Very important, if you invest the time to find an accountant with the precise skill-set your business needs, it will likely save your business a lot of money in the long run.
Some accountants are more interested in the fee they can charge than with providing your business the services it needs to thrive. Other accountants may have the required skills and contacts, but are too busy to provide the support you need in a timely fashion. This could result in your company paying more tax than it actually has to. Regardless of the size of your business, or how long it has been trading, your accountant should be on hand to provide first class advice when you need it, otherwise, why hire them in the first place?
What aspects of business administration can an accountant help with?
Your accountant should be able to help you with VAT, company taxes, PAYE, personal tax returns, annual accounts, and returns. These are tasks that many small business owners find hard or just plain dull. While attempting to prepare accounts yourself might seem tempting, in reality it may prove much more expensive than it would have been to simply pay a qualified accountant in the first place. From a legal perspective, the company owner benefits from the knowledge that he or she is fully compliant, and free to focus on the day to day running of their business.
Should I pay a monthly fee?
Only if your accountant is providing monthly services, or the monthly fee is a way of spreading the cost of preparing your annual accounts. You may be able to reduce your accountancy fees by performing simple aspects of bookkeeping in house, and maintaining a ledger to record your expenses.
Your accountant should not charge for the occasional provision of standard advice. Anything outside that you will probably need to pay for, but paying for an hour long consultancy session with your accountant could potentially save you thousands of pounds in the long run anyway.
Do I need to find an accountant when forming a new business?
Many accountants offer small sole trader enterprises free startup advice, if you agree to let them them prepare your year end accounts. You can undoubtably set up your own small enterprise with no accountant, although larger company formations, or start-ups that anticipate rapid growth would do well to obtain the advice of a qualified accountant from the outset.
How important is it to find an accountant with relevant experience?
For companies in sectors where unique tax rules apply, it is vital. Outside this exception, relevant experience is not really that that important since obligations remain the same across the board. Simply look for an accountant with a good reputation that works with new starts and small businesses in your area.
If you are looking for accountants in Chippenham, check out Chippendale and Clark, their services cover everything from bookkeeping to workplace pensions. Otherwise, online research can be a great way to find a good accountant in your area. For extra reassurance, you could search for members of professional bodies such as the ICAEW or ACCA. Gather the contact details for four or five promising companies, then check out their websites and see if their offerings align with your needs. It’s also a good idea to meet in person before exchanging contracts, to make sure both parties are on the same page and to give some indication of the accountancy companies standards and level of expertise.
How do I get the most out of my connection with my accountant?
Look to them for advice if you are unsure about the best approach on a specific issue, and act on the advice they provide. Don’t haggle too hard over monthly costs, accountants have overheads too and the quality of service you receive may be compromised if you are paying two thirds of their standard rate. The best way to reduce accountancy costs is to maintain well ordered and accurate records.