Whether you’re a new contractor or you’ve been contracting for years, choosing a contractor accountant can seem quite daunting. With the needs of each limited company being unique, there’s no one-size-fits-all checklist of requirements, so just how do you make sure you choose the right accountant? Below, we’ve listed a few things you may want to keep in mind.
Can you meet your contractor accountant?
We may live in a digital world where many of our conversations happen online, but what about when only face to face will do? Tax can be complicated, and sometimes delicate issues are best discussed in person.
If this kind of personal service is important to you then look out for a contractor accountancy firm who offer face to face meetings with your accountant.
We give our clients that choice. Meet up with your own dedicated accountant whenever you need to in a number offices across the UK.
Do you get your own dedicated accountant?
Being passed from person to person is never a good experience, so ensuring you have a dedicated accountant who understands you and your business is important. If you want someone who you can get to know and who can get to know you – and your business – then make sure you choose an accountancy firm where you are assigned a dedicated accountant.
How much do they charge?
When you work for yourself, keeping an eye on your outgoings is paramount, so choosing an accountant with fixed fees can be a great way of ensuring you don’t have any nasty surprises when tax return time comes around. Take a look at what their packages include and what extras you would need to pay for in advance. At SJD Accountancy we offer three fixed fee accountancy packages for contractors. Take a look at our accountancy package page for more information.
Are they IR35 experts?
As a contractor, it makes sense to appoint a specialist contractor accountant with a history of IR35 experience. The IR35 legislation considers a number of factors when looking at your contract so the accountant you choose needs to be well versed in navigating this legislation. For more information visit our IR35 Resources section.
Should I choose a small or large accounting company?
It’s entirely up to you what kind of accountancy firm you choose. Opting for a large firm where you are assigned a dedicated accountant means that you can get the best of both worlds; a personal 1-2-1 service from your dedicated accountant with the reputation of a large accounting firm.
Choose SJD Accountancy
We’ve been providing expert accountancy advice and helping contractors to focus on doing what they do best since 1992.
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Check reviews and references
You wouldn’t eat at a restaurant without checking reviews first, and we’re sure that you wouldn’t appoint an accountant either. It’s always worth looking at the Trustpilot or Google reviews of any potential accountant to see what existing clients have to say about the service they offer. It’s also worth asking any contractor connections you have in your network for any recommendations or if they have any experience working with any of the accountancy firms on your shortlist.
Supporting contractors across the UK since 1992.
We are deemed IPSE Accredited Accountants, are fully MSC compliant and are the only national specialist firm of accountants with offices across the UK. SJD also have 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, so you know you’re in good hands when you appoint us.
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Dealing with George Fryer, he was easily able to assist me with something I’ve been trying to get across the line for around a year now. Would recommend!!
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One of the most daunting things when contracting through your own Limited company can be getting an accountant. At first glance it’s easy; you go down to your local high street accountant who quotes you anything from £1,000 – £2,000 plus VAT to do your end of year accounts for you and you’re covered. However, this probably won’t include VAT returns, personal tax or your payroll.
However, throughout the year you may have accountancy and tax related queries and questions for your accountant – you may need to call them for some bespoke advice. Each time you call your accountant, you’re likely to be charged, so by the end of the year you could be looking at a bill exceeding £3,000. It’s no surprise then that most contractors and small business owners soon stop calling their accountant and push their tax returns to the back of the drawer.
So it makes sound business sense to appoint a good accountant who is right for you. Not only will they be able to help with initial set-up steps such as forming your limited company, they will also be able to advise you on a myriad of complex financial issues, and ultimately to make sure that you keep as much of your hard earned turnover as you can. You’ll have enough on your plate with running your business, and the last thing you need to worry about is missing a tax deadline, making sure that your tax submission is accurate, or missing out on any opportunity to maximise your tax allowances.
Factors to consider
You could be forgiven for thinking that it doesn’t really matter which accountant you choose as they are all the same, providing that they are qualified. But this is definitely not the case. For example, it makes no sense to choose an accountancy firm who predominantly provides services to larger businesses, and may consequently not understand the needs of a smaller company such as yours, or even have much time for you. In this situation, you may well find yourself being a very small fish in a very big pond.
The UK tax system is complicated. To give you an idea, the HM Revenue and Customs Expenses Policy booklet is over 100 pages long, so just imagine what the corporation tax laws look like. With this in mind, it makes sense to have a dedicated tax advisor who you can pick up the phone to, or email when you need an answer to a question – without worrying that they are charging you for every minute, or that you are wasting their time asking what might appear, to them, to be ‘simple questions’. This will give you a certain level of comfort and reassurance to know that if you don’t understand something, or if you have any concerns, you can talk to ‘your’ accountant anytime you like. After all it’s you and your company, not them, that will be personally liable if anything goes wrong!