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How to start an Accounting Business From Home


Accounting is one of the few good paying jobs that people have been able to do from home for years, whether part-time or full-time. The challenge for many is finding out how to do this. Here are the steps to follow to start an accounting business from home.

Choose a Market

Some people do some bookkeeping for small businesses that cannot afford a full-time accountant. Others choose to work as tax preparers, knowing that they’ll work full time from home from January through April and then get the rest of the year off.

Payroll services are an ongoing issue for businesses of all sizes, and you could earn a decent living handling tax forms for neighbors who want to stay on the right side of the law as they employ nannies, gardeners, and other help.

Financial planning is another niche, though you’ll need to be careful of the legal considerations regarding the advice you are allowed to give. For example, if you’re trained as a debt counselor, you could advise people on how to curb their lifestyle and set a budget, but may not be allowed to negotiate debt down on their behalf and you could run into problems if you tell them how to handle debt collections.

Learn What You Need to Know

It cannot be understated the importance of knowing what you need to know to run an accounting business. For example, you need to understand generally accepted accounting practices. You need to understand the classification of expenses and how to clean up their books, if necessary. You have to know how to use the software that your clients use to maintain their books. You must have the right degree of tax knowledge if you’re going to handle employee tax deductions, calculate sales taxes, or do tax returns. In the last case, you should consider IRS approved training instead of assuming you can learn what you need to know from potentially outdated books or incorrect online references.

Note that if you can earn a credential recognized by your clients as demonstrating this expertise, you’ll be preferred by customers over those who lack the credential.

Get Your Legal Papers in Order

You may need a business license to run an accounting business out of your home; this depends on your jurisdiction. You should consider business liability insurance or malpractice insurance, especially if clients could sue you for the literal cost of your mistakes. Consult with an attorney to draft client retainer agreements. Talk to the same legal expert about limits on the advice you’re allowed to provide and the services you’re not allowed to give unless you’re a licensed CPA. Get the right wording for legal disclaimers to put on your website and any advisory handouts you may provide. For example, it is illegal to list yourself as a Certified Public Accountant if you haven’t passed the exam and earned the credential.


If you want your home accounting firm to be successful, make sure that you follow the tips above. Make sure you choose your niche, get the training necessary, and earn credentials as necessary to work in the field. Then you can start marketing to your potential clients.


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