Online Accountants – And Why You Shouldn’t Use Them

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An online accountant is a piece of software, not an accountant.

Tax is complicated, evident in the 100+ pages of HMRCs expenses guide. It’s no wonder having your own dedicated accountant that you can call and meet face to face is so important, and it’s one of the main reasons our 15 000+ contractor clients chose SJD Accountancy in the first place.

Having a dedicated accountant means you have access to discuss detailed tax planning, efficient ways to manage your company, reviews of your personal and business goals along with answering the 101 questions you may have about tax.

We believe 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. We offer our support 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, especially not with a non-specialist support team based in a remote location of the country.

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 option. 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. All of this is done to as a cost-saving exercise, which detracts from offering a more personal service.

Imagine a situation where you’re not sure which expenses you can claim. You need to speak to someone who’s clued up, or perhaps even meet up with them face to face so you have a better understanding going forward.

If you’ve subscribed to an online accountant, you may have the option to reach out via live chat on their website. This may not provide you with the comprehensive answers you need, so you try to call in. Routed to a call centre, the agent you get through to is not familiar with your specific business and may not provide you with the most tailored advice on the way forward. You may also have a follow up question that you forgot to mention on the phone – but calling back in means you’ll probably get routed to an entirely different agent.

With all the hassle of this process and perhaps not even receiving the advice you needed, you might ask yourself if paying a bit less each month really is worth it.

Don’t get us wrong, online services for certain things work really well, such as: banking, buying books, DVDs, ordering your shopping etc., but when it comes to professional services, an exclusively-online service may not be the best option.

Tax is complicated and chatting things over with your own dedicated accountant or meeting up with a tax expert 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. 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.
  • Offices across the UK – with regional offices and meeting locations up and down the country, help is never far away if you need it.

Contact SJD Accountancy

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.

If you’re a contractor looking for personalised service with someone you can trust – make sure you opt for a person, not an online accountant. We’ve been providing expert accountancy advice and helping contractors to focus on doing what they do best since 1992.

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