Clearsky Accounting, Plan IT Services, JSA Group, Danbro, Quay Accounting, First Contact, SJD Accountancy. . .

Choosing an accountant isn’t as easy as you might think, especially if you are a contractor, a freelancer or an interim manager.

Here are a few hints and tips which will help to make your selection process a little easier:

Can you meet your accountant, do they have offices in more than one place?

Companies with offices in one place will tell you it’s not a problem (again what else can they say), we totally disagree. It is true that you may be lucky and you may never need to see your accountant but isn’t it good to know that, should an emergency arise or complicated tax situation pop up, you won't have to drive hundreds of miles to sort it out face to face or have to resolve the issue solely over the telephone. 

Will you get your own dedicated accountant?

This may sound strange, but you'd be surprised at just how many accountancy firms there are who never make sure that you actually speak to the same person twice! And how many firms these days operate in more of a call centre type environment, rather than providing a one-to-one type service allowing you to actually speak to a human being straight away?

What is their charging structure?

Nobody should be paying their accountant based on a percentage of their invoices. We hear horror stories of some companies charging as much as 5%. This means that a contractor who is on £400 a day, working for 20 days in a month, will be paying their accountant £400 plus VAT each month. Most contractors would be much better off paying a fixed fee, SJD charges start from £120 plus VAT per month. Check our packages for more detail.

Are they caught or likely to be caught be the MSC legislation?

All firms and companies will tell you they are not caught by this, after all what else can they say? It’s actually extremely difficult to understand who is, or is not, likely to be caught, and in reality, only HM Revenue and Customs can say - but they aren’t likely to tell you.

One way to reassure yourself is to look for firms who have third party accreditations or audit standards. For example, SJD has been reviewed by KPMG and found to be fully compliant with all MSC legislation, is an APSCo compliant company and are deemed IPSE Accredited Accountants. Our advice is never just take a companies word for it.

Are they experienced in providing services to contractors and freelancers?

You wouldn’t visit a neurologist if you had a bad foot. But technically, a neurologist and a podiatrist are both doctors. And the same applies with accountants. UK tax law is complicated, which is why accountants specialise in certain fields.

For example, it makes no sense to choose an accountancy firm which predominantly provides services to trades-people and shop owners. Although they also run their own businesses, their needs are very different to yours. Instead, choose an accountant who is a specialist contractor accountant and has been trading for several years with a well-established practice.

Finding the genuine article

Don’t waste time with companies that promise huge expense policy and dispensations, as all firms are bound by the same HM Revenue and customs regulations. Also if they don't have the word 'accountancy' in their company name, they are probably not accountants. A number of firms have sprung up, both on and offshore, calling themselves ‘wealth management specialists’, but don’t believe the hype.

These days there are no loopholes, scams, special trusts or schemes that the government doesn’t know about. If it all goes wrong, it’s you and not the company that will be left with a potentially huge tax bill - and possibly penalties for tax evasion! At the end of the day you are the only one who has anything to lose.

There are good firms out there and switching is easy.

If you have any question about contracting or would like any further advice please call our new client services helpdesk on 01442 275789 or email nikki.hanlon@sjdaccountancy.com.

SJD Accountancy

SJD Accountancy are the UK's largest specialist provider of fixed fee, Limited company accountancy services to contractors; we've been acting for contractors across the UK since 1992 and have more than 15,000 clients.

We are the only national specialist firm of contractor accountants with offices nationwide. SJD Accountancy has more qualified staff than any other firm in our market with qualifications from the following major tax and accountancy bodies - ATT, AAT, CTA, ACCA, CA, ACA and FCCA.

  • Unlimited face to face meetings. This is a unique service only SJD Accountancy offers - unlimited face to face meetings across the UK - tax is complicated and sometimes only a meeting will do.
  • UK's Largest contractor accountants with more qualified staff. No call centres, no outsourcing, no automated call handling. Simply telephone, email or meet your own dedicated accountant face to face.
  • Money back service guarantee. All your telephone calls and emails will be answered the same day or we will make a full refund of that months fee.
  • Outstanding reputation. We have won more awards for customer service and accountancy excellence than any other firm in our market, including: Best Accountant for Contractors, Accountant of the Year and Best Professional Service Team to name just a few.
  • All inclusive low cost fixed fee accountancy package which includes completion of accounts*, payroll bureau, dividends and corporation tax computations, personal taxation, free bookkeeping software, your own dedicated accountant* and all company returns for a fixed fee starting from £120 plus VAT per month. Check our packages for more detail.

If you have any questions about contracting or would like any further advice please call our new client services helpdesk on 01442 275789 or email: janice@sjdaccountancy.com. Our new client services helpdesk is open Monday to Friday (8am to 6pm).

Appoint SJD Accountancy and never worry about your tax or accountancy affairs again.

Form your own Limited company with SJD - our same day online company formation service includes company bank account set up, VAT/PAYE registration and advice on optimum share structure. 

You may also find the following pages, guides and case studies useful:

*If you would like us to complete your company year end accounts we simply ask that you have been a client of SJD for one year or have made 12 monthly payments. All accountants are part or fully qualified.