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Thinking about how to choose the best accountant is not just about finding someone with exceptional knowledge of accounting practices. The relationship between you and your accountant can also have an impact on the success of your financial wellbeing.

As a self-employed contractor, a specialist accountancy firm will be able to help with your professional finances. You may even have begun trading through a limited company, but an accountant specialising in the field will be able to help potentially maximise your take-home pay.

Contracting can be stressful and you don’t want to have to learn years worth of accountancy techniques just to ensure you maximise your income. You are probably not wanting to deal with the accountancy admin beyond some of the fundamental business financial figures either.

Luckily, this is something that a specialist accountant can manage for you for a monthly fee, helping you maximise your income and reduce the administrative burden of compiling your accounts. This may even be something you are already doing. However, with all of the available choices in the market, finding an accountant that best fits your needs may feel like an overwhelming task. So, we’ve put together some questions to ask yourself that could help objectively find the best contractor accountancy firm for your limited company.

Do they understand your needs?

This could be an easy trap to fall into. There are so many accountancy service providers you could choose from and a great number who would likely be happy to take care of your business accountancy needs. Your needs as a contractor are specific and choosing an accountant without significant experience or knowledge of contractor accounting may not be the most suitable for you. You want a specialist contractor accountant who has a wealth of experience helping other individuals and businesses just like yours to ensure you maximise your take-home pay.

A specialist contractor accountant will also likely understand the significance of key legislation that can have an impact on your take-home pay, such as IR35. And their awareness of such compliance issues means that they may also have good contacts with individuals and companies that can provide suitable legal advice in these areas.

What additional services do they include?

On the face of it, this should be an easy question to answer as many firms will advertise what they offer on their websites or at the very least when you call. This can help you decide if they meet your expected requirements before you make a decision. You will be able to assess this for yourself and compare between companies. There are a number of standard services you would expect from your accountant, but some additional perks you could look out for are:

  • Do they provide you with a dedicated accountant?
  • Will you receive support when you need it?
  • Will you get a same day response?
  • Is the package inclusive of bookkeeping/accountancy software?

Cost

You certainly don’t want to compromise on paying for an excellent accountant, as the difference between a good and bad accountant could cost you in the long term. At the same time, you want to ensure you are getting a fair price for the services you are receiving. There may be different services included in a monthly package from different service providers. It is, therefore, useful to assess each package and determine its value. This could again be a very objective measure for you to directly compare different accountancy firms and their offerings, but it is best to take into account your answers to the other questions provided here to develop an overall view of the best package for your needs.

Technology

Although you might like a face-to-face meeting now and again, you may be too busy for that on a regular basis. This means that it could be easier for you to update your bookkeeping online and save any receipts to a cloud-based service without having to save physical copies, such as FreeAgent. Accounting software can now streamline the process of keeping your cashbook up to date and enable you to track your expenses more easily. You ideally want an accountancy firm that provides some form of modern online/mobile accounting facility, as these will likely make things much more convenient for you. Not only this, but they will help ensure your accountant has all the necessary files and pieces of data on hand when generating financial documents.

As part of our all-inclusive accountancy package, we offer access to FreeAgent which is trusted by over 60,000 small businesses.

Relationships

Just as a great accountant can understand your specific needs and give tailored advice and services, your experience could also be as equally negative if you have an accountant who doesn’t communicate well and that you just don’t seem to align with. You want someone who understands your needs, has the expertise to help you and who you can trust to get the job done, making sure any decision is in your best interest. After all, they will be helping you with legally required documents that need to be correct so a trusting relationship with your accountant is crucial.

Whether you are a new contractor or have had an accountant for many years and are just looking to switch, remember to take your time to understand exactly what you want from your accountant and to weigh up the options before making a decision.

At Gorilla Accounting, we offer our all-inclusive accountancy package for just £85 + vat per month. For more information, get in touch with our New Business team by calling 0330 024 0406 or email info@gorillaaccounting.com.

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