Ramona Dzinkowski is a freelance business journalist

In 2020, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Adnan Charania decided to leave his job to open his own accountancy practice, Rationale Accounting Services, in Atlanta, Georgia, while at the same time completing an MSc in accounting at University College London.

Many might think that leaving a high-paying job for the uncertainty of becoming a sole practitioner at a time when networking and client development was not on the cards would not be a good idea. However, Charania has shown that combining professional excellence with the leveraged benefits of being part of a close community makes success entirely possible.

‘With close professional and community relationships, I was confident I could gain clients’

Charania had already shown he was prepared to take risks, having previously moved from his native Pakistan, via Kuwait, to Georgia in 2017. Atlanta has a thriving Pakistani business network, so Charania was able to develop contacts through family and friends.

The CV

Partner at Rationale Accounting Services, Atlanta, Georgia, US

Manager, finance and FP&A, Envision Group, Atlanta

Finance specialist, lead FP&A, Alyasra Foods, Kuwait

Management accountant, Electrozan General Trading, Kuwait

Cost analyst, MCR Pizza Hut, Pakistan

Seeing opportunity

When the pandemic hit in 2020, the company Charania was working for had to halt its expansion plans and even close some locations. ‘The business had to temporarily shut down some of its stores,’ Charania explains. ‘And that’s when I decided to complete my master’s degree and start working on my own practice.’

Not having a background in US federal and state tax law, he spent his first six months as an entrepreneur studying US tax legislation and reporting statutes. ‘While I didn’t intend to offer tax services immediately, I needed to make sure that I was versed enough to hire the right people when the time came.’

It was through the network he created with his previous employer that he would get his first private practice client. ‘When I told one of the partners in the group that I was going to start my own practice, he agreed to hire my services for a few of his companies.’ By the end of 2020, the number had grown to 40 companies.

‘Once you reach a client base exceeding 100, it becomes imperative to transition your focus towards business development and management, rather than personally handling tasks’

Charania soon realised that to continue to expand, he needed to step back from the actual accounting work. ‘Because of my close professional and community relationships, I was confident I could gain more clients. However, as the business grew, it became clear that accounting was just one part of the practice.’ In addition to accounting, such services include payroll, taxation and licenses.

What he needed to do was to make sure the company’s infrastructure and processes were up to best practices, not only for his clients but also to attract qualified people. ‘Once you reach a client base exceeding 100, it becomes imperative to transition your focus towards business development and management, rather than personally handling tasks,’ he says. He now works on client accounts 50% of the time, devoting the other 50% to relationship management, process improvement, training and team building.

Charania is also a licensed financial services professional and owns a company called Rational Professional Services that offers a comprehensive suite of financial services tailored to meet the unique needs and goals of its clients. As a financial professional, Charania specialises in a range of key areas, including tax diversification, retirement planning, college savings plans, protection planning, tax-free income strategies, legacy planning, and estate planning with wills and trusts.


His ACCA qualification proved invaluable in allowing Charania to take the leap of faith from company accountant to owner of a rapidly growing private practice. ‘In terms of opening doors, the ACCA qualification tells an employer or client that you have the right training, and that you can be an all-rounder in accounting, finance, audit and tax,’ he says. ‘Thanks to the qualification, I know I’ll be able to handle any accounting complexities for any client.’

The ACCA qualification was also instrumental in Charania obtaining his MSc in accounting. ‘I did my degree in a compressed time frame because of my ACCA membership. You can fast-track the degree if you already have the qualification.’

After three years in business, Charania has grown his client base to more than 400 clients and has six full-time accounting staff. ‘We’re already poised to add another 30 clients this year,’ he says.

‘To start your own firm, you have to put the time in. Sometimes even 70 hours a week is not enough’

Top tips
  • Find someone in your field that can help you guide your vision. Develop many contacts to expand your opportunities.
  • To start your own accounting firm, you have to put the time in. Sometimes even 60 or 70 hours a week is not enough. If you are able to commit only 40 to 50 hours per week, the journey will be difficult.
  • When you’re hiring staff, make sure the job description is clear and provide appropriate training at all levels.
  • Don’t false-commit to clients or employees. Set clear expectations.
  • Best practice is about the entire business, not just accounting. Ensure the right infrastructure is in place to scale your business and make your systems and processes efficient.
  • Have self-confidence, and your clients and staff will have confidence in you.
  • Be adaptable to change and be patient.

Rationale Accounting Services

A full-service accounting practice located in Atlanta, Georgia, Rationale Accounting Services provides consultancy on operational and financial efficiency and statutory regulations. It also provides expert opinion on accounting, finance, payroll, taxation and standard operating procedures.