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This depends – which probably isn’t the answer you wanted. So, let’s delve a little deeper.

Accountants generally charge a fixed fee for fixed services or there will be a variable fee depending on the type of work completed for a given period. In the case of accounting services for contractors, many tend to have relatively basic accounting needs, but there’s the other end of the spectrum where some contractors may have more demanding needs.

Fixed Fee Structure

For contractors, many accountancy firms offer a package containing multiple services all under one fixed price. This fixed price can vary from as low as around £40 up to £300. This large variation is obviously something you want to look into deeper to ensure you are obtaining good value for money when choosing your accountant. The price can vary depending on the services offered, the size, reputation and location of the accountancy firm, and potentially the specialist knowledge held by a particular accountancy firm. It is therefore not a decision to rush into until you understand whether a firm has the correct services and expertise to understand your specific needs.

What services should you expect as a contractor for your monthly fee?

  • A dedicated accountant (some companies provide a client services employee to manage many clients and accounts)
  • Creation and submission of end of year accounts
  • Tax calculations
  • Advice on financial planning and efficiency
  • Self-assessment tax return
  • Vat returns (if applicable)
  • Payroll (if applicable)
  • HMRC and Companies house returns (if running through a company structure)
  • IR35 assessment (if applicable)

What should you look out for?

Specific knowledge and understanding

Contractors working in the public sector who have to take into account IR35 legislation need to ensure their accountant understands this area. Going to a mainstream accountant who doesn’t fully understand this or work with many contractors will likely be of less value to you than those who have worked with many contractors and who keep up to date with factors affecting the financials in your industry.

Hidden charges

You want to make sure that everything you need is covered under the fixed fee arrangement and that there aren’t additional charges added for services you use regularly. It is also worth checking whether your monthly fee has a minimum cancellation period or leaving charges before trapping yourself into an agreement.

Relationship with your accountant

This is often overlooked, but having a good relationship with your accountant can make your experience much smoother. You need to have a level of trust with your accountant as they will be advising you on important financial decisions and submitting accounts that are still your legal responsibility. Therefore, look to engage with your accountant before signing up for their accounting services to ensure that you can build a relationship with them.

Understand what you want

It could be advantageous to know whether you are after someone to simply take control so you can be as hands-free as possible with your accounting or whether you are more after professional advice on how to improve your income and ensure you are utilising all of your available allowances effectively or both. This will help you then chose a firm offering the correct accounting services for your needs without you needing to search around continuously, which can add stress and time to this area you may already not want to spend too much time on.

Whatever your needs, Gorilla Accounting are here to help you if you want to explore the available options. We have extensive experience with contractors working as sole traders, through umbrella companies and who use limited companies so you can trust we know what we’re doing, just like so many contractors already do. If you would like to learn more feel free to drop us a line at 0330 024 0406 or email us via info@gorillaaccounting.com.

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