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How to start an accounting firm on the right foot

Heather Walker  

· 5 minute read

Heather Walker  

· 5 minute read

Now that tax season is approaching, you may find yourself contemplating the upcoming season and whether you’d be happier as the owner of your own accounting firm. As you weigh your options, you may be surprised to learn that there are a wide variety of resources for small accounting firms and tax professionals considering firm ownership.  

From tax software geared toward small firms to curated news and insights for firm owners, the barriers to starting your own CPA firm have never been lower. To begin your journey to firm ownership on the right foot, follow these three steps to success.  

1. Determine your roadmap.

When you realize you’re ready to become your own boss by starting an accounting firm, it’s important to build a strong foundation. But where do you begin?  

There are many great resources out there on how to start an accounting firm. From establishing your legal entity to determining your financial requirements, take advantage of these resources to plot your roadmap from start to finish.  

step-by-step checklist on starting your own CPA firm is a great place to begin as it can be very helpful in understanding the time and effort involved in firm ownership.  

2. Choose the right technology.

Most small accounting firm owners know that choosing the right technology can boost your ability to serve clients and become a trusted partner as your business grows. Technology acts as the backbone of your firm so make sure to do your research and implement software that powers your entire tax workflow, delivers time-saving tools, and adds value for your clients.  

While there are a lot options out there, look for affordable, high-powered tax software that provides accurate and secure tax return preparation geared specifically toward small firms. Features like an instant tax prep checklist and pre-populated returns can maximize your productivity. Look for cloud-based software that combines write-up, trial balance, payroll, and financial statement analysis to help streamline your operations.  

In today’s environment, software that offers real-time collaboration is vital to delivering value for clients. Select software that offers secure cloud-based collaboration options to exchange files, assign tasks, and collaborate on edits for a seamless client experience. 

3. Learn from accountants who’ve been there.

When you start your own accounting firm, couple your experience with insight from accountants who’ve taken a similar path. Network with small CPA firm owners and use their tips and success stories to inform your decisions.  

You may find you need to shift your mindset from an accountant to a business owner, so look for ways to boost your business confidence and adopt a growth mindset.   

From increased autonomy to connecting more deeply with clients, building your firm your way comes with both opportunities and challenges. As your business grows, it’s important to stay in control and remember what drives you.  

By incorporating meaningful advice and real-world insight from small CPA firm owners, you can build your firm around your life and ensure long-term success.  

If you’ve already begun your journey to firm ownership, join us for our upcoming webinar, “Small firm health check: How to keep your business in top shape”. We’ll discuss how to grow while maintaining control so you can create the healthy work life you’ve always envisioned. Register now.  


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 Walkerblog 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 

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