October 22, 2018

Entrepreneurs

Should More Accountants Start Businesses?

Yes! Okay, I probably need a little more substance for a blog. To be clear, I’ve been in business for myself for five years. Over that time I’ve had an opportunity to talk to numerous accountants who have made the jump into their own business. I’ve collected their stories and weighed up why I think […]

How Small Accounting Firms Can Stay Relevant

As a firm owner my biggest fear is getting left behind. Well, that and running into the three worst days a business owner will face.

From Andersen to CFO to Startup Founder: A Conversation with Chris Farrell, CEO of Tallie

There is a whole world out there where tech meets accounting that I was never exposed to in my 8 years practicing. Since leaving the accounting world to found my own startup it's been exciting to uncover some of the leading companies improving accounting as we know it. I wanted to learn more about what […]

A CPA Firm with a Chief Creative Designer? A Conversation with Adrian Simmons

Ed. note: This is another interview in our series of discussions with accountants-turned-entrepreneurs or entrepreneurs who run a business in or around the accounting profession. Whether it's an transforming an accounting firm, opening a coffee shop, or developing a mobile app, we're talking to entrepreneurs who know accounting. If you want to suggest someone for […]

The Sharing Economy CPA: An Interview with Derek Davis of Tabby

This is our latest interview with accountants who have gone on to found companies or firms after getting their start in public accounting or an industry position. If you want to suggest an accountant-turned-entrepreneur for this series, email us.    Services like Uber and Airbnb have seemingly come out of nowhere. They have changed the […]

PBCs Are NBD: A Conversation with Craig Baldwin and Ryan Watson of Sqrl

Ed. note: This is the second interview in a new series of conversations with accountants who have started a business. Whether it's a CPA firm, a coffee shop, or a mobile app, we're talking to accountants that have an entrepreneurial streak. If you want to suggest an accountant-turned-entrepreneur for this series, email us. For many […]

From Public Accounting to Conversations as Content: An Interview with ReplyAll’s Ari Gold

Ed. note: This is the first of a series of interviews with accountants who have started or own a business. Whether it's a CPA firm, a coffee shop, or a mobile app, we're talking to accountants that have an entrepreneurial streak. If you want to suggest an accountant-turned-entrepreneur for this series, email us.   A […]

Why the Growing CPA Designation Gap?

AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon recently talked about a growing concern around the number of people that are sitting the CPA exam every year. Barry stated “We have had six consecutive years of record numbers of people majoring in accounting. That’s a great thing. For the last three years, however, we’ve basically had a level number […]

(UPDATE/CORRECTION) Two Ernst & Young Employees Seek Financial Backing for Their Non-flammable Cooking Headwear Business

See update/correction below. I don't watch much TV, so it's no accident that I missed Shark Tank on Friday. Apparently it's a show where people pitch their ideas to Mark Cuban and other people that have names and lots of money from building businesses. I feel like this show has been done before but my […]

CPAs and Entrepreneurship: Do You Have What It Takes?

Back in July, we had a discussion about hanging out a shingle in public accounting. For many of you that are just starting out in your careers the idea of venturing out on your own seems as likely as the Jets pulling off a winning season. In fact, it’s hilariously unlikely.    For some of […]

Let’s Discuss: Hanging Out a Shingle in Public Accounting

We spend a lot of time discussing careers here. Over the last four years, It’s become such a big part of our content that we started a little side venture as a result.   The reason for that, I think, is that professionals with accounting backgrounds have options. A lot of them. Unlike our friends […]

Michael Bloomberg: Business People Who Obsess Over Tax Rates Will Go the Way of the Dodo

Speaking to "a ballroom full of bankers, corporate executives and financial analysts, with a guest list that ranged from JPMorgan to PriceWaterhouseCoopers to leading lobbyists," Hizzoner downplayed all the attention that some people give to low tax rates: When it comes to improving the business climate, “Usually the pundits think of this as lowering taxes,” […]

Three Key Reasons Why CPA Firms Are the #1 Profitable Small Business

This morning we kicked off our certification series that may or may not get you motivated to find some additional letters for your business card. However, if you’re more interested in your getting your name (with letters behind it, natch) getting on the sign/in the window sooner rather than later, there’s good news as well. Forbes 20 Most Profitable Small Businesses list came out last week (on April 15th no less) and accounting related services took three of the top five spots.


Offices of CPAs #1 – Average pre-tax margin of 17.1% and; the trifecta of “pricing power…low overhead and marketing scale,” gave CPA firms the top spot in Forbes list.

Other Accounting Services #3 – Average pre-tax margin of 15.5%; The list states that this includes, “accounting, bookkeeping, billing and tax preparation services in any form, handled not necessarily by a Certified Public Accountant.” Of course many CPA shops do offer these services so it’s not something you should dismiss outright.

Tax Prep. Services #5 – Average pre-tax margin of 15.1%; Forbes took a page out of John “I hate my old accountant” Stossel and asks “Who likes doing their taxes?”

Yeah, being the boss is tough but for accountants its a path that many take, as FINS reported last week, citing the AICPA “Roughly three-quarters of the country’s 44,000 tax businesses are one-person shops, according to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).” And it’s not like everyone is going at it alone. If you’ve got one or more colleagues that you trust (and can stand to be around for hours and weeks on end) a partnership is always a solution.

And while this is great news for you entrepreneurial types, you can’t forget what you’re getting yourself into – you will be responsible for the outcome of the business, succeed or fail. As much as you hate the bureaucracy, politics and all around song and dance of the larger accounting firms, the failure of those firms are completely out of your control. But then again, maybe that’s why you took the risk in the first place – so you can be in control.

The Most Profitable Small Businesses [Forbes]
Hanging Your Own Shingle: Starting a CPA Business [FINS]