Picking the right accountant is important, as their advice can make or break your business. Incorrect planning for cashflow and out of date records for tax purposes can spell disaster. For example, inappropriate tax schemes and inadequate planning for VAT.
Your accountant should be proactive and willing to give you advice throughout the year, not just once a year when it’s time for the tax bill.
The whole point of hiring an accountant is to make running your business easier, not harder. If you’re struggling to get hold of your current one, and they’re constantly giving you the run-around, it could be a sign to change.
Changing or hiring an accountant
Changing accountants can be scary. Maybe you’ve had a bad experience in the past, but don’t let that put you off. There are plenty of great accountants out there who love what they do, and genuinely want to help people and their businesses grow. After all, it’s about mutual success and helping the wider economy one business at a time.
What should you be looking for, then?
Firstly, it’s important to find out how much experience any potential new accountant has in the industry.
Secondly, it’s a good idea to work with an accountant who specialises in your kind of business. That way they can support and advise you in the best possible way.
From a general point of view, you’ll want to work with an accountant who is always learning and investing in their own business. This is a sign that they want to provide the best possible service for their clients, and the best possible advice.
If you’re just starting out in business, it can be important to get advice from an accountant early on. This could save you a lot of time and money, especially if numbers aren’t your strong point.
We were approached by the directors of a business that had been submitting their own accounts and corporation tax returns for years but decided that they should get an accountant on board now that their business was booming, and they no longer had the time.
The directors didn’t understand the terminology of their accounts, and consequently had been submitting incorrect accounts for the entire period the business had been trading. No taxes were paid due to the misunderstanding of certain terms. This led to the realisation that if the HMRC investigated the business, which would be likely as we recommended to submit a voluntary disclosure to correct the information, there would be fines, and back taxes to pay that would bankrupt the business.
The penalties would have been even more severe if no voluntary disclosure was submitted and the directors hadn’t sought professional help.
Had they sought to work with an accountant when they began trading, this issue would have been avoided.
Research is key!
When you are ready to change your accountant, or even engage one for the first time, you should do your research. Look them up on the web to see how active they are and read reviews and testimonials from existing clients.
Meeting them in person is be a great way to get a feel for whether they are the right long-term partner for your business. Ask as many questions as you feel necessary – they should be happy to answer them all.
Make a list of the accountants you’d potentially like to work with and get as many quotes as possible. Whilst saving money might be a priority, remember that the cheapest often isn’t the best.
A fee for a good accountant that works well with you and your business is an investment, not a cost.
The best recommendations often come from word of mouth, from friends and business associates. Check out the company on social media, google reviews and spend some time on their website before you make a choice about a new accountant.
Whether you’re just starting up or you’ve been in business for a long time, if you’re ready for a change, don’t be scared to make the jump.
We’ll help to make your business, not break it. Get in touch to find out how!
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