Online Accountants - And why you shouldn't use them!

Let's be clear, an online accountant is a piece of software not an accountant.

Tax is complicated, even HMRC's expenses guide is over 100 pages. Therefore it's no wonder having your own dedicated accountant that you can call and meet face to face is so important. 

Having their own dedicated accountant is one of the main reasons clients choose SJD Accountancy in the first place. Having such a dedicated and personal service provides them with somebody who they can discuss detailed tax planning, efficient ways to manage their company, reviews of their personal and business goals along with answering the 101 different questions they have a about tax. 

We believe that the only way to provide such a personal service is by having offices across the UK and being there for our clients when they need us, whether that be via email, over the telephone or face to face meetings. It isn't possible to deliver this level of service over an online accounting system with a support team based in one location of the country.

This is of course pretty obvious - How can you possibly deliver a personal accountancy service purely online? The subject is just far too complicated.

Beware of the online accountant!

As a contractor, you may think that completing your accounts through a cheap online scheme is the most efficient and cost effective way forward. There are some very inexpensive deals out there that can look tempting.

Online accountants and other online based services like to keep costs down, which is often one of the drivers behind going online in the first place. As you would expect, being solely online is far less expensive than having offices across the UK or employing tax experts and accountants who can meet with their clients.

Online accountants primarily offer a web based piece of software where you, the contractor, will need to fill out and update your accounting details. In terms of service, you’re usually offered email support, live chat and sometimes telephone calls into a call centre, where you can speak with a support team i.e. not the same person every time. All of this is done to reduce costs as much as possible rather than place a focus on offering a more personal service.

Imagine you’ve got some problems with your accounts – you’re not sure which expenses to claim and need to chat to someone or, even better, talk things through face to face. You try emailing them but this doesn't help, you're still confused. You try the live chat on their website but the responses you get don’t quite clear up the issue. You finally try calling, but because the person on the other end of the telephone doesn't know you or anything about how you would like to operate your company you're not getting the clear and concise information you are looking for. Paying a little bit less a month may not sound quite so appealing now.

Don’t get us wrong, online services for certain things work really well, such as: banking, buying books, dvd’s, ordering your shopping etc but when it comes to professional services we’re just not sure. Tax is complicated and chatting things over with your own dedicated accountant or meeting up with a tax epert is sometimes the only way to truly answer your questions and also reassure you that your tax affairs are being managed by a professional.

With a fixed fee personal service at SJD all clients get:

  • Unlimited face to face meetings - Tax is complicated which is why we offer everyone face to face meetings across the UK.
  • Your own dedicated accountant - No call centres, no outsourcing, no press one for this or two for that. Telephone, email or meet your own dedicated accountant*.
  • Our Customer Promise. Respond to any question sent to your accountant or any dedicated department within 24 hours.  If we need more time, we will update you as soon as we can and we promise to keep you informed of the progress we are making in answering your question.
  • Someone you trust to take care of your accounts with no worries about unpaid taxes
  • Specialised tax advice for your industry
  • Outstanding reputation. We have won more awards for customer service and accountancy excellence than any other firm in our market.

All of the above for a low cost fixed fee which includes completion of accounts*, payroll bureau, dividends and corporation tax computations, personal taxation, free bookkeeping software, unlimited access to 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.

The term ‘you get what you pay for’ couldn’t be truer. So if you’re a contractor looking for a personalised service with someone you can trust make sure you opt for a personal not an online accountant.

Special update: If you're thinking of subscribing to specialist online bookkeeping software you might like to read our new guides to 'online accounting software' and 'Contract Accounting Software', we're sure you'll find it most interesting.

If you’re interested in the savings you could make to maximise your earnings, have a look at some of these pages

Appoint SJD Accountancy and never worry about your tax affairs again!

If you have any question about contracting or would like any further advice please call our New Business Team on 01442 275789 or email