We’ve Invited Tim, from Caprica Online, to talk about how to ensure you pick the right accountant and what to look for!
Tax laws are continuously changing and one of the biggest headaches of running a business is keeping on top of accounting rules. More businesses are signing up to contractor accountants as a way of managing the financial side of their business. A reputable company will only use experienced and professional Contractor Accountants and it is an excellent way for you to free up valuable time that could be better spent elsewhere. Using a contractor accountant takes the stress out of managing your accounts smoothly and you can relax knowing that it is done within government rules. Tax laws are a minefield and it makes sense to leave it to the professionals. As a ltd company you can claim tax back on many things that you may not be aware of. One of the main advantages of signing up to contractor accountants is that they ensure that you claim all of the tax deductible expenses that you are entitled to. Shop around to find the best company for you and very often the service plays for itself in a short time because you are hiring somebody to work for you and in your company’s best interest. It is their job to save you money.
What You Can Expect to Receive
As with any service, not all companies offer the same benefits. Do your research before signing up and find one that offers a broad range of service and advice. They should have a solid reputation and come in at a competitive price. Use a company with unlimited online and telephone support.
When you sign up with a contractor accountant, annual financial statements, corporate tax returns, annual self-assessment tax returns and quarterly VAT returns should all come as standard. The accountant will collate the information, process it and send off the relevant paperwork well ahead of deadlines. Some contractor accountants offer additional benefits. Look for: unlimited tax and accounting advice, payroll for directors, IR35 contract reviews and a dedicated contractor accountant working on a one-to-one basis with you so that you aren’t dealing with somebody different every time you get in touch. Your personal accountant will know your business and how best to represent you.
Some companies offer Online Accounting Software as part of their package. This is a web-based accountancy program that makes your bookkeeping easy. It is simple to use and accessible from any web browser or via dedicated phone apps. The overall package is designed to give you confidence that your accounts are in order and you can access your finances simply and easily from your laptop or via your Smart Phone. Data input is simple and designed to be labour and time saving; giving you the added bonus of fewer man-hours spent inputting information.
Additional Benefits to Look For
Find out what your accountant will do for you. Will they offer professional advice on how to minimise IR35 risk or structure your contracts? Ask whether you would be better off on the Flat Rate Scheme and will they deal with the related VAT Return for you. Do they offer clear advice about your future tax payments and what you can expect by forecasting?
What contractor Accountant offer most is peace of mind. With your personal accountant on-hand to give you expert advice, you never need worry that you are falling into arrears on your accounts and returns.
If you’re a new contractor, they may incorporate your new company for free and deal with relevant HMRC registrations to prevent late registration fees being incurred. They take the complexity out of running the financial side of your business. Everything about the service should be tailored around you and your needs, enabling you to cut some of the time-intensive work out of running your business.
In addition to the standard packages, some accountants will provide you with a registered office address. They may also provide you with a professional bookkeeping service. This service means that your accountant would take over the day-to-day running of your books while still giving you twenty-four hour access to your bookkeeping. A good company should provide you with monthly management accounts to keep you up-to-date on the performance of your business. Combine that with on-going support and advice from your Contractor Accountant and you will never have to bother with accounting again.
When you ring to enquire about signing up to a contractor accountant, have a list of questions prepared. You should speak to an expert advisor who will talk you through their service with no obligation to proceed. A good company, or lone contractor accountant, will never use a hard sell approach because their name and reputation should speak for itself. Some small business owners will always prefer to manage every aspect of their company themselves, but using a contractor accountant takes away a lot of the stress, and is an affordable way of moving your business forward and freeing up more of your time leaving you free to make money.
Tim runs Caprica Online, an online accountancy firm based in Reading. He offers a range of online accountancy packages and can be followed on Twitter.