Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

The Last Word

Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

The Last Word

Article excerpt

I am a sole practitioner. I always wanted to be my own boss, and about 11 years ago, taking a "leap of faith" that I would have clients, I left the small firm where I had worked for 14 years to open my own home-based office. Looking back, I ask myself, "Why didn't I do that five years earlier?" Some consultants say sole practitioners are a dying breed. I don't agree; there will be always a place for the sole practitioner because of the trusting relationship that develops between the practitioner and small business owners, the foundation of the sole practice.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The personal relationship I have with my clients has allowed me to help them weather the recession. I've been helping them adjust their budgets and plan strategies to be more efficient and also to be ready when the economy turns the corner. Many sole practitioners work from an outside office. I work out of my house. Because I have a home office and no staff, I already have low overhead, but I follow the advice I give to clients: I am reviewing all of my expenses and putting more into savings as a way to deal with the recession.

My success as a practitioner has come from community involvement. I am not listed in the Yellow Pages; I don't have a brochure; and I don't do any marketing. What I do, however, is get actively involved in my community. I don't just attend meetings; I work on committees and assume leadership roles. I've built my practice through this type of engagement. Business owners who are also active are drawn to others who show the same type of commitment.

One of my favorite community organizations is Habitat for Humanity. In 1987, shortly after reading an article about President Jimmy Carter's involvement with Habitat, I learned that a group of people was forming a Habitat chapter in Canton (Ohio). I was among the initial group of 15 people who got it going. …

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