Start-Up and Operating Costs of a CPA Firm
The cost of starting a CPA practice depends on many factors. Your geographic location will determine the cost of renting office space. You might consider starting with a home office and then growing into larger quarters. You may already have some furnishings and equipment to get started, or you may need to purchase or lease them.

Here are the basic items you'll need: Office Space

The Home Office

Many start-up businesses begin in home offices as they offer many cost advantages. Here are a few things to think about if you’re considering this option. Do you have adequate space to devote solely to your business? Is it quiet and away from family and pet noise, and traffic? Do you feel comfortable bringing clients into your home? If you anticipate hiring employees, is your family comfortable with this? Do local zoning requirements allow for a business in your home? If so, what restrictions are there on employees, client visits, parking, deliveries and signage?

The Commercial Office

Renting space in a commercial office building may be a better fit. Shop around before settling on a location, since rent and lease conditions can vary considerably. Before signing a lease, be aware of the long-term commitment and cash requirements. If your business grows rapidly, is there space to expand? Conversely, if your business doesn’t take off, are you locked into a multi-year commitment? Does the office meet realistic financial considerations, does it convey a positive image to clients, and does it offer flexibility based on your actual performance?

The Shared Office

Many businesses today are using the shared space concept. Within a commercial building, you rent private office space, but use a shared reception area and staff, shared conference facilities, copy machines and phone systems, as well as restrooms and coffee or lunch areas. This arrangement offers you the amenities and appearance of a large office, yet certain costs are shared with others.


Once you have your space, you'll need to furnish and equip it for business. Basics include:
  • Desks and chairs
  • Lamps
  • Bookcases
  • File cabinets
  • Visitor chairs
  • Conference table and chairs
  • Receptionist desk and chair
  • Computers and other electronic equipment
  • Printer
  • Software
  • Telephone(s) and answering machine/service
  • Other supplies and equipment
  • Reference library
Note: The AICPA offers members substantial discounts on selected equipment and services
Please visit AICPA Member Benefits and Service Discounts on Equipment and Services to learn more.
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