Choosing a contractor accountant
If you decide to become a UK contractor with a personal service company (limited company), you may well decide that you want a specialist contractor accountant. They can help you with the financial side of running your business. It’s not uncommon to be concerned about the responsibilities of being a director of a limited company. However, a contractor accountant can provide ongoing support that makes running a company stress-free. And providing you choose wisely; a contractor accountant can significantly help you and make your life easier.
Before choosing a contractor accountant, you must consider several factors. We’ve identified 10 key things to look into before committing to a contractor accountant. We hope you find the following list helpful.
There are many contractor accountants in the UK, and some have been around for a long time (upwards of 20 years). It’s a good idea to look at contractor accountants with a lot of industry experience, rather than picking a new one that’s been around for 5 minutes.
We’re not saying that new accountants aren’t brilliant – because some of them will be. However, if you’re new to contracting, choosing a contractor accountant that has helped thousands of new contractors like you is a good idea.
If you’re like us, you will always look up reviews of a product or service before buying it for the first time. Choosing a contractor accountant should follow the same strategy. Always look up the reputation of a contractor accountant before committing their service. Have a look at contractor forums, trusted review platforms such as Google Reviews and Trustpilot, and how the accountant is generally perceived online.
Interaction is essential. If you choose a contractor accountant – how will you get in contact with them? Will you be assigned a dedicated Account Manager, or do they promise to reply to queries within a (potentially long) time frame? You must pick an accountant that can support you and meet your expectations.
Also, not many, but some contractor accountants’ welcome face-to-face meetings. Therefore, if this is important to you, make sure you pick an accountant near to where you’re based.
We’ve just had a quick online browse, and we can confirm that contractor accountancy fees vary considerably. There are packages out there for as little as £69.00 per month. But on the contrary, some packages are far pricier and exceed £240.00 per month.
Generally speaking, we agree with the old saying – “you get what you pay for”. Therefore, the cheaper packages will probably expect you to have a far more hands-on approach, whereas the higher-costing packages will be the most nurturing. If you’re new to contracting and want as much support as possible, we recommend you don’t just pick the cheapest accountancy package, which takes us onto our next point.
Contractor accountancy packages
Contractor accountancy packages are so broad and vary hugely between providers. For example, some packages listed online include over 25 features (company formation, assistance with bank accounts, HMRC correspondence, VAT returns, self-assessment tax return, bookkeeping, payroll, 24/7 access to software, etc.) – but how many of these do you need?
Do your research and take note of all the features you will need from a contractor accountant. Then you can use this list to identify an accountancy package that you think is ideal for your circumstances. Choosing a contractor accountant is something you should put a lot of time and effort into because it’s an important decision.
And, if you like to barter, give it ago. If you see a package that’s 95% what you’re looking for, it can do you no harm if you ask about the outstanding 5% and see if you can get it added within your monthly budget. Here’s another old saying we love – “if you don’t ask, you don’t get!”