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Start my own accounting / bookkeeping firm vs stay where I’m at


Richard Bender Davenport, FL

Hello everyone,

After 8 months of searching for employment I was finally able to find a job as the accounting manager of a firm who has 18 retail tax stores. I have been with them going on 6 weeks. I have since learned that the owner is not against falsifying financial records or tax returns for businesses or individuals. I have stood my ground by explaining to the people who report to me that every financial statement and return will be done 100% correct with proper back up and personally have reviewed all work before it leaves. However, I am one person and know there is no way of knowing if something gets passed out without my knowledge.

My fear. I have 2 bachelors (accounting / finance) 1 masters (accounting) I can not play dumb if the IRS ever got involved. I can not afford to be stripped of my ability to work in this industry or possibly face prison. I learned yesterday one of the owners (split 3 ways) went to prison 6 yrs ago for fraudulent activities in the banking industry.

My options:
1) quit and eventually loose everything (already spent good portion of savings during 8 months of unemployed). Don’t know how long it would take to get hired again as vets appear to not get hired very quickly...
2) start my own firm on the side until I have enough cash flow to carry me.

My question’s?

How do you start a virtual accounting firm or virtual business out of home until you can afford store front location?

How do you attract clients working out of your home?

Is there a better option I am missing?

I have 15 yrs of accounting between public, private (fortune 500) and small businesses. I think I could help ppl grow their business and maximize their tax credits (legally) while planning for retirement/ exit strategy.

Thank you in advance for your input. I apologize if too long.

16 August 2019 4 replies General



Tim Gaughran Gulfport, MS

Hey Richard,

I have a BS in Accounting and an MBA. Let me weigh in on just a portion of your question.

If you’re working in a situation where people are intentionally falsifying documents, get out of that organization.
I have a close friend in a situation similar to yours who worked in the mortgage industry.
Her boss had a lot of fraudulent documents involving mortgages. When the government swooped in, her boss flew his private plane overseas and my friend went to jail for 2 years.

I would vote for starting your own business. I owned restaurants for 20 years starting in my mid-twenties. So many people tell you how it can’t be done, I always feel that it can be done. I had virtually no money when I started, but I had a plan and confidence. You live in the Tampa area (I live in Ocean Springs and I visit Tampa and love that metro area). Your metro are is vibrant and growing. You can do this!! Too often people suppress their desire to be a business owner, telling themselves what could go wrong, and before they know it, they’re a senior citizen. Believe in yourself and your abilities.



Jeremy Serwer Woodstock, CT

"I have since learned that the owner is not against falsifying financial records or tax returns for businesses or individuals." Bad news if this potentially also has your name on it.

No honest individual should ever continue in a situation like this. Worse, as you describe, is the IRS and/or law enforcement coming after you.

I'd get out. Now.


Richard Bender Davenport, FL

Hey Paul,

Great news is I’m 90% debt free and wife works. I technically only need a couple grand a month to make ends meet. By no means does this mean I willing to work for pennies on the dollar but, I also do not need a large client base to step out on my own.

Thanks for the site references, I’ll look into those. It’s definitely a tricky situation. A friend of mine said even with my CYA I can not prove that I was not involved with any fraudulent activity... this is why I’m in a place of fear mentally...


Paul Tusting Salt Lake City, UT

Wow, sound like a tough situation and like it makes sense to find a path out of that place.

A) Sounds like you have been CYA where you can. Keep doing what you are doing.

B) Maybe reach out to some recruiters to get them looking for other jobs for you. This is a pretty low commitment of time and energy. This can be rolling while looking at other options below.

C) Starting a business often needs a bit of safety net, which may have been consumed recently. Doing it part time is a good hedge, but may take longer to grow than you want to stay where you are. The only thing I can think of is looking for a partner who can bring some financial backing.

D) An option between starting your own firm and working a traditional job is being a gun-for-hire for a consulting firm. Here's a couple I know of off the top of my head (as examples), but aren't really accounting firms. There may be ones out that which are a better match.

Best of luck, Paul

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