where you work says a lot about you, especially working in financial services. Clients will be completely comfortable with the idea of you working from home. But when you invite them over for a consultation or jump on a Zoom call, what will your office space say? You may be one of the lucky few who already has a beautiful light-filled office, but if not, you may want to consider a SMART outside office.
The Benefits of an Outdoor Office
Most accountants choose an outside office space – one that is airy, bright, professional, and inviting. Somewhere they can comfortably hold a meeting and spend a good amount of time, either day or night!
Over the 19 years we’ve been in business, SMART Garden Offices, has helped many accountants create a ‘home’ for their new venture. Making full use of CAD/CAM technology, we work directly with you – as the client – to design an outside office space you look forward to spending time in. A place where you can develop healthy home working habits from day one – at any time of year.
Whether you like a contemporary space with soft curves or a traditional design with rural charm, there’s a SMART outside office space for you.
With prices starting from as little as £10,525, there’s a solution for a wide range of budgets. In fact, there are 64 SMART outside office designs to choose from across our seven iconic ranges.
Being smartly designed, they are easy to move, meaning they retain their value for many years to come – so if your business goes so well that you decide to move to a new house, you can take your office with you.
Start planning your space today and order a copy of our brochure, where you’ll discover what makes our outside offices the SMART choice.