Let’s be honest. Most accountants are not risk takers. In this profession, confidence is typically built over time and through a wide variety of experiences.
When you start your own small firm, the confidence you have as a business owner may not be as strong as the confidence you have as an accountant. However, you can give yourself a boost of self-assuredness with these five keys to growing your business confidence.
Know your value.
As a small firm owner, you need to believe that what you know is valuable. Think about what you have done in the past that’s positively impacted your clients and lean into those scenarios that build on your strengths and give you energy.
Angie Wood, owner of Wood CPA, started her firm in 2019 after several years of working for larger accounting firms. Her firm brings a unique value to clients in that it goes above and beyond tax preparation.
“From payroll to bookkeeping to tax questions, I realized that there was so much need for the knowledge and experience I had gained,” says Angie. “I’ve made sure that my clients understand the value of having a CPA is the knowledge and year-round support they receive.”
Like Angie, making the shift from a compliance-focused model to an advisory services approach can increase revenue while building deeper, more sustainable client relationships.
Be honest with yourself.
It may seem counterintuitive but being honest with yourself about what you don’t know is a key step in gaining confidence as a business owner. When you get out of your comfort zone, that’s when you really grow. Practice doing the things you’re unsure about and embrace new opportunities as a chance for learning.
“The transition from being an employee to owning your own firm comes with some hesitancy and doubt,” says Angie. “I was kind of nervous about networking, but I realized I really enjoyed it and bringing in clients was easy for me.”
Remember: You don’t have to know everything. If something seems like a big stretch, take one small step in that direction. From there, the next step you take will be much easier. If you’re not fully confident in your skills as a business owner, look for opportunities to grow and shift your mindset.
As you grow your business, look to build connections and share best practices with other small firm owners who have similar experiences and insight. It’s also important to take an active role in the community you serve.
Nina Tross started her own firm in 1999 and built up her practice from three clients to more than 700. She eventually sold it and now shares her experience and advice with those starting their own practices as Executive Director of the National Society of Tax Professionals (NSTP).
“Get out there and attend local meetings, go to conferences, and meet with your colleagues,” says Nina. “Some of the professional organizations have mentoring programs that will connect you with someone. Make those connections with people in your area that you respect and are respected. Reach out to them when you’re unsure and use that relationship to your benefit.”
Being a small firm owner offers unique accountability when it comes to making decisions as you have the opportunity to see the impact firsthand. This is much different than being an individual contributor within a larger firm, so use your role as lead decision-maker to boost your confidence.
“When you take ownership of your business and actions, you’re maximizing your firm’s impact,” says Will Hill, Customer Proposition Strategy Lead, Tax & Accounting, Thomson Reuters. “Your actions speak directly to your firm’s brand and value, so take advantage of your ability to run your firm in a way that fosters deeper and more meaningful relationships with your clients and staff.”
Maximize the tools available to you.
From adopting new technology to discovering and implementing new software, running your own firm enables you to make the decisions about what makes your business work most efficiently.
Workflow solutions designed for small firms can streamline processes and maximize efficiencies with limited resources helping you to save time, mitigate risk, and meet the demands of your clients.
“When it comes to starting your own accounting firm, the barriers to entry are lower than they’ve ever been,” says Will. “If you know how to take advantage of the knowledge and tools available, you’re already one step ahead.”
Taking full advantage of the resources available to you can give you the confidence you need to build a solid foundation from which to grow and tackle any challenge that may come your way.
Now, get out there and show them what you’ve got!
Heather Walker is Head of Business Integration for the Tax & Accounting Professionals segment. She is passionate about supporting small firms on their growth journey and showcasing the many ways innovative tax solutions can transform business operations. Follow her Small Talk with Heather Walker blog series, where she explores best practices, helpful tips, and personal stories tailored specifically to the small firm.
For more news, insights, articles, and solutions specifically designed with the small firm in mind, visit Thomson Reuters solutions for small firms.