How to Choose an Accountant That Best Suits Your Business
Some business owners prefer doing bookkeeping on their own, but many of them seek the help of professional accountants when it comes to accounting. But do you know how to find a good accountant in the UK?
Tasks that go beyond organising and storing financial records can be too time-consuming or complex for owners to stay on top of, considering these reports have to be extremely accurate.
More than this, a lot of technical expertise is required to be able to deal with SME taxes, including corporation tax, diverted profit tax, and so on. Without the help of a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), miscalculations can go unreported and cost their businesses larger sums of money in the long run.
Here’s how to know if you’re choosing an accountant that’s right for your growing small business.
One of the first things to look at is whether the accountant you’re working with has the right qualifications, such as being a licensed CPA. These professionals are usually required to keep up with current tax laws and are more knowledgeable when it comes to coordinating with tax agencies and preparing financial statements for different uses.
If the firm you’re working with outsources to a third-party company, you may need to ask them to be upfront about it. Outsourcing some of the work is not an entirely uncommon practise for accounting firms, so make sure you’re coordinating with the right professional when it comes to getting first-hand or second-hand advice regarding your financials.
By far, the best accountant you could get depends on how much he or she knows about your business’ industry. Certain kinds of corporate taxes in the UK have specific rules per type of business, so it’ll be up to a professional’s experience to know how to manoeuvre around these regulatory updates (including how your small business’s income or employee wages are reported).
Some firms charge a flat rate for providing finance and accounting services, while others impose a per-hour fee especially when consultations go beyond basic business advice. Remember to pay upfront instead of on a monthly basis so that you may keep track of how much work is being done for what you’re paying. A firm that charges significantly less than the others may only be running your numbers through accounting programs - something that even you can do as a business owner. You’ll know that an accountant reviews your financials with care when they are also able to explain what your numbers mean for your business as a whole.
Do they take the same approach that you do when it comes to managing your business finances? Would you trust them if they recommend a more aggressive or conservative approach to write off taxes? Most business owners build lasting partnerships with their accountants only when some initial work proves they are on the same page. At the end of the day, it is an accountant’s financial philosophies that will keep your business trusting in their advice, rather than just past experience or competence.
When should you hire an accountant?
Most SMEs don’t recruit accountants in their incubation phase. But if you think about it, having licensed finance professionals from the get-go establishes a realistic and professional foundation for the firm. Here are few situations to consider when your business needs to hire an accountant:
- Use their financial acumen to put your startup on a better footing. They can identify what legal business structure would work for you to have a maximum tax advantage, explain its corresponding tax filing requirements, and provide expert opinions so your business plans will be financially sound.
- If you deal with government paperwork, having an accountant comes in handy. More than doing your tax returns, they also coordinate other legal concerns such as filing compliance documents, preparing annual statements of accounts, organising stock allocation of the company, keeping up with new tax laws, what have you.
- Once the business starts rolling, so does your client network. And when this happens, you’ll need more hands on deck. As the transition happens, your accounting team can handle responsibilities such as payroll management, employee tax concerns, and analyse financial opportunities available for expansion, among others —hence, you’ll have more time to focus on the bigger picture of development.
Accountants can help in every way
Regardless of what phase your business is in, propping your operations with a dedicated team of accountants spares you from any financial distress that may come. Outsourcing accounting functions to a reliable team gives you access to professional expertise outside your range, and marshals necessary accounting resources to introduce efficiency to the process.
Their (accountants) financial insights are among the facets that shed light on how you can strategically navigate any provided opportunities for you. And with these details taken care of in the background, you can focus more on running the core operations.
You know how to find a good accountant in the UK when they make your business their business too. Working with these professionals for the long haul ensures your F&A processes transition to an easier approach for your business.
This post was first published 11 May 2015 and edited 04 October 2021.
Edited by: Maria Katrina dela Cruz