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I'm a fairly young CPA mid-late twenties, I've been out of school for three years. I started at a Big Ten firm and left after the first tax season as I quickly realized I was being pigeon-holed. I then spent about a year with a private manufacturing company as I couldn't find public work. Finally, I ended up where I am now, at a small CPA firm with two partners, two staff, some part-timers, and an office manager, I've been here for about a year and a half.

The firm is at a size that they don't want to grow anymore, and neither partner is retiring anytime soon, so there is not a lot of potential upside to me being here as I can't really take on my own clients and pursue partnership.

I don't want to go to work for someone else, I want to go out on my own, but I'm concerned about experience. I'd like to start off making at least a similar income to what I'm making now (low 40's), so I would guess purchasing my own firm would be the route to go. I've been frugal and have the financial assets to make a down payment on a purchase. I know that there is no "golden rule" as far as how much experience is needed, but are there "any" guidelines?

I've spoken with a broker who is also a CPA, and she's assured me that I have the skills to take on a practice that has mostly tax and book-keeping clients. She says I should buy this firm that's grossing between 250-300k, has two employees and some part-time help. However, I realize that's about as unbiased of an opinion I'd get as going to a car salesman and asking if they think you need a new car.

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