Starting a CPA Pot Practice Is Your Next Opportunity

Last month we discussed timing as it relates to starting an accounting practice. And while the timing is important, arguably, the most important decision you will make with regards to starting an accounting firm is the positioning, or niche, of your firm. 
 
Niches can be structured in a number of ways but most commonly, it’s around a service type or an industry. As you might have guessed from the headline, we’re going to focus on an industry, one that’s getting a lot of attention lately.
 
Marijuana can now be legally purchased for recreational purposes in four states — Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington — and the District of Columbia. As a resident of Colorado, I have witnessed legal marijuana light up all kinds of business opportunities here and I imagine the same is true for Washington. Alaska, Oregon and DC are all new to this but it won't be long before Pot, Inc. is thriving in those places too. 
 
We wrote about the opportunity for CPAs serving the marijuana industry around this time last year. There still seems to be plenty of business to be had, but maybe not for long, for CPAs willing to take a risk and pursue a new industry.
 
The AICPA is hosting a 90-minute webcast this Thursday called “Understanding the Impact of Legalized Marijuana on the CPA Profession.” It’s going to cover a lot of areas including:
  • The history of state and federal marijuana policy, legal and regulatory issues, and questions CPAs should ask themselves before deciding to offer services to marijuana-related businesses
  • Ethical considerations
  • Professional liability considerations
  • Tax compliance and other tax-related considerations
  • Audit and attest considerations
Incredibly, the AICPA seems to recognize the glimmer of opportunity here. However, I’d venture to say that most established CPA firms see the marijuana industry as a gamble which is why a new generation of firms will have to pick up the slack as the industry gains more momentum through more sophisticated business practices and wider legalization.
 
Has anyone looked into this yet? Anyone think that the industry will go up in smoke until the tax law gets fixed? Hash it out in the comments.

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