I've been doing private practice part-time for three years and never knew I needed to meet with an attorney or CPA. Is this really necessary?
It depends on how large you are. If you are bringing in a sizable income, you just want to have your bases covered. If you are a solo practitioner you really are not going to need that much as far as legal advice but if you're moving into hiring individuals, that's when that attorney consult is extremely critical. But if you're doing business as yourself, and it's under your name and not a fictitious name, you may be just fine. It wouldn't hurt just to chat, it's not going to be a lengthy apppointment time at all.
When I had my first private practice, which started with one referral, the business grew fairly quickly. Since I was reporting the income on my personal tax return, I received a letter from the state after the first three years saying I needed a business license! I owed the state a fine and had to get a license to do business. A lawyer could have saved me some money, if I had thought to consult one. Sometimes, we learn AFTER the fact! If you are reporting the income on your personal tax return, a CPA can often find additional deductions you may not have thought of, so a consultation may help, especially if you are buying equipment and need to depreciate or establish a calculation for space in the home for an office.
Denise Dougherty is a solo practitioner in Pennsylvania and consults for The Arijah Children's Foundation in Anguilla, BWI, providing evaluations and therapy for special needs children. Denise serves as the President of the American Academy of Private Practice in Speech Pathology and Audiology (AAPPSPA), and is the AAPPSPA liaison for ASHA Health Care Economics Committee.