New licence and getting clients

I have just received my licence and am keen to start working ASAP but I'm unsure how to build up my clients. I have a website and I'm advertising on Facebook. I've also looked into Networking. I have had some people express interest. I'm considering running an incentive/offer along the lines of 'During January new clients signing up for an accounts preparation service will get a free self assessment return' would love to know your thoughts/advice please.


  • StefHo
    StefHo Registered Posts: 11
    Hello LouM,

    I am in the same situation, what I have done is go to VISTA print and create yourself some business cards and leave this with shops and small business around your neighbourhood.

    Also with facebook you need to create an offer page and get friends to share the page and like it

    hope this helps, can keep it touch either FB or linkedin.

    HoKa Accountancy Services
  • burg
    burg Moderator, FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 1,441
    Different methods work for different people. I've not really done networking as its just not for me but plenty of people succeed this way.
    Be wary of attracting new clients during January as these are often those who won't be your best clients.
    We have gained a lot via online advertising.
    Try different things and see what works for you.

  • LouM
    LouM Registered Posts: 5
    Thank you for your replies. I am running a marketing campaign through e-mail now targeting local businesses so hopefully that generates some interests. I haven't accepted any self assessment only clients this month as I'm still not set up as a HMRC Agent.

    Regarding becoming a HMRC Agent for Self Assessment and Corporation Tax. Firstly I applied in writing for an Agent code which took 3 weeks and today I have applied online for online access and I need to wait 7 days for an authorisation code through the post is that correct? Once I receive this can I add clients online (what info do I need?) and then do I wait for them to get an authorisation code through the post? This all seems very long winded.

  • TreadStone
    TreadStone AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 280 💫 🐯 💫
    LouM said:

    Once I receive this can I add clients online (what info do I need?) and then do I wait for them to get an authorisation code through the post? This all seems very long winded.

    Yes you can add clients online and they receive an authorisation code via snail-mail which they forward to you.
  • Sdaeblana
    Sdaeblana Registered Posts: 6
    Networking is a slow burner and I wouldn’t go in to networking expecting clients.

    Email marketing can work, but most businesses will see cold emails as spam and just delete them.

    Facebook can be a good way to obtain clients, and you can advertise on the local selling and business pages. Having an active Linkedin profile can also help – though you’ll get a load of recruiters calling you.

    A decent website and adword campaigns will generate leads. But don’t use generic terms such as ‘tax return’. You need to be more targeted.

    Your offer of free self assessment with accounts probably won’t generate much interest. These types of clients are only interested in their tax bill / rebate and don’t value the accounts whatsoever. In fact, don’t be surprised if you get calls asking for the free self assessment and that they don’t need the accounts!

    I think referral offers are the best to do. Offering discounts on service just attracts fee sensitive clients that’ll jump ship as soon as a cheaper accountant comes along.

  • StefHo
    StefHo Registered Posts: 11
    Hello LouM,

    You will need the clients NI Number, their email address, their Business name and contact number plus address. I have also recently set a client on line. still waitinf for authorisation code.

  • StefHo
    StefHo Registered Posts: 11
    You will also need to register with HMRC as a self employed with details of your NI number, if already self employed previously then you need to link you UTR tax code to your new self employed status.

    Hope this helps

  • CJL
    CJL FMAAT Posts: 3 New contributor 🐸
    Hello all,

    I'm new on here so be gentle! I have read a lot of the posts and have found them really useful and informative.

    I have a query that I was hoping I would get some advice about....

    I am in the process of completing the application to become a licenced accountant with the AAT. I qualified in 2011. I then went on to do a distance learning degree in international accounting with Northampton University in 2013 (completed December 2014). I then became a student member of the ACCA and gained the exemptions from the qualifications I have. Mainly due to the cost and the toss up between buying my own property or carrying on with my exams (all qualifications I have self funded) I decided to pause my ACCA exams, but have recently become a Fellow member.

    I am now strongly leaning towards starting my own practice on a small scale initially as I would still need to work, but if it were to take off then the natural progression would be to invest completely in the venture.

    I have extensive experience in industry spanning 11 years starting out just doing the bread and butter bank reconciliations and credit control to now financial analysis, budgeting, forecasting, management accounts, internal audit of ledgers and accounts processes all gained from a variety of industries from wholesalers, residential property management, aviation services, construction, engineering and market research...bear with me as I know it sounds half way between a C.V. and sales pitch, but wanted to give as much information as possible.

    My biggest concern is that I will not be granted all the services that I would apply for due to myself having no practice experience. This is not to say that I am unaware and underestimate the complete change in working style and knowledge required, but feel that I am in a position in terms of experience to be able to start my own practice, if only small in scale.

    I wanted to ask the MIP's out there how viable this would be and any advice in starting up my own business would be much appreciated alongside the aforementioned question.

  • gwenb
    gwenb MAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 42
    Hi CJL,
    I am not sure if I got it right about your current situation with ACCA. If you are still a student, I think you are not allowed to provide services as an Accountant. Maybe worth checking with ACCA.
    Re services to provide as an AAT Licensed Accountant, AAT will grant you a license to provide services that you can prove have years of knowledge and experience in.
    As for starting up your own business, there are many things to think about and do and maybe a workshop would help? Organisations like VOSCUR or Netmums offer workshops to help with the first steps.
    Best of luck,
  • CJL
    CJL FMAAT Posts: 3 New contributor 🐸
    Hi gwenb,

    Thanks for coming back to me on this. :)
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