Independent Accountant vs. Working for an Accounting Firm: What’s Right for You?Accounting
Are you a qualified accountant considering whether to strike out on your own? As with any industry, there are pros and cons of working for yourself as well as working as an employee.
To make it easier for you to decide, we thought we’d look at the pros and cons of each option for you:
Pros of Being an Independent Accountant
You have the freedom to run your business your own way. You choose how many clients you take on, which types, how much vacation time you get and more. You can set your own days and hours, working at the times that best suit your working style.
There are plenty of opportunities for you as an independent contractor. Many organizations use outsourced accountancy services to save money, and your services as an independent accountant might work out to be even more cost effective for them than a larger accounting firm.
Your income levels are up to you alone. While that is a lot of responsibility, and some might say could be added to the ‘cons’ list, it also means you’re not limited to the salary set by an employer.
Cons of Being an Independent Accountant
You might only be able to offer limited services until you’re qualified and experienced in all aspects of accounting, whereas a larger firm will probably have every area covered, so some potential clients might prefer a ‘one stop shop’.
You’ll have to pay for all of your future training and development yourself, although certain work-related education is, of course, tax deductible.
You’ll need to market yourself and your services to get clients, which can be difficult at first if you’re not experienced in marketing or small business tactics. It’s also solely your responsibility to comply with all accounting standards and regulations and you don’t get paid vacation or sick time.
Pros of Working for an Accounting Firm
All essential training and development will be paid for by your firm (at least, the training and development that the firm sees as essential!). Most employers require your signed agreement to pay back any training costs if you leave the business after a certain amount of time, so bear that in mind.
You also get the security that comes with being an employee, with a guaranteed monthly income.
Cons of Working for an Accounting Firm
That guaranteed monthly income in the last point? Don’t forget that it’s only going to increase as your employer sees fit, unless you advance within the firm.
You only get a limited vacation time (though at least it’s paid for by your employer!).
You need to commit to set hours every day, whatever your workload is and whenever you finish your work for that day.
Having to physically commute to the same place every day. As an independent accountant you might work from home, going out to see clients as and when you need to. Even if you have your own office or share office space, there will be times you can choose to work from home.
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