How to Choose the Right Small Business Accountant in the UK: A Step-by-Step Guide

Top Tips for Choosing a Help Accountant

Once you’ve chosen, it’s time to contract a bookkeeper for accountant. The following step is to choose which bookkeeper to enlist.

It’s imperative to require the time to do this carefully, and there are a number of things you’ll want to consider beginning with. You’ll have to think about issues just like the position of the bookkeeper, the assignment of workload, and the sort of bookkeeping program you will be utilizing. 

Consider how much you will have to pay the bookkeeper and whether he can help you lower your business taxes.

Your company will benefit from having an experienced and knowledgeable person who handles one of the most important areas of your business: your finances. The right person will save you time and money year after year. So here are some things to consider when choosing an accountant.

Ask yourself if position matters

In the past, it was important to have your company’s accountant nearby. But today, more and more companies are collaborating online, using cloud-based technology to manage their business. This means less location of a problem. With cloud accounting, you and your accountant can simultaneously view identical data in real-time, no matter where you are.

Deciding where to find your accountant really depends on what is best for your business. Depending on how you want to handle your finances, your accountant can literally work anywhere in the world. 

For example, if you want to collaborate via email, phone call, video conferencing, or secure accounting software, you might be in New York, and they might be in London. While your accountant can be anywhere in the world, you don’t have to compromise based on location. You might find someone who really understands the specifics of your business or industry.

On the other hand, you will favor face-to-face contact and discover it is supportive to have somebody who can go with you to trade meetings. If so, you’ll have to restrict your look to bookkeepers who work adjacent or are willing to visit your office from time to time.

Wherever they are, make beyond any doubt, they are recognizable with the assessed laws that apply to your trade. 

Choose a Certified or Notarized Accountant

For peace of mind, choose an accountant who is regulated by a professional or government-accredited body. Depending on the country you are in, this could be:

  • Accountant
  • Certified Accountant
  • member of the International Association of Accountants
  • member of the Institute of Financial Accounting
  • Chartered Accountants (CAs) are highly qualified professionals who have completed further education at the diploma level as well as work experience and a professional competency program.

An experienced and knowledgeable accountant can add value to your business right from the start. If you want your business to grow, you should hire a professional accountant sooner rather than later.

Of course, it is possible to use an unlicensed accountant – or those without an equivalent qualification – for bookkeeping, tax returns, or general financial management. However, you will almost certainly need these higher qualifications if you take out a loan or get audited. 

Find an accountant with the right expertise.

You will need someone with experience preparing tax returns and financial documents for businesses similar in size and revenue to yours. If your business uses cloud-based software for the majority of its business, you’ll probably need someone familiar with cloud computing.

It’s even better if they’ve worked with companies in similar market sectors to yours, as that will help them understand your unique business needs. You might want to check if they have larger customers. If they do, that’s a good sign because you’ll know they’ll be able to meet your growing needs over time. You can also ask them to provide a customer list detailing the total revenue and number of employees for each company. Find out how their customers have grown and evolved over the years to find out if they can handle your business’s changing needs.

Talk to the government and trade associations.

Small businesses are the engine of many countries economies. For this reason, governments want to encourage their development.

As a small business owner, take advantage of the available network of business advisors to help you make decisions like choosing the right accountant. There are often voluntary organizations and local chambers of commerce available to advise you as well. Use them because they are there to help you, and their advice is usually free.

They can also be useful places to connect and chat with other business owners. Do this a few times, and you may find that an accountant is recommended to you by other business owners. It can at least help you narrow down the list of people who can be interviewed. 

Access your social network.

When looking for an accountant, the ideal candidate could be right in front of you. Start by asking a friend or family member who owns a small business if they would recommend their accountant. If true, why? And if not, why not? The answers to both questions can be useful later when you come to interview the candidate. 

Remember that choosing an accountant can be a personal decision. Therefore, what works for your best friend’s PR activities may not work for your manufacturing business. Also, consider differences in company structure. The best accountant for an individual entrepreneur may not be the best candidate for a company with ten employees.

Leverage your online connections.

While Facebook may not be the best place to post a request for an accounting recommendation (although it might not be the worst either), more business-focused networks can be helpful. LinkedIn is one of the biggest in the world, and if you already have a profile there, you can use it to find accountants recommended by others. 

Five ways to use your social media for more information.

Use LinkedIn or other online networks to dig a little deeper into each candidate’s journey and learn things like:

  • Who are they connected to? Do they have a strong network of experts?
  • How do they talk about their services? Are they enthusiastic and interested in their work?
  • Have they received recommendations from their customers? What do these recommendations really say?
  • What is their experience? How long have they been in business, and what have they done before?
  • What is their qualification? Is it an accountant, bookkeeper, financial advisor, or something else? 
  • Decide how to divide accounting work.

Accountants can handle all aspects of small business bookkeeping and bookkeeping. In most cases, you can pack your bills and receipts, put them everywhere, and they can do the rest. But that’s not always the best approach.

Accountants often charge by the hour, so letting them do simple data entry tasks isn’t the best use of their time — the time you’re paying for. So deal with the problem yourself and get more involved in the accounting process (if possible). This will help you better understand real-time expenses and income and anticipate potential problems.

For example, you might choose to enter basic accounting data in-house and then leave the work to your accountant. They can then handle more complex tasks like reconciling bank accounts, filling out tax returns, payroll, and calculating capital depreciation.

Good quality accounting software will allow you to easily get into your accounting process. This will simplify tasks like invoicing, automatically sending an invoice, and saving its content at the same time. And if your accounting software is cloud-based, you can give your accountant secure access to your accounts with the click of a button.

Find someone who actively saves you money

Some accountants will do more than manage your accounts and complete your tax returns, but the best accountants will be more proactive. So, before choosing an accountant, ask them what they can recommend to save your business money.

For example, what percentage of your operating expenses do they think you can deduct? If you’re an independent trader or consultant, can you offset a percentage of your phone bill, car bill, and maybe even rent or mortgage payments? What is the meaning of doing so? The Small Business Accountants must warn you of any pitfalls. For example, using your home as a business may result in taxes being charged on the home when you sell it!

Always remember that in most countries, there is a big difference between tax evasion (usually legal) and tax evasion (usually illegal). You need an accountant who knows the details of tax laws to be able to save you money legally, but not an accountant who goes overboard and risks running your business illegally.

Be very careful about this because eventually, you, the business owner, will have to pay the fine if you break the law. 

Learn accounting software to use

Accountants often have their own favorite accounting software. Chances are they’ve been within the trade for a long time and are commonplace with a specific brand of software.

This may be an issue. In case your company employs a distinctive sort of computer program, there’s a possibility of information-sharing issues. Whereas it is conceivable to send out and moment information within the right arrangement, it can be time-devouring and mistake inclined. There’s, moreover, the chance of your exceedingly delicate monetary data being examined as you send it back and forward, as mail is as secure as a postcard. 

So try to find an accountant who uses the same software as you. Or, that failure, a person is ready to do so. There’s no reason why they can’t use more than one type of accounting software for different clients. This is especially true if the software is easy to learn.  

Ideally, you agree to use industry-leading, easy-to-use accounting software and only exchange properly encrypted files. An even better option is to choose cloud-based collaborative accounting software with built-in encryption. This means you don’t have to worry about the risks of two-way data exchange.

Interview some candidates before deciding

As with anything else in life, don’t automatically accept the first offer you get. Organize everything so you can compare accounting options. Then it will be easier to determine which is best for your business.

An interview can be an effective way to see how likely you are to work with someone. And a series of interviews will not only allow you to better define the type of accountant you need but will also provide you with valuable free advice. It can even help you define your own business needs more clearly.

Always negotiate fees

There is no single, universal method that accountants use for invoicing. Some will charge by the hour, some will charge monthly, and some will charge as a percentage of your sales. As a small business owner, negotiation should be part of your skill set. If not, learn it and apply it here.

Be sure to get written quotes from all the accountants you interview, then go and compare them carefully. Consider a range of scenarios – the fee structure may make sense when your business is small but can become less attractive as it grows. Nothing is fixed. You can request a combined payment method or a revenue-based sliding scale, or any other option from a variety of possibilities. Your accountant may disagree with the fee structure you are proposing, but if you don’t ask, you’ll never know.

Background check

It’s important to talk to some of your potential accounting clients before signing the dotted line. There are professional services that you can use to help you, but if the accountant is genuine, chances are they will be happy to provide you with some contacts for referrals. This will help confirm some of the information your Small Business Accountant has given you. It will also allow you to hear directly about the accountant’s relationship with their other clients.

Be reasonable when contacting the referees. Don’t burden them with dozens of written questions to answer. A ten-minute phone call can tell you more about your potential accountant than a three-page form filled with bland written answers.  

Learn to use and trust your intuition

You run your own business, you have experience, and you have a pretty good idea of ​​what you’re doing. You also have the ability to get along well with people, as this is an important part of business success.

So use those skills. Intuition is just another word for the unconscious processing going on in our minds. It’s not magic – it’s a thought taking place below our level of conscious awareness. Used properly, it is a powerful business tool in itself.

When meeting an accountant for the first time, consider your intuition. Aside from reasonable ratings like location, price, experience, and references, ask yourself if you can trust this person with intimate details about your business. If you think you can work with them in the near future, that’s great.

But if your intuition tells you no, you should probably walk away. Your unconscious mind may have received all kinds of signals (such as stress in speech and body language) that it didn’t like. Intuition isn’t always right, but when it comes to an important choice like business accounting, don’t ignore it.

A good accountant will help your business grow

If all this feels more like a marriage than a business relationship, there’s a good reason for it! Your accountant will be intimately involved in the running of your business, so this is not a decision to be taken lightly. You will need someone you can trust, who has the necessary experience, and who will be there when you need them.

Good accountants help businesses grow, manage complex financial affairs, and provide advice on real business matters. This will be guaranteed to save you money in the short and long term. The best will be your partner in all but name – and as long as you choose wisely, you can’t go wrong. 

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