Do you need your mba in accounting if you’re starting your own accounting, tax or bookkeeping firm?

Written by
Accountant Hustle
Published on
April 28, 2024

What’s the best education to pursue when starting an accounting, tax, and bookkeeping business? Is an MBA in accounting necessary to launch your accounting firm, and is it worth the investment?

Watch the video or read the transcript below:

What education do you need to start your own accounting business?

Here’s a quick roundup of some helpful resources:

  • Thomson Reuters
  • Become
  • Best Accounting Degrees
  • Chron

Hello, I'm Rob Satrom from Feedbackwrench. In this discussion, I'll address accountants, bookkeepers, and anyone looking to start a bookkeeping firm, a work-from-home bookkeeping company, a CPA firm, or considering the outsourced accounting model.

If you explore my videos, you'll find a comprehensive playlist with around 100 videos providing guidance on the outsourced accounting model. It's all about adding significant value to secure higher retainers compared to websites or paid ads.

Today, I'm responding to a question from someone with a bachelor's degree in psychology. They've previously handled accounting, AP/AR, and taxes in their job and currently work as a staff accountant. They're contemplating pursuing an MBA before venturing into entrepreneurship. The question is whether an MBA or a CPA is essential for credibility when starting a bookkeeping or accounting firm.

My response is that while these qualifications can enhance your credibility and skills, they're not absolute necessities. What truly matters is your ability to deliver results accurately and efficiently to your clients. It's important to weigh the costs and benefits of higher education or certification.

Attending school has associated costs, both in terms of tuition fees and the potential loss of income during your studies. Moreover, the value of higher education is currently a subject of debate, with concerns about inflated costs.

Regarding whether you should pursue an MBA, I would advise against it. Unless you have a full scholarship or a unique opportunity, a master's degree doesn't significantly benefit entrepreneurs. Running your own business will teach you far more than an MBA ever could.

While having an MBA in accounting might sound prestigious, practical experience gained from entrepreneurship is invaluable. It's not just about feeling credible; it's about developing real-world skills.

Entrepreneurship is a journey where you'll learn through doing. You'll encounter imposter syndrome, especially when providing advice or strategies in areas you haven't explored extensively. However, this hands-on experience and learning by doing will teach you more than any MBA program.

Let me share a personal story to illustrate this point. I started as a pastor at a church and later transitioned into a sales role at Best Buy. My education was inconsistent, and I never completed a full scholarship. Nevertheless, I excelled in sales and acquired in-depth knowledge of computers during my time at Best Buy.

When I joined Thrivent Financial, I was asked if I knew anything about finances. To be honest, I failed their pretest miserably. I had to cram for financial certifications, such as the Series 7, Series 66, and life and health insurance licenses. I devoted four months to intense learning and passed these exams with flying colors.

What I learned is that being a "learn-it-all" is more valuable than being a "know-it-all." I didn't have formal education in finance or taxes, but I immersed myself in books, courses, consultations with CPAs, and extensive self-study. I strategically implemented this knowledge to assist small businesses.

So, am I a good accountant? No, I'm not. I strategically applied my knowledge to help businesses thrive. If you're committed to learning and continually improving your skills, you can achieve success without formal education.

If you want to enhance your credibility, consider pursuing a CPA or enrolled agent certification. These credentials hold value and can benefit your career. However, don't underestimate the power of practical experience and self-education.

Starting your own business requires more than just feeling credible. You must excel in various roles, including sales, marketing, client relations, and organization. Most accountants tend to be detail-oriented, but entrepreneurship demands versatility and multitasking.

If you're ready to take on these challenges, focus on honing your competencies. Prospect, connect with clients, and develop a robust marketing system. Remember, practical experience and hands-on learning will be your best teachers.

In conclusion, prioritize acquiring practical skills and knowledge, whether through self-study or working with experienced accountants. Skip the MBA, invest in relevant certifications, and gain real-world experience. Entrepreneurship is about execution and results, not just credentials.

Remember, there's a vast pool of business owners who need your expertise and assistance. Even small efforts to help them organize their finances can add significant value to their businesses. So, if you're organized and understand accounting, you can make a meaningful impact.

Don't be deterred by imposter syndrome or the need for formal education. Embrace the journey of entrepreneurship and focus on delivering results to your clients. It's your commitment to learning and doing that will set you on the path to success.

If you found this advice valuable and you're interested in starting your own business, I have two suggestions for you:

  1. Support this channel by making a donation. Even a small contribution can help cover the costs associated with creating content like this.
  2. Consider enrolling in my comprehensive $500 course. This course covers essential aspects of running a successful business, including value proposition, structure, and coaching. It's a practical resource designed to equip you for the challenges of entrepreneurship.

Good luck on your journey, and may you find success in your accounting and bookkeeping endeavors. If you appreciated this content, please like, subscribe, and leave a comment. Your feedback and engagement are greatly appreciated.

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