But before you jump ship from a steady gig at an accounting firm, know what you're jumping into.
"You really have to be motivated and like selling yourself" to start an independent tax practice, says Frank Salman, an accounting-practice consultant in Victorville, Calif. "Not everyone has that." Often it's best to first test the waters of self-employment by taking on some clients as side income to your current job -- if your employer allows it.
The building blocks of a new tax practice are essentially those of any start-up business. You must define your niche, target customers, decide where to locate, and figure out how to best market yourself and network with potential clients. You'll need to invest in all the necessary tax software, office equipment, as well as the personalized stationary and business cards that bespeak a professional practice. Many cities or states also require CPAs to get licenses for their businesses.
Those are the easy steps. The most daunting part of building a CPA practice is getting those first clients willing to seek your help. And a business tends to grow through referrals, so you'll have to build trust with your initial clients to win their backing.
Photo by lukasd2009.