woman at computer

Once you have decided the best thing for your career is to become self-employed, it’s time to choose a specialist accountant who understands your needs and can help you manage your tax affairs efficiently.

The right accountant can be an incredibly valuable asset since they will save you time and money, 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 when selecting an accountant or accountancy firm is ensuring they understand contractor needs.

For instance, they have to be able to give you expert IR35 advice 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 equipped 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; if you’re advised wrongly or given incorrect information, HMRC and Companies House will not accept this as an excuse. You’ll still be liable to pay penalties or late fees.

 

See if They Specialise in Your Area

You’ll want to choose someone who understands your specialist sector as well, which means they understand the type of work you do and can 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.

Gorilla Accounting works with clients with a range of backgrounds. As accountants for buy-to-let landlords, we can help you whether you own one property or have a diverse portfolio; we will also advise on the latest legislation, capital gains tax and even deliver a free finance mortgage review.

And, if you work in the construction industry, as another example, we’ll guide you through the ins and outs of financial and tax management whether you’re a company, partnership, or sole trader. As CIS accountants, we’ll even be able to support you regarding the Construction Industry Scheme, so you can have peace of mind and feel confident knowing you’re on top of everything.

 

Pick a Qualified Accountant

When hiring an accountant, make sure you find a professional qualified to do the job. You need 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 – 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 you choose a qualified accountant who can offer you the best accounting for contractors.

An accountant’s reputation is also important, as it helps you find a professional you can trust. Gorilla Accounting won the Bolton News Business Award for Customer Excellence 2019, and we’ve been ranked number 1 on Trustpilot many times since October 2017.

 

woman at laptop

 

Get References

One way to find the right accountant for your needs is to request references from your peers. Search around and compare experiences so that you’re making the best decision. Consider customer service, and make sure to select accountants who will listen to you and be on hand when you need them.

If you become a Gorilla Accounting client, we guarantee a same-day reply to any of your questions if you contact us before 3 pm – Perfect for when you need to make a decision quickly!

 

Know What’s Included in the Fee

The only way to ensure you’re getting value for your money is to know what services you’re getting 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 agreed with them. When searching for the perfect contractor accountant for you, always ensure that you understand what you’re paying for.

If you require an accountant that will offer specialist advice, help you submit your VAT returns, 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 cost.

What’s more, you should also know whether you’re paying more than you should. Find out if there are any additional annual or monthly costs (such as a fee for submitting your tax returns), which will help you 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 £10 + VAT per month if you wish to have a registered office address with us.

Simply send us a general enquiry with any questions you may have about our services and additional costs, and we’ll be happy to call you back.

 

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 understand the matter in full.

At Gorilla Accounting, you don’t have to wonder – you can get in touch with us in any way you see fit. 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 you can contact us on your 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.

 

woman at desktop

 

Will You Have Your Very Own Dedicated Accountant?

Unlike Gorilla, some accountancy firms don’t offer you a dedicated accountant, meaning your finances are at risk of being passed from person to person. Not only is this poor customer service, but it also prevents you from having someone there who thoroughly understands your business and can help you at any given moment’s notice.

So, before choosing your contractor accountant, be absolutely certain 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 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 a good reason. Tools like FreeAgent accounting software are incredibly safe (FreeAgent encrypts your information with the latest technology and uses secure data centres) and allow you to access your data from anywhere and from any device, be it a laptop, tablet, or mobile phone.

We offer FreeAgent at Gorilla Accounting. The sophisticated accounting software will easily track your expenses and invoices, time spent on each client, your bank details, your transactions information, and so much more.

 

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 essential. 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 regarding their pension funds. Putting money away for when you retire is essential when you own a limited company, and if you’re a sole trader – this means you should start your financial planning as soon as possible.

The right accountant will be able to tell you how you should pay into your pension pot. They should be able to confidently advise on making the right choices to help reduce your tax bill whilst always considering your personal circumstances. Ensure you’re searching for the best contractor accountants for your business – and your future.

What’s more, we’ve partnered with Penfold to help company directors and sole traders get the pension scheme that best works for them – so speak to us if you’d like to learn more about Penfold and how they can help you.

 

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Can They Help You with R&D?

A key part of many businesses is R&D. If this is part of your work, claiming research and development tax credit can help you save money. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve just set up your company or if you already have several years of trading experience – claiming R&D relief can benefit your business, so it’s something you should consider.

It’s important that you choose an accountant who can understand this and help you claim your investment back, even if the project you undertook failed. Only certain projects are eligible for this scheme; the project must make advances in science or technology and relate to your trade.

If you’re interested in claiming this relief, you may even claim an enhanced reduction in corporation tax or a cash credit of 14.5% of the claim. After all, according to the UK government, SME research and development relief allow you to deduct an extra 130% of your qualifying costs from your yearly profit, plus the standard 100% deduction, making it a total of 230% deduction. The government also says that you can claim a tax credit if your company is losing money – this claim is worth up to 14.5% of the “surrenderable loss”.

Your accountant should also help you figure out which costs to claim, including staff costs and software fees.

 

Check If They Work with Small Businesses

If you’re a start-up or small business, you’ll want to ensure that the accountant can actually help you. We’re small business accountants, so we understand the challenges unique to those just starting out and who need a helping hand.

With so much on your plate from running your business, the last thing you want to worry about is managing your accounts and taxes on top of everything else. Partnering with a specialist accountant who can advise and guide you every step of the way will take some of that pressure off and allow you to focus on growing your venture.

With Gorilla Accounting, you’ll have your own dedicated accountant, and we’ll even provide you with same-day responses to all your urgent queries. What’s more, you’ll benefit from unlimited support (via email, phone, video calls, and more) and a friendly team at your disposal whenever you need it.

 

Consider Additional Services

When you’re busy, every little thing helps. Having a wide range of services in the same place – like insurance, business banking, and mortgages, will save you time. When choosing a specialist accountant to help you grow your business and manage your finances, see if they provide additional perks.

For example, at Gorilla Accounting, we’ve forged strong relationships with several providers to deliver the services you need for your business. If you’re looking for contractors’ insurance – which is highly recommended if you’re the owner of a limited company – you don’t have to go far. Our Kingsbridge partners can provide you with the best professional indemnity cover, public liability, employers’ liability, and more.

This service helps you to safeguard your business while enjoying the peace of mind of knowing that, should anything happen, you don’t have to pay out of your own pocket.

You may also have wondered about business banking, especially when you’re starting your business or setting up your company. If you are a sole trader, you don’t have to have a business bank account. However, it is recommended to make things easier when submitting your self-assessment return and any other important documents.

If you own a limited company, you must have a separate account for your business – if you’re unsure which one is best for you, you’ll be happy to know we’ve partnered with Mettle, a free business account from Natwest, so you can keep costs down when you’re new to self-employment.

Gorilla Accounting can help you with your mortgage and even your life insurance, so speak to us to learn more about our partnerships.

 

man at computer

 

Choose a Transparent and Honest Accountant

Being able to trust your accountant is invaluable. It gives you the ability to put your finances out of your mind when running your day-to-day with the confidence that everything is going smoothly. When selecting the right accountant for you, make sure they are reputable, honest, and don’t charge you for services you don’t need.

This is how we can help you in many different ways. If you’re not ready for our full accountancy package yet, we can assist you with setting up your limited company only, for instance. We’re also self-assessment accountants, meaning we’ll do all the work for you to save you time and stress – and, of course, money, as our expert accountants make sure your returns are submitted correctly and on time.

 

Know When It’s Time to Change Accountants

If you’re not entirely happy with your current accountancy services, be it because you’re overpaying for their services, getting unexpected bills, or have mistakes in your accounts, it may be time to switch.

We have many years of experience with contracting and have helped many self-employed individuals set up and grow their ventures, and we can do a lot for yours too. Not only are you getting competitive prices, but also jargon-free accountancy, access to a cloud-based accounting software trusted by thousands, a dedicated accountant, and so much more.

Don’t settle for less if you’re not satisfied with your current firm, especially since switching accountants can end up saving you money, both in the short and in the long term.

If you’re looking to switch accountants today, we make the process easy and fast, so you can join Gorilla Accounting and benefit from the many services we offer.

 

Overview of What to Consider When Looking for an Accountant

In summary, if you’re searching for the right accountant for your business, there are several things you need to keep in mind when comparing 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 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?
  • Can they provide you with additional services for your business?
  • Do they have knowledge of specialist areas, such as IR35 and R&D?

Whether you’re looking for limited company accountants or sole trader accountants, we can help. Gorilla Accounting offers a wide range of services for contractors and freelancers in different sectors, so ask us any questions you may have – we’re happy to answer them 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.

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