Contractor Accountants

Choosing a contractor accountant can seem like an impossible task. It’s so hard to know what and who to believe, companies make such claims and of course they all position their company’s strengths as the most important things to look for. For example, a company with only one office in the South of the country isn’t likely to suggest to a prospect client in the North that being able to meet with your accountant is a major benefit. Or a company that uses a call centre instead of dedicated accountants isn't likely to say 'well of course it's best for you to have your own accountant rather than speak to somebody in a call centre who has no idea about you or your business goals'. 

Can you meet your contractor accountant?

Tax is complicated! Sure you could manage your tax affairs both personal and corporate over the telephone or online but, and it is a big but, what happens if you need to discuss something sensitive or complicated face to face? Approximately 50% of SJD Accountancy's 15,000 contractor clients meet up with their own dedicated accountant at least once during the time they are with us - you can meet your SJD accountant in any office across the UK

Do you get your own dedicated accountant?

You want a dedicated accountant or tax expert not an account manager, a support team or even a partner. You want somebody who you can speak to, email, meet and who has the time to learn all about you and understand what your business and personal goals are and you will only get this from a dedicated accountant or tax expert. The same goes for using an online only system, which we cover a little later on, online systems can be great but you still ideally need your own accountant to discuss your business plans with.  

Is the company established and are they contractor accountant specialists?

Obviously the longer and more experienced the better.

How much do they charge?

Most charge fixed fees and charge similar prices give or take a few pounds, it is worth making sure there are no entry or exit fees and that their fees aren’t linked to how much you earn. Also make sure they will cover your personal taxation as well, if not how much do they charge extra for this? SJD Accountancy offer an all inclusive fixed fee package for contractors, for more information visit our fees page. 

Are they IR35 experts?

Tax is a very broad subject with a multitude of disciplines, so it makes sense to appoint a contractor accountant with a long history of IR35 experience. 

SJD are one of a few firms in the UK who advise IPSE on IR35 and so are well qualified to give you the correct advice. For more information on IR35 download SJD’s Plain English Guide to IR35.  

Small or large company?

Nobody wants to discuss their personal and business tax affairs with a large faceless organisation. However, most people would like the backing, credibility, reputation and a general secure feeling of a large reputable company. You can get the personal 1-2-1 service of a small company simply by choosing a large company where you get your own dedicated accountant, this way you get the best of both worlds.

Online or offline bookkeeping?

Actually it makes little difference. The most important part is the delivery and support you receive.

It’s doubtful that you’ll be completing your bookkeeping whilst on the train or grabbing a coffee in the local coffee shop, you’ll probably end up doing it at home where you can spread your receipts out, so it doesn’t really matter if it’s on or offline. The most important things is that it’s simple to complete and you can ask your accountant to check it for you after.

One thing to consider with online systems is what happens if you wish to leave, if there is a dispute or the online provider goes bankrupt? Unlike simple offline bookkeeping spreadsheets you hold all your own data, whereas with an online system your data is held centrally, which means your account could be suspended or even closed without your knowledge or permission. For example - What happens if you are dissatisfied with the service and wish to leave? How do you retrieve your data if the online provider closes your account? Many online systems providers will close your account if you stop paying them making it rather difficult to access past financial data that you've uploaded.

It's a good idea to check that you can back-up your data locally, plus find out what would happen to your data if you decided to leave.

Third party references - are their awards worth anything or did they just buy them?

There is a growing trend for companies to have an array of meaningless awards and accreditations on their website to help add credibility. However, it is always best to do your research and actually establish what the award is for and who has provided it. Is it a professional body or a highly regarded third party source? Or is it yet another website that simply sells awards to the highest bidder with the UK’s top, UK’s Best, UK’s leading XXX company changing hands each week? 

SJD have won more awards for customer service and accountancy excellence than any other firm in their market, these are from some of the most established industry bodies, including; Accountancy Age, Contractor UK, The Sunday Times, National Customer Service Awards, National Business Awards, Best Companies Accrediation and the Institute of Customer Service, to name just a few. For a full list of SJD Accountancys awards and accreditations click here.  

There are lots of other questions you could ask to establish the credentials of your accountant however these are a few key ones.

You may find the following guides useful:

To appoint SJD Accountancy as your accountants, the quickest and easiest way to do so is by completing our Client Agreement Form.

If you would like to know more about how contracting works, forming a limited company or just want to have a chat about tax or going limited, please don't hesitate to contact a member of our New Business Team on 01442 275789 or email:

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