You’ve done your research and found the right accountant for your business, so what next? If you really want to get good value for money, there are a few things you should know, such as what an accountant needs from their clients.
Although you are the client, there are several ways you can help your accountant – and create a good working relationship. While it’s important that they offer you a good service, if you don’t meet them halfway it could end up costing you more than necessary, and information could be missed.
Our guide explains the key things that accountants need from their clients, and how you can help them to deliver an outstanding service.
If you’ve ever attempted to do your year-end accounts yourself, you’ll appreciate what a huge task it can be. Not keeping on top of your bookkeeping throughout the year means you’re left with an uphill battle when it’s time to make your returns.
By carrying out regular bookkeeping throughout the year, you can eliminate the deluge of information which needs to be sifted through. Ideally, you should submit this information to your accountant on a regular basis.
This can be monthly or quarterly, depending on the size of your business. The important thing is that there’s a regular flow of information to your accountant rather than a giant mess just piled up at the end of the tax period.
Every business has certain submissions that must be made. Missing a HMRC deadline can lead to hefty financial penalties. The extent of the submissions that must be made depends on the type of business setup you have.
You should know the deadlines for these submissions, even if your accountant is completing the work on your behalf. You will need to provide your accountant with the relevant information to enable the submission to be made – but make sure you leave them enough time.
Remember that you are not their only client.
Although you may consider that a day or two is more than enough time to enter the information, remember that your accountant is juggling the needs of many businesses. They may need to make multiple submissions, and this means having the details in good time so they can schedule the work accordingly.
Ask your accountant when they need to have the information, but in most cases, it’s always the sooner the better.
Nobody wants to pay more tax than they have to, and there are many ways you can legitimately minimize what you have to pay. Your accountant can explain the options available, and whether or not you qualify in each case.
For example, they may be able to reveal more about expenses you never knew were deductible!
Your accountant is putting their professional reputation on the line every time they complete your financial statements. By verifying that the information is true and correct, they are using their credibility and professionalism to back up your business.
If you don’t tell the truth or you mislead your accountant about crucial financial information, you could end up tarnishing their professional reputation. And you may be fined yourself. Don’t assume that by hiding some details you will get a better outcome from your accountant; it’s always better to be honest and to have a conversation about any options you want to explore – legally.
You live and breathe your business every day, so it’s expected that you will know every little detail. It can be helpful for your accountant to understand more about your business in order to give you the best advice.
Good communication is therefore key to fostering a good relationship, ensuring your accountant can give you the most helpful advice and guidance throughout the partnership. You won’t need to be on the phone to your accountant every day, but scheduling review meetings throughout the year may be helpful.
Good accountants will welcome these discussions and not see them as inconvenient to their own workload!
As a general rule, information and communication is key to a positive relationship with your accountant, and it will ensure that you get the best possible service from them in return.
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