May 23, 2017 at 7:15 pm #1559337RWCPAParticipant
Has anyone gone out on their own as a side gig? I work in private industry as a Senior in a publicly traded company 2.5 years and worked in public as an auditor and a tax preparer for about 3 years. I am thinking about starting a CPA practice working nights and weekends. I'm thinking I will start by focusing on individuals and small business returns. Try to pick up some book keeping work as well. I am curious if anyone has taken this route and been successful. Any advice would be appreciated.May 23, 2017 at 9:46 pm #1559437SeattleCPAParticipant
You can do this… but it's probably tricky to make the model work really well using that format.
You might find this interesting: https://evergreensmallbusiness.com/small-cpa-firm-profitability/May 23, 2017 at 11:55 pm #1559485mtaylo24Participant
subscribedMay 24, 2017 at 12:04 am #1559488AnonymousInactive
I own a consulting firm that provides accounting services. Much of our business is online and clients are abroad.
You have to be careful with employment law and your employer's policies regarding this. Freelancing and moonlighting is typically prohibited with most accounting employers, both public and private.
Though you may be safe as long as you are not directly competing with your employer (i.e. providing bookkeeping or tax services when your employer provides those same services).
Most employment contracts and documents will include noncompete clauses which often times is limited to a geographical region, so to be completely honest, I'm not 100% sure if it applies to clients that are virtual and abroad.May 24, 2017 at 11:25 am #1559631iputaspellonfarParticipant
Just curious what state you are in?May 24, 2017 at 11:49 am #1559653
As far as bookkeeping and accounting services go, just know its not easy to do as a side gig. Most clients want you available during business hours. Even though I was crystal clear to the largest of my three clients that I am practically unreachable during business hours he tries to call me daily………keep ignoring him but still.May 24, 2017 at 12:44 pm #1559685RWCPAParticipant
Thanks SeattleCPA that was a pretty interesting article. I do hope to cross that 81% threshold and I completely believe it is possible. Out of Curiosity can you tell me where your firm falls in that range? I know a couple people that operate smaller Firms (1-2 CPAs) and actually do much better than the top tier in the article. But I also know a few that have attempted it and seemed to be back in industry within a year.
BrickellCPA. I do not have a non compete contract. I work as a corporate accountant in a large company performing closing procedures and researching/implementing accounting treatments. There are no services offered outside of the company.
iputthespellonfar. I am in Florida.
mla11692. I can see that providing book keeping services would lead to clients wanting to communicate during business hours and I do have that covered ( I think/hope). My spouse already works from home and will be fielding calls and questions throughout the day and will be emailing me anything that may need a faster response.
Thank you all for the feedbackMay 24, 2017 at 9:12 pm #1560040TncincyParticipant
I'm on the reverse of this questions. I am looking for something to keep me busy since tax season is over. My concern was conflict of interest as was addressed above, I am having a hard time finding something that will let me keep an income over the summer and keep my business. If I can only pass this test 🙁 , then my question was how to convert to a small firm. I am open to suggestions as well. Sites or books to subscribe to would be appreciated.May 24, 2017 at 9:37 pm #1560067
In industry it's practically unheard of for finance/accounting people to be restricted from 2nd jobs or moonlighting unless for a direct competitor where proprietary information could be damaging. Public is almost certainly different but if someone works in industry I wouldn't give it a second thought.May 24, 2017 at 9:37 pm #1560069
Also noncompetes in industry are limited to engineering and very technical positions but exceptionally rarely enforced.June 1, 2017 at 8:55 am #1563919SeattleCPAParticipant
RWCPA asked, “Out of Curiosity can you tell me where your firm falls in that range?”
We're at the top of our peer group. Among other things, that means we can pay team members the sorts of salaries that larger firms do.
RWCPA commented, “I know a couple people that operate smaller Firms (1-2 CPAs) and actually do much better than the top tier in the article. But I also know a few that have attempted it and seemed to be back in industry within a year.”
One common format really experienced solo CPAs use is to run as a one CPA shop with a seasonal admin. That approach can be very profitable once the CPA has a rooster of good clients. It's a sweat shop business oftentimes. But people can make $200K, 300K a year.
That said, I believe the data strongly suggests most solo CPA firms work hard and make about what a senior makes.
I think RWCPA is already down the path, so this is for others considering this option… The “secret” is successful small firm owners need to be more than a technician to make more than a technician.
BTW I'm sure there are a variety of strategies and tactics people can use to enjoy success… for what it's worth, what we've done is leverage technology as much as possible and then focused on providing tax services to small business owners and entrepreneurs with multistate or international footprints.
Another comment: If someone wanted to own a small firm, I'd also consider going to work for a well-run small firm and then working hard to develop first the technical skills and then the marketing and management skills to either buy that firm from the owner when she or he retires… or to buy another firm. You'd need to be really careful: You'd want to get a top tier firm–not a sweat shop. But you could find yourself with a business where you make a good living for a long time, have total control over your work, etc.June 1, 2017 at 4:35 pm #1564270SkynetParticipant
I always wanted to start my own CPA firm where half naked Female CPA's serve Buffalo wings and beer to our clients as they watch the ball game on the big screen.June 1, 2017 at 6:10 pm #1564351PeteParticipant
Skynet, I could see a marketing campaign, where you see Megan fox serving said wings, on a television commercial.June 1, 2017 at 6:43 pm #1564368M123Participant
SeattleCPA – thanks for the post. Very helpful info. This is something of great interest to me. The whole no moonlighting/sidelining thing has me locked up for now. How much capital should one have in order to start out? How long would it take to replace income on average?June 1, 2017 at 7:00 pm #1564372