Being in business for yourself is exciting, engaging, and sometimes – exhausting; especially if you’re trying to handle everything yourself.
HMRC (the Tax Office) require all businesses to provide them with regular accounts and information, which you as a business owner are legally obliged to get in on time, in a readable format, and with everything that’s been requested.
There is no way around this, if you’re operating a business – regardless of the size – you have to do your accounts, and with Making Tax Digital (MTD) rolling out across all HMRC services, there’s going to come a point where you have to do this using online tools too.
The easiest and most reliable way to manage the needs of the Tax Office, is to hire a professional accountant – who can give you the advice, tools, and services you need to get everything done properly.
But this is just the tip of the iceberg – when you hire an accountant, you’re not just paying them to fill in your forms or handle your data, you’re gaining access to their wealth of experience, the right tools and software programs to manage (without having to purchase licenses or software copies yourself) and benefiting from their expertise in understanding the supremely complicated landscape that is HMRC.
The right accountant isn’t just a time-saver, it’s an investment in the future of your business; and like any other business decision and expense – you want to make sure you’re getting it right, getting value for money, and know that the accountants you’ve hired are qualified for your needs and will be capable of doing the job properly.
We’ve put together some top tips, questions, and things to look for, when you’re deciding on an accountant to manage your professional, personal, and business needs.
With so many digital options for communication now, video calls, email, messaging services, phone, etc – the physical location of your accountant isn’t perhaps as important as it used to be – so if you’re comfortable conversing and providing documents through digital platforms, you can extend your search outside of your local area.
However, if you prefer face-to-face meetings, need someone that can attend meetings with you, or have a lot of physical paperwork that isn’t easily digitised, then you might want to look at your local area.
Not all accountancy services cover everything when it comes to managing your accounts – some may specialise in niche areas, and others may not handle certain areas. When you’re making your choice, it’s a good idea to carefully review their website, and check that they do in fact offer the services you require.
If you’re not entirely sure what services you’re going to need, it’s a good idea to look for accountants that offer consultation services and arrange to discuss with them what your business is and does, what your personal needs are (if applicable), and what the accountants would expect or need from you.
Whilst you do need to take reviews with a pinch of salt, you can generally get a good idea of whether an accountancy service is timely, professional, competent, and user-friendly, by checking out their online presence.
If there’s a large number of mid-range or negative reviews, you may find that they’re not the best service to approach.
You want to work with people who are trusted, rated by peers and search engines, and can be trusted to help you with your needs.
Managing expectations is a massively important stage of the decision process – even if you hire an accountant, you are still legally responsible for your tax affairs, and you want to ensure that you can trust your chosen professionals to do the work they’ve agreed to.
This means a partnership between you both – your accountants can’t work in a vacuum – they need you to provide them with the information and data requested at appropriate times and should work with you to determine a schedule for providing this.
If your accountant isn’t asking you about your business, or arranging a schedule with you, then you’re running a serious risk of not having your accounts ready and submitted on time.
At the end of the day, you need to determine what’s best for your business, and how well you think your chosen accountant will fit with your needs. At Yorkshire Accountancy, we are up front and honest about what we need from you, and what you can expect from us – so we’re always on the same page, and both held to account!
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