The right accountant can help you from the beginning with any issues you may encounter when setting up, making sure issues such as registering with Companies House and registering for VAT are all done correctly. Or if you’re working as a sole trader, they can offer plenty of tips on the best ways to keep track of your accounts throughout the year.
For new business owners, it can seem like there are endless complexities to sort out when it comes to finances, but a good accountant can make life much simpler and ensure you don’t get hit with any penalties and can keep as much of your hard earned money as possible.
Are they a specialist?
You could be forgiven for thinking that it doesn’t really matter which accountant you choose as they are all the same, providing that they are qualified. But this is definitely not the case. You need an accountant that has extensive experience and knowledge with businesses similar to you. If you’re a sole trader or freelancer – a specialist sole trader or freelancer accountant, would be able to offer you the best way to handle your accounts.
The personal touch
Do you have one point of contact or several, do you have a dedicated accountant or an account manager you can speak to?
Most firms do not offer a dedicated accountant, instead having a different person deal with your enquiries every time you get in touch. This can understandably get frustrating for some people, especially if you find yourself repeating things or explaining the same things a number of different times to different people.
Having a person dedicated to help you through the complex area of UK taxes is extremely useful and often vital for ensuring your business stays in good financial health. Even just dealing with expenses can be a minefield, which is why HMRC’s explanatory booklet on this area along is more than 100 pages long. And that’s a drop in the ocean when you consider all of the other laws and loopholes that go into the entire corporation tax system.
With so much potentially confusing information to plough through, having an accountant dedicated to dealing with your enquiries and knowing they are just at the end of the telephone or on the end of an email whenever you need them is very reassuring, especially when you don’t need to worry that you will be charged for every minute of their time. Even what might seem like the most simple of queries may need expert guidance so having your own accountant to help you with all of these issues is very comforting.
You may pay a little more for a firm that can guarantee you only have one main contact to deal with all year round, but when you consider how much more time you may waste dealing with different people, it can work out much more efficient, as well as being a more pleasurable experience.
How much will they charge you?
Most accountants will charge you to speak or email them, usually in 6 minute slots, invoicing you at the hour mark. This isn’t ideal if you encounter a problem with your taxes or have a really important question you need to ask your accountant. It can be enough to put any business owner off calling their accountant and make them push their tax issues to the bottom of the to-do list.
Of course, ignoring financial issues is never the best move, money is the lifeblood of any business so it’s vital to keep your accounts in order and stay on top of things throughout the year, finding out how you can be more tax efficient, make savings and avoid unexpected bills landing through your letterbox.