Having started a new business you will be invoicing customers and paying suppliers. It is important that you maintain accurate records in preparation for creating a set of accounts. It is likely that you can manage to keep track of basic every day entries but, dependent on the size and scope of your company, a local accountant could save you more money than they cost you in the long run.
There are 1,000s of accountants across the UK, many of which could provide you with the service you need. So how do you narrow down the options? Here is our guide to make the right choice for you:
Although other factors may come into play, starting with the accounting firms that friends, colleagues and business associates suggest is a good idea. Seek advice from other business owners, look at forums online and read reviews on the many websites that provide them. If someone you know has been using an accountant for years ask them why they have stuck with the same accountant. Apathy is not the answer you are looking for at this point. Similar to banking many people stay with accountants as they believe changing will be complicated or costly.
If someone has moved from a previous accountant it may be worth asking why. Did they change due to price, service, availability or simply a clash of personalities? You are not going to like every person you meet while managing a business.
We, at Simple Formations, are pleased to recommend a free accountancy consultation with one of our accounting partners. This is available to new start ups, existing businesses & sole traders!
Why request a free accountancy consultation from Simple Formations partner?
- It's free! The free consultation will understand your business and needs and then explain what services you require and how much it will cost. Why not give them a chance to explain what they can do for you?
- Great investment. The right accountant is an investment in your business and it's future, not all accountants are the same. Our partner is an established and experienced chartered accountant and can make a real difference to your business.
- Compliance. Accounts and tax filings are a legal obligation, let the experts take care of this so you can take care of your business.
- Start early. Getting an accountant on board from the start will help you setup your internal record keeping and any software from day one. The more effective your record keeping is the less time an accountant needs to spends compiling your accounts at year end means they are less expensive. The alternative approach of dumping a cardboard box of receipts and invoices on an accountants desk the day before your accounts are due at Companies House can be avoided if you act now.
Accountancy can be done at a distance, you don’t have to meet them in person or ever visit their office. There are many online accounting services to choose from. However, if you would prefer to be able to sit down and discuss your requirements with a local accountant then check their location. In a lot of towns and cities, there is a particular area that is populated by accountants, estate agents and lawyers. If you don’t have access to transport you will need to consider how often you are going to visit and how you are going to get there.
Many accounting firms offer more than just preparing your accounts. They can visit your office to install accounting software or offer advice on how to record transactions. There are often free meetings and network events. They may assist with financial planning, business mergers, exit strategies or have knowledge of services that may suit your business.
In this day and age, more so under the current circumstances during the pandemic, there is often no need to meet accountants in person. The award-winning accounting partner we provide a referral to offers many cloud-based and digital accounting solutions.
Cost will play a large part in your decision. Accounting fees can range from a few hundred pounds per year to thousands of pounds depending on the size of your business, the volume of transactions, and the amount of time spent reviewing your figures. If you simply drop all of your receipts and invoices on your accountants table with a copy of your bank statements you can expect to pay more than a business using accounting software a keeping accurate records.
There can be a tendency in new business owners to think that the higher the price the better the service. In many cases, this just isn’t true. You will know yourself that customers will not stand for poor quality products and services. This is exactly the same for you when picking an accountant. You are the customer, make sure you get value for money and not cheap.
If you are running a niche company or your company is entitled to additional tax breaks or allowances, make sure the accountants you approach know about your industry. Most firms will know a little about a lot – but you will need the best knowledge to get the most out of your hard work. Whether you operate in the construction industry, research and development or manage peoples IT ask potential accountants what background they have assisting similar businesses. Again, check for specialist online forums or recommendations, ask tough questions and don’t be afraid to turn down a quote if they aren’t the right ones for you.
Additional Services (bookkeeping, payroll, vat), benefits
Because there are so many firms out there most now offer extra services over and above year end accountants. If you have employees do they offer a sensibly priced payroll solution? Are you going to register for VAT? Can the firm help with self assessment tax returns or P11D filing? What about bookkeeping? Lots of people now use online software to keep a record of this themselves but maybe the accountants can offer input or assistance.
Above all, when you are choosing your company accountant, remember that this is your money and you are the customer. Get the best you can and don’t be afraid to move to a new firm if they can offer you a better service.
Simple Formations are pleased to provide company registration services to hundreds of accountants every year. We also offer a free, no-obligation, accountancy consultation with our award-winning accountancy partner. Contact us for more information.