What to Look for When Choosing Contractor Accountants
Once you have decided that the best thing for your career is to become self-employed, it’s time to choose a specialist accountant who understands your needs and who can help you to manage your tax affairs in the most efficient manner.
The right accountant can be an incredibly valuable asset, since they will save you time and money, and will also be available to answer any of your questions and provide specialist advice. So, this choice is important and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
But do you know what to look for when choosing contractors accountants?
Ensure They Understand You
One of the most important things to consider is selecting an accountant or accountancy firm that understands contractor needs.
They have to be able to give you expert IR35 advice, for instance, since this can dramatically impact your take-home pay if you’re found to be within this intermediaries legislation; accountants who don’t have contractor-specific knowledge will not be able to help you with issues such as these.
In addition, rules and regulations on self-employment are constantly changing, so your accountant needs to keep up to date with the latest changes. After all, as a contractor, it’s your responsibility to manage your finances properly so, if you’re advised wrongly or given incorrect information, HMRC or Companies House will not accept this as an excuse. You’ll still be liable to pay penalties or late fees.
Furthermore, you’ll want to choose someone who understands your specialist sector as well, which means they get the type of work you do and are able to help you make the most of it. Because they possess knowledge of your industry, you can be confident your finances are being handled with its specific demands and requirements in mind.
Pick a Qualified Accountant
When hiring an accountant, make sure you find a professional qualified to do the job. You need to be able to trust your accountant, so don’t hesitate to ask if they’re qualified, since this will go a long way to prove that they’re the right choice for you.
Peace of mind is crucial when running your business, as you don’t want to be worried about whether your accounts are being handled properly. As we mentioned, you will be the one held responsible by HMRC if something happens, so make sure that you choose a qualified accountant who can offer you the best accounting for contractors.
Also, an accountant’s reputation is important, as it helps you to find a professional you can trust. Gorilla Accounting recently won the Bolton News Business Award for Customer Excellence 2019 and we’re also the number one ranked accountancy firm on Trustpilot. If you’re our client, we guarantee a same-day reply to any of your questions if you contact us before 3pm.
Know What’s Included in the Fee
The only way to be sure you’re getting value for your money is to be aware of what you get with your contractor accountant. The last thing you want is to partner up with someone only to find out they don’t offer a specific service for the fee you signed up for. When searching for the perfect contractor accountant for you, therefore, always ensure that you understand what you’re paying for.
If you require an accountant that will offer specialist advice, that can help you to submit your VAT returns, will help with HMRC record checks or assist with share issues, make sure to search for an individual or firm who can do this for you for the right charge.
What’s more, you should also know whether you’re paying more than you should. Find out if there are any additional costs, be it annually or on a monthly basis (such as a fee for submitting your tax returns), which will help you to determine if they’re the right accountants for the job.
We’re transparent in everything we do, as you can see in our About Gorilla Accounting page, where you can find a breakdown of our services, which include:
- 24/7 access to our online bookkeeping tool
- Tax planning advice that will maximise your tax efficiency
- Preparing and submitting your corporation tax return (as well as your quarterly VAT returns)
- Preparing your self-assessment tax return
- Assisting you with HMRC records checks
We’ll also ensure that your documentation is delivered correctly and in a timely fashion, meaning you won’t have to worry about running into problems with HMRC.
While we offer a wealth of services included under our accountancy packages, we also provide services for additional charges. For example, we charge £50 + VAT to incorporate a company. Please don’t hesitate to send us a general enquiry with any questions you may have about our services and additional costs.
How Can You Contact Your Accountant?
Another important consideration you’ll want to keep in mind is whether you can meet up with your accountant if you so wish. While most things, including accountancy, can be sorted online, taxes remain a complicated matter, so you may want to meet face-to-face to discuss delicate subjects or to understand the matter in full.
At Gorilla Accounting, you don’t have to wonder – you can get in touch with us in any way that you see fit so, if calling us or emailing us is more convenient for you, we’re more than happy to hear from you this way. Likewise, we can Skype or meet in person as well. We believe it’s important to have options, which is why we leave it up to you.
You are busy running your operations and growing your business, so we ensure that you can contact us on your own terms; this way, you don’t have to disrupt your day-to-day if you don’t want to, since we can answer your queries even if you’re in the middle of something important.
Will You Have Your Very Own Dedicated Accountant?
Unlike Gorilla, some accountancy firms don’t offer you a dedicated accountant. This means that your finances are at risk of being passed from person to person, which is not only poor customer service, but it also prevents you from having someone there who completely understands your business and can help you at any given moment’s notice.
So, before choosing your contractor accountant, be absolutely certain that you will have access to your own dedicated accountant.
Find Out Whether the Accountant Embraces Technology
In today’s digital world, enjoying the benefits of an online accounting software is a must, since it makes the lives of contractors and freelancers so much easier. Choose contractor accountants that embrace technology and don’t rely on spreadsheets to handle your finances – this is especially important with the introduction of Making Tax Digital, which requires contractors to use software compliant with the legislation.
Cloud-based accounting has grown in popularity in recent years and for good reason. Tools like FreeAgent bookkeeping software are incredibly safe (FreeAgent encrypts your information with the latest technology and uses secure data centres) and allow you access your data from anywhere and from any device, be it a laptop, tablet or mobile phone.
We offer FreeAgent at Gorilla Accounting, since this sophisticated accounting software will easily track your expenses and invoices, the time spent on each client, your bank details, your transactions information, and so much more.
Learn Whether They Offer Umbrella Services
As a contractor, you may want to operate through an umbrella company. Maybe you’re just starting out and wish to dip your toes in the self-employed world to find out whether it’s the right career path for you or, perhaps, you don’t want the hassle of having to deal with the paperwork that comes with incorporating a company.
Whatever your reason for choosing this type of operating structure for your business, it’s vital that you choose an accountant who will provide you with the services you require. In addition, make sure that you have the flexibility to switch business structures down the line if you desire.
Gorilla Accounting provide umbrella services for contractors in our vast repertoire, which will save you time, money and hassle.
Does the Accountant Understand IR35?
As mentioned above, the contractor accountant you choose needs to know everything there is to know about this key legislation. With IR35 set to be rolled out to the private sector in 2020, finding an accountant who understands the impact the legislation can have on your livelihood is important. A specialist accountant has to know how to tax plan and budget with IR35 in mind as well.
It’s not enough to just be able to tell you whether you’re inside IR35 or not.
You also want someone who can help you navigate the intricacies of this legislation if you come under HMRC investigation, for example. Not all accountants will be knowledgeable on this key piece of legislation, so don’t settle for anything less than someone who can actually help you.
Get Advice on Your Pension
Self-employed individuals wonder (and worry) about their futures, especially when it comes to their pension funds. Putting money away for when you retire is essential when you own a limited company, if you’re a sole trader or if you operate through an umbrella company.
So, the right accountant will be able to tell you how you should pay into your pension pot; from making choices that will reduce your tax bill to receiving advice which takes your circumstances into consideration, ensure you’re searching for the best contractor accountants for your business – and your future.
Overview of What to Consider When Looking for an Accountant
In summary, when you’re searching for the right accountant for your business, there are several things you need to keep in mind when comparing between contractor accountants. After browsing their websites and researching their reputation, get in touch with the accountants or accountancy firms and find the answer to the following questions:
- Do the accountants work with contractors and freelancers?
- Are they experienced in your sector?
- How much do they charge and what is it included in their accountancy packages?
- Are there any additional fees to consider?
- What makes them stand out when it comes to other accountants?
- Will you be provided with a point of contact?
- Are they up to date with the latest legislation?
- Do they have a good reputation?
- Do they use an online accounting tool?
Whether you’re looking for limited company accountants or sole trader accountants, we can help. Gorilla Accounting offer a wide range of services for contractors and freelancers in different sectors, so don’t hesitate to ask us any questions – we’re happy to answer and put your mind at ease.
In the meantime, you can use our contractor tax calculator, which will help you figure out your take-home pay.