If you’re thinking of starting your own small practice on the side, do it now – clients are on the move, remote working is the norm and the cloud is more accessible than ever.

Setting up your own accounting business can be tough at the best of times and never more so than in 2020/21.

To guarantee success you need a steady stream of customers but with the high street on its knees and continuing economic uncertainty, it’s tough to get anyone to sign up for anything.

If you’re smart, tough, and determined, this time of year is arguably the best point to set up a digital shopfront and open for business.

Why? Because the seasonality of the UK tax regime ensures that November through to February is when people are most likely to be online searching for a new accountant.

Right now, it’s likely to be because they need an accountant urgently having failed to prepare for the self-assessment deadline on 31 January 2021.

After the self-assessment deadline, it’s more likely to be because they’ve had a bad experience with their accountant and want to make sure they’ve got someone better lined up for next year.

In either case, there’s absolutely no reason the accountant they find shouldn’t be you and your new side hustle.

Here are the five Cs for launching a new entrepreneurial venture.

Cloud, cloud, cloud

We can understand why some established businesses might struggle to cut the cord and ditch the desktop but new firms have no excuse.

Use the cloud for accounting, client management and office software and your sidepreneur journey will be smoother.

You’ll be able to access data and client records wherever you are, even if that’s the office car park or the nearest branch of Starbucks.

Control the cost

Software shouldn’t eat into your profit.

If you secure 10 Clients, keep the maths simple – whatever you charge, your total software stack should cost you no more than 10% of your total revenue.

Or, to put that another, smart software buying can help you pass savings onto your clients and thus win them over from the competition.

Compliance

When you’re trying to build a reputation from scratch, you need to get the basics right from day one. Or as we say at Capium, you’ve got to “do the needful”, without compromise.

Get yourself affiliated with a trustworthy industry body, get insurance and make sure you’re compliant on things like anti-money laundering legislation.

Just because it’s a part-time side project you can’t afford to bodge it or be half-hearted about anything: clients need to feel you’re serious.

Customer personas

Focus on your ideal client – who are you targeting and how is your firm different to, and better than, the competition?

Customer personas (AKA buyer or user personas) were originally developed to help with software development in the 1970s but they work brilliantly for accountants. It’s about identifying a totem who can stand for a whole market segment.

Whether it’s Dave the YouTuber, Annie the construction subcontractor or Mo the optician, give them a name and reflect on the challenges they face. How can your services and your unique approach make their lives easier?

Core services

Don’t put yourself under pressure to do everything for everyone from day one. Remember, this is a side project, and you’ll be busy enough in the day job.

Instead, build your service offer from the centre outward, as your customer base and capacity grows.

For example, you might start with some basic bookkeeping, then start handling tax returns, then payroll, then company secretarial and, finally, cashflow management.

Capium provides an ecosystem of cloud-based accounting services with clients seeing up to 70% return on investment in our software. This could be you – click here to book a demo now.

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