Choosing a Contractor Accountant
Most people become contractors because it gives them greater flexibility, increases their earning potential and allows them to be more tax-efficient. They generally don’t do it to undertake additional administration and accountancy tasks. So getting a good contractor accountant can help you achieve the benefits without the extra work.
Before setting out to choose a contractor accountant, it’s best to spend some time determining what you want so you can better make an informed choice. Decide:
- the particular services you need
- what aspects you can handle yourself
- the amount you’re prepared to pay
- how you need to contact your accountant — by telephone, email or face-to-face.
Be aware that it’s your responsibility to ensure accurate records are kept and the correct taxation is paid when due, so take on an accountant who will help you fulfil your responsibilities.
Make the Choice
A good accountant can be an asset to your business and help you operate in the most tax-efficient and cost-effective manner. So it’s worthwhile spending time choosing the correct one by considering specific criteria.
- Cost. Whilst you shouldn’t necessarily go for the cheapest offer, you need to know what you’ll be expected to pay for services and what’s included in the cost. As a minimum, you should get annual accounts and tax returns prepared but may also require payroll, VAT returns and other services. Check for extra costs and what’s provided to get a total idea for comparison.
- Experience. Because of the specialised nature of contracting, you probably won’t be looking just at small, local accountants. They need to have specialist contractor knowledge, such as on IR35 issues and managed service company legislation, as well as providing tax saving advice. Ask questions to make sure they know what they’re talking about.
- Size. Large companies will have more resources and a wide range of skills while smaller ones may offer a more personal service that’s tailored to your specific needs, although they may struggle to cope at busy times. Your choice may be a compromise between the two.
- Suitability. Ensure the accountants have appropriate professional qualifications (Institute of Chartered Accountants, Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and check who will be responsible for you. Often you’ll deal with partners initially but may then have your work undertaken by unqualified staff. If possible, speak to existing contractor clients and find out how quickly and efficiently everything is dealt with.
Be Prepared to Change
Although the ideal situation is to choose an accountant you’ll then use for many years, don’t be afraid to change if you think you’re not being provided with a good service. It will be worth the effort because a good accountant can save you a lot of time and money. Nevertheless, it will be a hassle even though your old accountant is obliged to pass on your records, so choose wisely in the first place — Phoenix Cloud Accounting is a specialist contractor accountant and well worth consideration.
Our approach is different: we proactively manage your accounts for a fraction of the cost of more traditional accounts, and we use modern technology and innovation to ensure the best possible service and results. All account preparation and submission are overseen be ACCA accountants. Why not contact us for a free evaluation and demonstration?