Becoming self-employed: 5 reasons why you should become a small business accountant

Without realising it, working in a start-up or small business, you probably already do basic accounting. But could you turn your skills into a business opportunity?

What does an accountant actually do? The stereotypes we are all aware of include accountants sitting behind their desks; some with two computer screens, staring at numbers, with endless applications of excel spreadsheets open….

But nearly all of us have to or have had to work with some form of numbers, whether it is our own personal bank accounts, our own departmental budgets or taking on some form of responsibility for the day-to-day financial recordings of the business.

So what, I hear you cry, and to some extent I could agree. I mean who wants to analyse and evaluate the efficiency of their business/department operations, cashflow and profit forecasting. Yet we all end up doing this, whether we are trying to stay out of our overdraft for the coming month, ensuring we get a return on investment (ROI) within a marketing department or as a specialist small business accountant interpreting data to maximise the health and profitability of one of their clients businesses, they are all fundamental responsibilities.

So if we are already doing some very basic aspects of this what else does qualifying as a small business accountant bring to the table?

Here are 5 reasons why you should consider becoming a small business accountant.

1. Be your own boss

When running your own small business, it is no surprise that money is not always free flowing and despite its value, accountancy can sometimes seem like an expensive luxury. Qualifying as an accountant will enable you to not only maintain the day to day bookkeeping but actually analyse and evaluate that data. This will allow you to take every opportunity possible to maximise the wealth of your business.

2. Save money, make money, repeat…

As an outsider looking in, accounting work can seem like a daunting and laborious task, however for an accountant who is qualified and knows what they are doing; it can be relatively straight forward. You’ll be able to identify areas where money could be saved to be invested elsewhere whilst maintaining the health of the business.

3. You don’t need a degree to be an accountant!

There are a number of different routes to enter the accountancy profession. For example, the Institute of Financial Accountants (IFA) is an internationally recognised professional accountancy membership body specialised in the small business sector. The IFA have a range of start-up focused, Ofqual accredited qualifications that can take up to a year to complete, at a competitive price that can provide you with entry into IFA membership.  As a member of a professional accountancy body, you will receive a range of benefits to support you not only as an accountant but also for your business.

4. Become a “trusted business adviser”

You’ll become more than a specialised small business accountant. With a skillset tailored to the small business sector you will become recognised for more than your accounting prowess. Not only making the balance sheet balance and advising on budgets, you will find areas to grow and improve the business. With the support from your professional accountancy membership body you will be able to truly add value to all your clients. If you have the enthusiasm for business and entrepreneurialism, you will end up taking great satisfaction from helping others out of financial difficulty and seeing their business thrive using your support, advice and guidance.

5. Professional recognition

The accounting profession is highly regarded in the business world; with companies actively seeking accountants’ advice on a wide range of issues they become an integral part of any business.

“Having an IFA accountant on board with my business is like having a protective arm around me, providing me with support and encouragement, a part of the team, all working to make my business a success.”

Karen Turrell, company director of Simply Stride Limited, speaking about Ian Hornsey, a member of both the Institute of Financial Accountants (IFA) and Federation of Tax Advisers (FTA), the tax faculty of the IFA.

Russell Clemence is the marketing & communications director at the Institute of Financial Accountants (IFA), an internationally recognised professional accountancy membership body whose members work within micro and small to medium-sized enterprises or in small to medium-sized accounting practices. www.ifa.org.uk 

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