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Top Tips to Making Your Practice Start-up Experience a Success!

written by Editor, 17 July 2015

Guest Blog by Amanda Magri Overend, Digita Marketing Executive


How dedicated are you to the idea of starting up your own practice?

Is this something you have always wanted to develop or have certain circumstances prompted you to consider this idea?

With every chapter, every experience and every challenge you will encounter in your career, there is opportunity.

Take the opportunity to grow, the opportunity to learn and the opportunity to avoid costly mistakes so frequently made by new practice owners before they even open their doors for business. Here are 6 accounting top tips to making your practice start-up experience a successful one.

1.    Compliance is key
Firstly, your new business must comply with all the rules and regulations required for opening and running an accountancy practice, including being fully licensed to take on this sort of work. ACCA’s Global Practising Regulations 2003 require any member who is a partner in an accountancy practice to hold an ACCA practising certificate. ACCA’s definition of public practice work extends beyond audit and other regulated work, to incorporate all types of work generally associated with an accountancy practice, but excluding bookkeeping services. You also need to fully understand and comply with other industry standard guidelines and legal requirements such as data protection and anti-money laundering regulations.

2.    Get Prepared
There was a time not too long ago when you could build a practice from scratch and have the luxury of consistently booking appointments with clients soon after opening. With today unsteady climate you must start getting to grips with unknowns that lies ahead. step A good approach to take is to converse with current practice owners to find out what particular challenges they are faced with,  what they did to prevail, and what  they would do differently today. Gather a helpful amount of information and become comfortable with the upcoming challenges that you are likely to face.

3.    Build up a Network
Networks deliver three unique advantages: private information, access to diverse skill sets, and power. As you filter through all the advice and various relationships you will be establishing or have already established, it is important that you position yourself with industry-specific advisors who will help you with the many crucial decisions you will be making for your start-up endeavor.


4.    Have a business plan
Writing out your business plan forces you to review everything at once: your value proposition, marketing assumptions, operations plan, financial plan and staffing plan. You’ll end up noticing links you otherwise would have missed. And of course, a well-written plan is great for attracting new business. Also, the written record of your goals joined with a track record of achievement drives a message that you understand your practice and can deliver the results you promise.

“Implementing systems to figure out problems before they arise is crucial when starting out in the hope of capturing anything missing, before using Digita’s integrated suite of solutions I had to deal with endless spreadsheets” Laura Best, Karrek Accountants Limited.

5.    Establish Practice Goals
Start by distinguishing your long-term goals from your short-term ones. Your long-term goals should have a timeline of about three to five years. They should articulate your company’s mission statement, reflecting the reason your practice was founded. Now that you’ve figured out what you want in the long term, you need to figure out how to get there.  It is recommended that an easy way to think about your short-term objectives for accomplishing your long-term goals. Make them S.M.A.R.T.:

•    Specific. In order to work, objectives need to be concrete (not as abstract as your long-term aims) and highly detailed.

•    Measurable. Put a figure or value, such as a dollar amount or percentage, to the objective.

•    Action-oriented. Lay out which actions need to be taken by which people, and when.

•    Realistic. Make goals challenging, but consider your resources so that you can actually achieve them reasonably.

•    Time specific. Set a deadline to keep things on track.

Try and be disciplined, as only you are responsible for the overall performance of your practice. A simple tool of having specific goals for you and your team might make the difference of success or challenges.

Laura Best, Karrek Accountants Limited says “When getting staff onboard the planning stages with role allocations and documenting these was a daunting task, knowing your end goal is a key to getting things right the first time around”.

6.    Have a Technology Plan
In a recent Digita Practice survey we found that 63% of practices consider technology as either extremely or very important to their practice strategy – so take your time and put together a technology plan that will help you deliver on your business plan over the next 5 to 10 years. There are many solutions for practices out there, but select the wrong solution and you will find it tougher to move in the future when you have more employees trained and more clients to service.

Some things to consider for the technology plan include:
•    Do you want a Cloud-based solution or a desktop solution hosted on your premises?
•    Get a Website quickly – its going to be a key way to get new clients and then share documents and collaborate with clients.
•    Prioritise your needs – you can’t do everything on day one so focus on the key solutions you need for your clients
•    Get recommendations from peers and trial solutions before you sign on the dotted line
•    Think about how smartphones and tablets need to work with your systems so you can be productive on the move

Digita software has assisted Karrek Accountants Limited to grow and expand; Laura Best goes on to say “Digita software is cost effective and flexible which is really important when starting up your own practice”

Keeping up with all this technology and the constant changes can be a bit overwhelming when your main job is to have a successful accounting practice and look after your customers. So our final advice would be to find a technology partner – a supplier who cares about helping you and wants to work with you for the long term and be a part of making your practice a success.

one comment:

  1. 05-05-2017

    Accountants Norwich commented:

    Thanks for sharing such a informative post.

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