A good adviser can make a huge difference to a business, especially if you’re just starting out. And for many businesses, an accountant is much more than someone who does the books and files forms with HMRC. From the beginning, a good accountant will be a partner for your business, helping ensure it is set up the right way, with effective financial systems and process in place to keep everything running smoothly. But how do you pick the right accountant for your business? Today, we have a few tips to help you choose an accountant for your business.
Decide Which Services You Need
First, you need to work out what services you need from your accountant. Many firms will provide a wide range of services and advice, from finding start-up funding to filing VAT returns with HMRC. So ask yourself, what do you need? A few examples of areas you may need help in could be:
Advice For Starting A New Business:
- Help deciding what the most appropriate form for your business – sole trader, limited-liability partnership or a limited company.
- Support setting up your business – this could be anything from the physical formation of the company to negotiating shareholders agreements or registering with HMRC.
- Help preparing a financial business plan.
- If you’re buying an existing business or a franchise, investigating it’s financial position and negotiating the purchase.
Help With Business Funding:
- Getting recommendations on the types of finance your business may be eligible for, including overdrafts, loans, leasing, hire purchase or venture capital.
- An accountant may also be able to introduce you to funding sources that might be appropriate, and help you prepare your case.
Bookkeeping And Information Management:
- Your accountant can help you set up manual or digital bookkeeping systems, and even manage them for you on an ongoing basis. They can also help you set up information management systems, which helps you get an up-to-date looks at your business and run it more efficiently.
What Accounts To Produce:
- As a business, you will be required to produce accounts for HMRC, which your accountant can do for you on an annual basis.
- If you are registering for VAT, your accountant can help prepare these quarterly and submit them via HMRC’s paper, soon to be digital systems.
- Most businesses use an accountant to handle their corporation tax, and sole traders take advice and support in filling out their tax returns. Unless you’re an expert in tax yourself, your accountant is a valuable asset here.
- A good accountant can also provide you advice and tax planning, helping you reduce your tad bills.
- VAT isn’t known for being a simple process, but many businesses have to register and pay it. An accountant can help you understand your obligations and manage your VAT returns for you.
- Most business accountants can also help you with your personal income tax planning, give advice on ways to minimise inheritance tax and so on.
- As a business you are required to submit certain documents and paperwork to HMRC and Companies House on a regular basis – all of which your accountant can help you with (including working out what you need to file).
Of course, if you’re not sure what you need, your best bet is to talk to a few accountants and see what they recommend for you. Which means you’ll need to go to the next section of this blog.
Find Potential Accountants
So, how do you find a good accountant? Well, you could just go a google search, but often people want a bit more information about the person they are handing over their business finances too. if that’s the case, you could:
- Ask for recommendations from your contacts.
- Ask your bank for local accountant recommendations.
- If you already have a solicitor, they can usually recommend an accountant.
- Ask business support and trade organisations, like the FSB, who they would recommend.
Once you have a selection of recommended accountants, its then a case of finding one that works for you. This means you will need to meet with some to discuss your needs. During this meeting, you can ask them about their qualifications and specialisations, and explain your business or idea to them in as much detail as possible. Listen to their recommendations, and assess how comfortable you would be working with them. Did you find them knowledgeable, approachable and generally easy to get along with? These are important things when you will be working so closely with someone. If the answer is yes, then you may have just found your accountant!
At Berkshire Accountants, we work closely with businesses to help them understand their finances and how to run their businesses more effectively. Our customers range from start-ups testing their first idea to established businesses managing a new transition, and everything in between. If you would like to find out more, just get in touch with the team at Berkshire Accountants today.