It’s no secret that accountancy is a very competitive skill. There are as many services, it seems, as the contractors they seek to help. But knowing what to search for, and separating out those that can more closely match your demands, is essential to making a good investment.
Here, we guide you through the things that you should bear in mind when embarking on that contractor accountant search.
Find an accounts professional just for you
Heading to a team for advice is always useful. You get access to more than one point of view, and a larger pool of specialisms. Yet a one-on-one connection can be just as vital. Relying on someone you trust – who ‘gets’ you and your business and has a deep understanding of your historical data too – means you don’t have to worry about misunderstanding each other.
The service you choose should assign a single, dedicated person to your accounts from day one. They’ll be a source of trust, knowledge and commitment for as long as you need them. Our own Service Agreement outlines this, for example.
Discover if they truly are specialists
Any business can claim they are specialist, but whether or not they can live up to this title will remain to be seen. Determine if they actually are a specialist contractor accountant by asking specific questions. Give a problem you have and see if their solution is worthy.
On a similar note, some accountants will also say that they specialise in working with particular industries. You can check this by asking how they’ve helped contractors in your line of work. At Gorilla Accounting we help a wide range of sectors, from engineers and software developers to vets.
Perhaps you feel you don’t require a specialist contractor accountant, instead preferring one that’s local to you. However, it’s important to note that many high-street accountants didn’t know about the IR35 public sector reforms that occurred last year – a key development in ensuring contractor compliance.
Explore their contractor packages
No two contractor accountants are the same. They won’t have identical levels of service to begin with and may offer a wider range of benefits for a set price. It’s important to check what their packages contain and whether it has everything you need for your particular situation.
For instance, are there extra charges for end-of-year account reviews? Will help with VAT be an addition or central to the package? Will having anyone on payroll affect what packages you can have? Cross-check the provider’s model with what you want and how much you can afford.
Ensure they suit your operating structure
You’ll want to guarantee that your chosen accountant can continue to assist with your needs if there’s a change in your operating structure. The IR35 public sector reforms resulted in many contractors choosing to opt for the umbrella solution, even if they kept their limited company open also.
With changes to IR35 expected in the private sector in the coming years, it is anticipated that more will select this umbrella structure. Using the same provider for both this and your accountancy needs can streamline some of your business’ processes, so see if you can select one that offers both. If you’re in luck, they may provide the full house with accountancy for sole traders too, like we do at Gorilla Accounting.
Ask for an intro to insurance companies
You’re working with many new people, in countless new environments, where anything can happen. Insurance is a big part of covering yourself. And some accountants will know just who to recommend, after spending years in the industry.
It’s worth asking: is there an insurance network within the accountants’ contact book? Life insurance, negligence, sick pay and more can be brought together in a perfect deal that’ll see you through any situation.
Scout out their reviews
Many contractor accountants claim to be above the competition. However, it’s worth checking to see whether this is true. Case studies are useful, but they come from the accountants themselves: it’s hardly an unbiased view.
Head to sites such as Trustpilot.com instead. We have a 9.8 rating out of 10, ranking it the number one accounting company. That’s been aggregated (at the time of writing) from 172 users.
Check they’re forward-thinking
Making Tax Digital is due to come into force by 2020 – the accountant you choose needs to be prepared for it. They should be offering the latest bookkeeping software to ensure you can meet your digital obligations, and they need to be doing this now so that you’ll find it effortless by the time the digitalisation of tax becomes mandatory.
Cloud accounting software also allows you to maintain full visibility over your finances in real time. This means you can track the tax owed and keep on top of your cash flow. At Gorilla Accounting we use the FreeAgent tool, which you can access on the go to save you time with your accounting and tax duties.
Choosing the right contract accountant
With these factors considered in your search for the perfect contractor accountant, you should be able to find one that is more than suitable for your needs.
At Gorilla Accounting we can deal with the entire A to Z of your accounting and tax requirements. As well as giving you 24/7 access to trustworthy cloud bookkeeping software at no extra cost, our inclusive package provides you with tax planning advice, quarterly reviews of your bookkeeping data, and preparation and submission of key accounting documents like the Self Assessment tax return.
It’s been tailored using contractors’ feedback, so you can be sure that you’ll receive the most suitable service. Upon signing up with us, you’ll be greeted by a friendly, proactive and experienced team, offering unlimited support.
Our advisors are on hand to walk you through all the aspects of our contractor accountancy services, so call or message our team today.