Whether you have just set up your business, or having been running it for years, making sure that you have a great accountant is something that you can’t afford to neglect. Not only will they be there to save you time and assist with the necessary filing requirements you will have for yourself and your business, they will also be able to keep you up to date with legislation that could otherwise pass you by.
So, with so many options out there, what should you be looking for in an accountant?
Reasonable, fixed fee
We specifically use the word ‘reasonable’ here, rather than ‘cheap’ because it is fair to say that when it comes to choosing an accountant, there is an element of ‘you get what you pay for’, so simply picking one because they are cheap may well not work out best in the long run. The best thing to do is to have a look around various different accountants, and check exactly what they are offering for their fees. We would always recommend choosing an accountant who has a fixed fee as well, so that you know how much you will be paying each month, and for what. The last thing you want is to find yourself being hit with hidden charges, or unexpected fees partway through your engagement, so it is always worthwhile checking exactly what you are going to be getting for your money.
Of course, the ideal situation is using an accountant who has been recommended to you by a friend or colleague, so you have a first hand review from someone you trust. However, another good option is to check out review sites to read first hand reviews from current/previous clients. There are various review sites for accountants out there, (such as such as this one), and often, if you just google a firm, there should be some Google reviews available for you to check out.
Dedicated, qualified accountant
There are a number of accountancy firms out there that, each time you contact them, you will be speaking to someone different. However, we believe that it’s really important for you to have a consistent point of contact for your accountant. When you are busy running your own business, the last thing that you want is to be speaking to someone different every time you ring up, or worrying that deadlines may be missed as you get passed from pillar to post. So, you should always check that you will have a dedicated accountant and find out exactly who you will be dealing with on a day to day basis, and also check whether they have a direct dial that you will be able to contact them on, rather than reaching a call centre.
It is also worth checking that your accountant is suitably qualified, whether that be through years of experience, or professional qualifications such as AAT, ATT ACCA, ACA or CPFA, and that they have good experience in the contractor, freelancer, and small business market. You should also ensure that the accountancy practice itself is regulated. That way, if you do have any problems, you will have the option to escalate these to their professional body (something that you wouldn’t be able to do if the firm is not regulated).
It is also important that your accountant is approachable and on hand to answer any question you have, no matter how big or small. Accounting and taxation can be complicated, and whilst of course, you don’t want to be having to be undertaking some sort of accounting qualification yourself, you will want an accountant who is able to explain anything that you are unsure of so that you have confidence in what is being submitted in your name.
Modern, reliable technology
Luckily, gone are the days when accountants worked solely on paper or excel spreadsheets. Now, there is so much amazing accounting software out there, meaning that the hassle of maintaining accounting records has all but gone, and that both you and your accountant will be able to access your accounting records at any time. Using well established cloud software, such as FreeAgent, is much less time consuming not only for you, but also for the accountant which will leave them with more time to be proactive with the advice that they give.
PaperRocket Accounting provide accounting and tax services to professional contractors, freelancers, and small businesses working in the UK.
We offer our clients a flexible choice of fixed fee monthly packages which cover all of their accounting and tax needs (so no hidden costs or surprise bills!). All of our accounting packages include a monthly subscription for a cloud accounting software subscription provided by the awarding winning FreeAgent.
Each of our clients is given their own dedicated qualified accountant with unlimited access in person, telephone, or by email.
We pride ourselves on our client satisfaction and customer service and were awarded ‘Best Contractor Accountancy’ firm 2020 in The Contracting Awards and ‘Welwyn Hatfield Business of the Year 2019’ in the SME Hertfordshire awards.
To find out how we can help you please get in touch now.