7 Steps to starting an accounting practice

accounting practice

Starting an accounting practice can be a good business idea for people desirous of working as sole owners in the industry. Besides academic qualifications, careful planning, dedication, upscaling of skills and knowledge, and a commitment to delivering value to your clients are necessary to create your niche as an accounting firm. 

This blog aspires to share 7 steps-wise information and guidance so that you can look at how you can build an operational accounting practice in the UK.

Table of Content

7 Steps to starting an accounting practice

  1. Understanding business structure

When you enter the bookkeeping practice market, one of the key elements you want to consider is the choice of the appropriate industry structure. In the UK, the intricate business structures found in accounting firms include owned businesses, partnerships, limited liability partnerships (LLPs), and limited companies. Each structure has implications for taxation, liability, and regulatory requirements.

Here is an insight into how to understand your business more clearly

  • Define Vision and Mission: From the start, define your vision and mission to provide the underlying framework. This can, in turn, help you stay focused on your objectives and share them with others.
  • Analyse Your Market: To see the bigger picture, there should be detailed market research in place consisting of your key customers, competitors, and market trends. Such awareness will assist you in learning how to take advantage of opportunities presented to you and move around obstacles during the entrepreneurial journey.
  • Enhance your services: Create a list of services that will satisfy the demands of your target market based on your market analysis. You must differentiate yourself from the competition by providing special offers or services. 
  • Set financial targets: Establish sales and profit targets for your accounting business. Maintain a balance between ambition and realism. Establish a professional profile on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to demonstrate your knowledge. 
  1. Engage with Certified Public Accountants

Collaborating with CPAs will increase your accounting firm’s legitimacy and level of experience.

  • Professional Accreditation: Look for CPAs affiliated with prestigious UK accounting bodies like ICAEW, ACCA, IFA, or CIMA for adherence to high expert norms.
  • Specialised Expertise: Look for CPAs with specialised skills in tax planning or consulting to effectively cater to diverse client needs.
  • Client Referrals: Team up with accountants with strengths and notoriety to grow your client base through references.
  1. Offer multiple accounting services

The growth of your accounting practice is directly related to the variety you can offer, including accounting and bookkeeping services. The different services like tax planning, payroll processing, and financial statement preparation make your company different. 

  1.  Select the right legal entity

Starting the accounting asset protection process and reducing the risks can prove challenging for an accounting organisation, especially at the beginning. One of the ways to keep personal assets safe is to choose the proper legal structure for the accounting profession. 

This can be either a limited liability partnership (UK LLP) or a limited liability company (LTD). 

Understanding UK Accounting Standards

Familiarise yourself with Generally Accepted Accounting Practice (UK GAAP), published by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC). Financial reporting standards (FRS) such as FRS 102 for small and medium-sized businesses cater to different types of companies.

  • Compliance with the Companies Act 2006: Ensure that financial statements for UK-registered companies adhere to the legal requirements outlined in the Companies Act 2006, including format and content specifications.
  • VAT Regulations: If your clients are VAT registered, comprehend the UK VAT regulations concerning rates, exemptions, and thresholds. Timely filings with HMRC and accurate VAT calculations are crucial.
  1. Utilise Accounting Software

Today, accounting businesses must use the latest accounting software to operate well. The software helps employees work effectively and provides clients with up-to-standard accounting services. 

Subscribe to software programs for accounting that are correspondingly based on UK rules. Their application may require the use of a cloud system to store data.

  1. Develop marketing strategies

Boost your accounting practice’s client acquisition plans by using a mix of varied marketing tactics. Take part actively in networking events to build connections. Think of powerful social media tools that can help you increase brand visibility and showcase your expertise to as many people as possible. Also, offer free consultations or workshops to attract clients and prove to them your qualifications.

  1. Continuous professional development

A commitment to continuous professional development is necessary to stay competitive and advance skills in the fast-paced accounting sector. 

Obtain the required certifications, participate in professional seminars, training sessions, and industry conferences, and stay up to date on new developments to enhance your expertise and reputation.

How do you build an accounting practice with no experience?

If you don’t have accounting expertise but want to build a service, consider the following to help you: education, consulting, interning with settled organisations, and forming a knowledgeable consulting team with members versed in business and accounting.

What are the risks of starting an accounting practice? 

According to industry experts, accounting system management has become a complex job with more and more difficult judgments. Being a new business owner means being prepared for problems while running your company.

Some common risks associated with starting an accounting practice for small business owners include:

  • Recruiting and retaining talented employees

Securing skilled staff poses a significant risk when launching an accounting practice. To reduce turnover and guarantee long-term success in the sector, proactive hiring practices and the cultivation of a positive work atmosphere are crucial.

  • Analysing changes in regulations 

Navigating regulatory changes presents a notable risk for new accounting ventures. Prioritising ongoing monitoring and adaptation to regulatory updates is essential to mitigating non-compliance risks. Also, it upholds the integrity of the practice within legal frameworks.

  • Cash flow

It is becoming more challenging to operate a profitable seasonal accounting practice. Establishing a consistent year-round schedule is essential for financial stability, fostering growth, and ensuring long-term viability in the industry.

  • Cyber Security

Handling sensitive financial data is one of accounting firms’ primary goals, which raises the risk of cyberattacks. Maintaining stakeholder trust and averting unfavorable outcomes involves protecting this information’s privacy and integrity.

How do you decide on a pricing structure for your accounting practice?

As you design your pricing model for your accounting firm, look at various factors and devise a fair and competitive rate that has value for your services. 

The three standard charging methods are:

  • Flat
  • Billable
  • Annual billable fees

These allow the clients to choose what type of charge will suit them best.

The best way to set your rates properly is to examine quotes from all other companies in the market, quickly understand the industrial standard, and figure out an average rate. 

This benchmarking exercise can help you decide on a pricing structure that will serve client satisfaction and business profitability at the same time.


Starting an accounting practice requires careful preparation, strategic decision-making, continuous learning, and a client-driven approach. By observing these rules and utilising assets accessible in the UK market, aspiring accountants can establish an influential firm that flourishes in the competitive financial services landscape.