Advice for the Self-Employed Accountant
- Get Certified
- Attend Professional Gatherings
- Seek New Clients
- Build an Online Profile
- Advertise Your Services
Anyone who is thinking of becoming a self-employed accountant should keep a few points in mind as they work on developing a professional reputation. Self-employment offers many benefits, such as professional freedom, personal autonomy, scheduling flexibility and direct payments from clients. It can also come with a few risks, and freelance accountants should be careful not to let their incomes stall out by neglecting to find new clients.
1. Get Certified
The first step to starting a freelance accounting business is to take the Certified Public Accountant exam. As a CPA, you’ll have expertise in tax accounting, financial auditing, bookkeeping and other important topics that can benefit your clients. Getting a CPA license will show prospective clients that you take your profession seriously and that you’re a careful analyst and conscientious accountant. The CPA exam has a reputation for being a challenge, which is why accountants are obliged to become very knowledgeable about their profession before taking it.
2. Attend Professional Gatherings
Accountants that don’t want to work in a firm will have to establish professional contacts some other way. Accounting conventions and professional gatherings offer an excellent opportunity to meet other accountants and learn the most up-to-date news about the industry. According to Medium, some of the most well-attended conferences include QuickBooks Connect, the Sage Summit, Xerocon, and AICPA Engage. Many of these conventions are multi-day events with programming designed specifically for CPAs and self-employed accountants. They can provide valuable experiences for all types of accounting professionals.
3. Seek New Clients
While freelancing has many benefits, all freelancers must deal with the challenge of finding work on a regular basis. Accountants can pursue new clients through their professional contacts, by pitching their services to prospective clients or by letting new clients come to them through responses to ads. The effort to seek new clients will be ongoing for any freelancer, and it requires setting aside time every week to keep up with it. Even clients who have retained your services for decades could suddenly decide to part ways, so it’s important to keep the client pipeline open all the time.
4. Build an Online Profile
Social media offers accountants an opportunity to present the best version of themselves to the public. Your social media profiles can be used to attract new clients directly or indirectly in a number of ways. Whether you choose to directly pursue clients by messaging them through Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter or you prefer to let clients contact you through your social media accounts, you can use these profiles to increase your professional exposure and acquire new clients.
5. Advertise Your Services
Another reliable method for reaching new clients is using paid advertisements in search engines and social media. Otherwise known as paid Web traffic, advertisements enable you to skip the lengthy process of search engine optimization and rising through the ranks of Google, Bing, and Yahoo. By placing carefully crafted ads online, you can quickly reach new clients who are actively searching for services like yours. The number of responses you get to a well-crafted ad will typically be predictable, consistent and worth the investment.
Going into business as a freelance accountant is an exciting and challenging process that carries many risks and potential rewards. By understanding the accounting profession and developing a good strategy, you can expect to become a successful self-employed accountant in a matter of time.