CPA Entrepreneur Series: Starting an Accounting Firm
Just as we sat down with CPAs working their dream start-up jobs, Luminari sat down with another 5 CPAs who leveraged their skills and business acumen to launch a successful accounting firm. Here is the best advice these successful entrepreneurs give to the CPA sitting at their desk, wondering how they can be their own boss too.
1. Attal Ibrahimi, CPA & Associates
On the power of networking before you launch a business…
“I built a good contact base first and started to reach out for consulting work. I worked on smaller contracts at first and continued the consulting side-gig until I decided to finally register a full CPA practice.”
“There’s no such thing as a bad lead or bad networking. You are only as good as your contacts so explore all opportunities.”
“Your network is your net worth.”
“Be an expert. Find your passion, create your niche, and specialize. A Jack-Of-All-Trades is really a master of none.”
“Don’t be afraid to take risks.”
CPA & Associates provides accounting, bookkeeping and tax services to clients in the GTA, Hamilton, KW/Cambridge, Guelph and surrounding areas.
2. Omar Visram, Enkel
On pushing yourself and taking risks…
“The first role I jumped into after accounting was an operations and customer success role. I got to try so many different things and most importantly proved to myself I could do more than tax.”
“Being an accountant is such a stable career. All day every day you are mitigating risk. Eventually we seem to become so risk averse that we are scared of change for fear that we will fail. A lot of CPAs want to be entrepreneurs but they just can’t take the plunge because of all of the risks they see.”
“Trust yourself and take risks. You are capable of achieving your dreams whatever they might be.”
“The ability to problem solve is the best skill I learned in my old firm days that has helped in my success now.”
“I did the typical Steve jobs test – I woke up every day and asked myself if that’s what I wanted to do that day. Although my career was going well, my answer was no. It’s the best test you can do.”
Enkel offers full-service backoffice support for small-to-midsize businesses in Canada. Services include bookkeeping, payroll management, financial analytics and process outsourcing.
3. Varun Sehgal, Think Accounting
On how sometimes taking baby steps is the best way to go…
“I had an entrepreneurial inclination for a few years and dabbled on it on the side. In 2015, I created an app with a family member. That was my first venture without making any money and it’s when I learnt what it takes to create something out of nothing.”
“I started doing some consulting on the side and I really enjoyed listening to business owners. Finally, I joined a couple of friends and made the jump into business in 2016. We put some ideas together to start and grow a cloud accounting firm, the inevitable future of accounting.”
“Be very eager to learn and to stay up to date on the latest tools out there. We’ve all studied ridiculously hard to get our CPA, and with a lot less effort you can easily get up to date on the latest software”
“Learn your unique proposition and what you have to offer – and then network, network, network!”
Think Accounting is a Canadian CPA firm that excels in cloud accounting, tax planning, cash flow forecasting and business advisory services.
4. Jag Bath, Capex CPA
On developing key skills now and the toughest challenge when starting your own business…
“My initial focus in the corporate world was always to learn from each role and mentor while I could. I always knew that knowledge was powerful and I could eventually take it to create something of my own.”
“My biggest surprise is my appreciation for HR. I feel hiring people has been the toughest part overall. A lot of candidates in the market just aren’t the right fit. Finding that right fit is more difficult than I anticipated.”
“Hardwork outbeats talent. Be consistent and persistent and it’ll get you there.
It’s a marathon not a sprint.”
Capex CPA is a modern cloud firm designed to streamline your accounting using cloud technology. We are certified Quickbooks, Hubdoc, and Wagepoint experts which helps to keep your company audit proof. Our goal is to have you relax and know that your tax and regulatory compliance are on cruise control.
5. Bob Wang, Legacy Advantage
On scaling a business and finding your niche…
“While I was at KPMG I realized people had a hard time finding good bookkeepers. There was no top-of-mind brand around bookkeeping. We decided to be that brand.”
“Finding a niche is important. Really what I am doing is building a scalable enterprise surrounding bookkeeping (our niche) and accounting. We want to be a compliment to other accountants, not competition.”
“Starting a business is always tough, there’s good times and there’s bad times. Keep in mind how important hiring smart is off the bat. Hire for fit.”
“Skills are secondary to what you envision for your business. Hire for fit first and then train for skill.”
“If your hire is the right fit and they are eager to learn, there’s no skill you can’t train.”
Legacy Advantage is a bookkeeping company based in Vancouver Canada. We specialize in bookkeeping services for not-for-profit organizations, tech companies, and trades. We are passionate about helping you establish long-term success.