Choosing a Contractor Accountant
Choosing a Contractor Accountant is one of the most important decisions you will take as a contractor. Contractor Accountants can be a contractor’s best friend if chosen well and used wisely. Here are the top ten tips to help you.
1) Make sure, when you are choosing a Contractor Accountant, that the Accountant has previous experience of dealing with contractors. Ask him or her how many contractors he or she has on their books. There is a morass of legislation, like IR35, that is aimed specifically at freelancers. It is crucial that your Accountant is up-to-date with all the legislation.
2) Make sure, when you are choosing a contractor accountant, that the Accountant has previous experience of your sector. If, for example, you are an IT Contractor, it is very useful if the Accountant has good knowledge of the sector.
3) When choosing a contractor accountant, choose the size of Accountancy firm that suits you. Some people may prefer to go with a large organisation with vast experience of the business. However, you may be dealing with someone low down the organisation. Others may prefer a small firm where you are dealing with the owner or partner of the Accountancy company.
4) When choosing a contractor accountant, meet up with several Accountancy firms. Let them know that you are doing this so that you can get the best offer for the best service.
5) When choosing a contractor accountant, decide beforehand whether you want the Contractor Accountant to do all the admin. You are happy to do a lot of the book-keeping with the Accountant mainly giving advice and doing your end-of-year returns. Once you have decided yourself what you want to do and what you want the accountant to do you can then ask the price. Ask the Accountant for a full list of services that they can provide as you may not have though of everything.
6) When choosing a contractor accountant, ask the Contractor Accountant what professional accountancy qualifications they have, e.g. from bodies like ACCA or ICAEW. Although having a professional qualification does not necessarily mean that they are good accountants, it saves you from being fleeced by a cowboy Accountant with no professional qualifications.
7) When choosing a contractor accountant, ask them if they have Indemnity or Liability Insurance. If they make a mistake with your tax returns you would want to be able to recover the money for it.
8) When choosing a contractor accountant, ask to be able to talk to some contractors from your sector that they already have as customers. It’s always good to have a recommendation and to be able to ask questions of someone who has used the accountant.
9) When choosing a contractor accountant, agree all fees upfront. Have them written down and signed. The last thing you want is for some extra charge to be levied on you that you didn’t know about and some office clerk telling you “Oh, all our clients have to pay that”. Find out of you are ‘on the clock’ when you call the Contractor Accountant or whether that is all part of the service.
10) Most important of all – keep in touch with your Accountant. This is especially true if you are in tax trouble. Many contractors hide away from their Accountant when they have been out of work for a while and have spent some or all of the money they have saved for tax. This is the time when you should be getting your Contractor Accountants advice. As my Accountant once said to me “You should have called me. What can they do? If you haven’t got any money they can’t take it off you. It’s not worth their while. They’ll just take what they can and get onto the next person”.
Your Accountant is, business-wise, your best friend. Make sure you choose one wisely and make sure that you keep in touch with him or her. Choosing a Contractor Accountant is one of the most important decisions you will make so make sure you put some effort into picking the one that is best for you.
See a goodÂ Accountants Directory here.