02 Oct Do I need an accountant?
Companies House will allow you to create and submit your abbreviated accounts for free, directly through their site. You will find your company tax return as well as companies that can sell you individual licences to make your full Ixbrl accounts for HMRC if you google, CT600 software. If there was anything I’ve mentioned in this paragraph that you’re unsure of, it is probably worth getting a accountant.
So, if you feel confident, then go for it. Then maybe do not, if you do not.
After all, if money is tight it is easy as these have the potential that you need to justify spending.
Do you feel confident around your accounts? Do you feel confident around finances? Do you know bookkeeping?
It is a fair question, as when you’re starting up, or if your business is in a famine point (rather than the favourite feast stage), it’s common sense to question where you are spending your money.
If you’re only going to be running a Directors payroll then you might be okay. Then you might feel confident to run the payroll, if you use the payroll module of your accounting applications.
Having said that, if your customers pay you in advance for work, you begin to purchase large pieces of equipment like a van or a car or you take out a loan or a finance agreement, then I would find an accountant. These are the pieces where I’ve seen some real gems of a DIY mistake. A number of which have been quite costly.
If the answer to any of these is no or the notion of doing your tax return or your accounts makes you nervous, then you might want to find an accountant.
However, if makes you feel nervous or unsure, then you may want to check at getting a professional accountant.
If you engage the services of an accountant, then you’re not bound to them for life. Try to pick out a nice, friendly accountant. Be honest which you would like to learn some of this procedure. Get them to look at your bookkeeping and provide feedback. Check the documents they send you.
But if you find yourself with a spare bit of time, possibly connect with a few accountants on social networking. Visit a few websites. Get accountants that are local to you a feel or specialise in your business or accounting software that is chosen or have brand colours that you like.
Another option is to have a look at bookkeepers. A few have extended their services so you can be able to grab a bargain there. Possibly not if you are a Company nonetheless.
You could find a fine. Overpay some tax. Choose the VAT strategy and mess up your cash flow.
You could even select a bad accountant and end up doing all the above. But that is very rare. I don’t want to frighten you.
I have recently run into several freelancers asking if they want an accountant.
Or if you would like to check if you’re on the right VAT scheme or if an employee is going to go on maternity leave and you’re unsure how to treat this, then you might want to find an accountant.
Can you trade through a Limited Company? If you trade through a Limited Company, then I really suggest getting an accountant from day one. And in some cases even day minus 5 as I think it is worth checking with an accountant to determine if forming a Company really is the ideal thing for you.
If those costs cause you to sweat a bit then I suggest shopping around and being honest with your budget. You need to be able to get a feeling from the accountant’s site is they are cheap as in crap. (you could always read my blog,”How to choose an accountant who isn’t a little bit crap”, here)
What should you do you’re still unsure whether you need an accountant? There is not a simple reply to this.
That said, if you feel confident with your bookkeeping skills and again, if your organization is straightforward, you will find the resources out there to let you file your account yourself.
Just be aware that hardly any accountants will charge less for assessing your work. For fixing errors in Tax Returns or provide a discount.
Are you considering running a payroll or becoming VAT registered? Payroll and VAT are two accountancy improvements which could quickly become very complex.
I’m aware that we can sit here and debate what simple really means for a long time. But that’s one of the reasons I am no fun at parties.
Can you afford an accountant? I really do appreciate that us accountants aren’t always the cheapest. I’d say that the average starting costs of a tax return with balances is around #350 and a freelancer Limited firm set of accounts is #600.
If you engage the services of an accountant, then you could risk paying out money on something that you may feel you can do yourself.
If you’re self-employed and your business consists of you raising one or two invoices a month and your expenses are mostly regular direct debits, then I’d say that your company is easy, and you might not need an accountant.
You may also feel confident with the VAT. Add up the VAT on your sales, deduct the VAT. Pay the difference. Job done. Again, accounting software can help with this.
There isn’t any reason why you can not get an accountant and once you begin to feel more confident, then look to preparing your own.
You do not need one.
However, paying somebody to do your tax return is not quite as sexy as well as the value isn’t always so obvious.
So, as an accountant, here is my list of things you need to consider before deciding whether to get an accountant.