Choosing an Accountant

Choosing an accountant puzzled

An unbiased guide to choosing your accountant

Can I just choose any accountant? 

Yes, all accountants should be able to file your tax and corporation returns.  However, finding the right accountant can save you and your business lots of wasted time, stress and of course money.

How can I tell if an accountant is any good?

While you are searching through the internet, you will no doubt see many special offers of accountancy services at amazingly low costs – there is of course more to judge an accountancy service by than the initial cost, and choosing the wrong accountant can cost you a whole lot more than any amazing limited offer low price!  You should be looking for an accountant with a proven track record of customer service,  who ideally has experience in your business field.

Should I speak to my new accountant before using their services?

Absolutely you should!  You are about to form a business relationship which involves trust, and could last many many years.  If you can not get a response from your accountant now, what makes you think it will be any different when you really need their help?

What can my accountant help me with?

Your accountant should be able to free you from many of the financial and administrative tasks, most of which probably take you away from your core business. Your account will be able to help you with VAT , PAYE (payroll), personal and business taxation, year end accounts, CIS payments, and many more aspects of taxation.  Not every business owner is good with figures, and making mistakes with taxation could prove very costly.

Monthly fee or Pay as you go?

Wouldn’t you rather see what you accountant does for the money you pay them? You can save yourself money by keeping your own records of income and expenditure, rather than paying your accountant to do your book-keeping.  If you are using regular services from your accountant, such as weekly or monthly payroll, book-keeping etc, that might be a valid case for opting to pay a regular monthly fee to cover the services you use, otherwise pay as you go could save you money.

Should I be paying my accountant for advice?

Sitting down with your accountant and asking questions can save you and your business time and money, unless this forms part of your monthly plan, you can probably expect to pay for this advice, however it would be unlikely you would be charged for the occasional bit of telephone or email advice.

I am about to start a new business, should I find an accountant?

Accountants will generally give the first meeting free of charge, so this is an ideal opportunity for you to talk over your business and ideas with your potential future accountant.   They will probably be able to offer lots of advice from similar businesses they have worked with, local area information, business networking events, and of course tax implications.   Once you business starts to grow, it will be in your best interest to have an existing relationship with an accountant, rather than rushing to find one at the last moment.

I already have an accountant, but am not happy, what can I do?

Quite simply, you can change accountants!  As long your account is paid to date, your existing accountant should not have any issues releasing any previous accounts information to your new accountant.    If you are unable to retrieve your accounts from your accountant (due to cessation of practice etc.), you new accountant should be able to retrieve your tax information from HMRC directly.

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