Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

The Right Way to Start a Practice

Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

The Right Way to Start a Practice

Article excerpt

Deciding to strike out on your own isn't easy, but if you've already made up your mind to take the plunge, consider the following recommendations. Gleaned from practitioners' experience, they could tip the scales in your favor.

FIND THE RIGHT CLIENTS

[] Be prepared to take the first step in establishing a relationship with referred clients. Don't expect them to contact you; probably no more than one in three will.

[] Recognize that developing a relationship with a potential client can be a slow process, requiring constant reinforcement and personal contact, especially if he or she already has an accountant.

[] Avoid accepting undesirable clients just to keep busy. Instead, invest more time in practice development or CPE.

[] Before you take an assignment, be sure you can complete it properly and on time.

GET FAIR PAY FOR YOUR SERVICES

[] Discuss fees openly before beginning an engagement. Don't leave a client with questions or doubts about them.

[] Never manipulate your billing structure or fee policy to obtain clients. Excessive writeoffs and "low-balling" seldom lead to profitability.

[] Realize that clients occasionally may dispute your charges or billings. …

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