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Are you a freelance accountant? Tell me about it!

(10 Posts)
FromageFred Tue 26-Sep-17 14:16:16

I'm relocating soon and assessing my job options. I will have some work to do from home for the first 2 months and then will have to find something else. I'm a chartered accountant with particular experience in charities and education and am weighing up the possibility of going freelance. One difficulty would be being in a new city with no connections, another is the start-up costs (would need a new laptop, plus practicing cert, insurance and software) and not really knowing how to price myself and get my foot in the door.
I'm interested to hear from anyone who has done this - what went well, what didn't, and how did you even get started? Is there any safe or easy way of testing the water before jumping in?

Kazzyhoward Tue 26-Sep-17 14:28:15

What is it you're planning - is it starting an accountancy practice or is it doing temp or contract work?

FromageFred Tue 26-Sep-17 14:38:54

I guess I was thinking of providing accountancy services to eg smaller charities who need to do things 'proper' but can't afford a full time qualified accountant. But maybe also projects - sorting things out! I'm guessing temp work etc might be a way in?

FromageFred Tue 26-Sep-17 14:39:33

Gah 'properly'.

Lobsterquadrille2 Tue 26-Sep-17 16:31:13

Hi OP, I'm a chartered accountant too and I did this (kind of) for a couple of years - set up a limited company and took on contract work. Some was advertised and some through contacts. It was more hassle than I realised in terms of insurance, payroll (RTI), and I'm used to working for large firms/companies so was paranoid about making a mistake and paid another accountant to check it for me!!
I have other friends who've gone more the freelance route though and set up their own websites. Could you put an advertisement in the local paper and/or have flyers printed?

FromageFred Tue 26-Sep-17 17:09:06

Thanks for the response. I can see how it might be quite a hassle to manage all the logistical parts of working contracts. But it might be worth trying to see how it feels.

Hemlock2013 Tue 26-Sep-17 17:15:55

Hi, I do this as a sole trader. I'm part qualified and do small limited company accounts and bookkeeping. My main costs are licence fee and indemnity insurance but well worth it for cpd etc.

Getting clients was hard to start with, I did a bit of work for a friend who is also self employed and word of mouth got me more work. I would say get networking. Meet other accountants and get work they don't want etc. It takes a while but once you have a few steady clients on the books you are safer than any employment. I love it. I do work from home, am around for the kids and earn good money. It's the best thing I did. Good luck!

What area are you moving to?

Hemlock2013 Tue 26-Sep-17 17:22:20

Also I did voluntary treasury roles where possible to build knowledge and confidence and again get word of mouth out there etc,

Specialising in charity work you could do this for sure! Get a foot in the door...

FromageFred Tue 26-Sep-17 18:17:11

Wow that's really positive. Thanks. And yes I will probably be looking for one or more trustee/treasurer positions whatever else I decide to do. How do you arrive at a sensible charging rate?

Hemlock2013 Tue 26-Sep-17 19:04:21

I charge for bookkeeping at an hourly rate and then corp tax submissions are a set price, including stat accts etc and online filing. Self assessments are a lot lower as they are simpler and you don't need any specific software etc. I spoke to colleagues to see what they charged, I don't charge quite as much as I felt I needed more experience. I'll raise my rates at some point but feel I'm pitched right for the moment. Really you need a good network of fellow accountants and bookkeepers around you to check work, discuss problems, continuity cover and to talk about rates etc.

Honestly you should go for it. It's brilliant, I love my work.

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