How to choose an accountant?
As a self-employed person or business owner, you have the option of keeping your accounts yourself or entrusting it to a chartered accountant.
The role of the accountant is to:
- support you
- advise you
- deposit your accounts
They must ensure that you are in compliance with the House Companies and the HMRC in order to avoid fines, penalties and other unwanted tax bills - and thus help your business grow.
Identify your business needs
You must first of all determine the scope of the mission of your accountant:
- Simple production of your annual accounts.
- Total management: from salaries to accounting, including VAT returns.
They must be able to master the particularities and issues raised by your accounting and your project.
Do your research
Do not hesitate to ask for recommendations from your professional network or to search for reviews online.
Establish an initial selection of chartered accountants, then:
Check the legitimacy of the accountant
The profession of accountant is unregulated in Great Britain: an accountant is not legally required to be a graduate to practice his profession.
However, it is strongly recommended that you choose an accountant with a chartered accountancy diploma.
There are a multitude of orders in Great Britain where it is possible to register: ICPA, ICAEW, ACCA, etc.
Choose a firm that matches your business
Find out about his work habits and determine if it meets your expectations:
- Online accounting software or handwritten accounting
- Meetings by videoconference or physical appointments
- Proactive on meeting deadlines or not
It is important that you both have the same expectations about the role it will play in your business.
Legally, your accountant is not responsible for meeting the deadlines for filing your accounts.
You can also choose an accountant specialized in the sector of activity of your company.
Understand and compare the fees
Many firms offer tailored monthly fees to cover all your accounting and tax needs.
The fees of the accountant must:
- reflect the fair value of the service rendered.
- take into account their skills, any specialization, their notoriety and their location.
Do not hesitate to compare several quotes to get an idea of the market average.
If your business is not registered for VAT, the quote must take this into account.
Also remember to study the modalities of revaluation of the fees: frequency, benchmark, methods of calculation, etc.
Obtain an engagement letter
You will need to do everything in your power to keep your business safe. It's not just about protecting your business from scammers, crooks and cyber threats; you must also ensure that you are covered in case of dispute with your accountant.
To protect your business, make sure you have a engagement letter issued by the accountant.
Take the time to read this engagement letter: it will be your point of reference for any disagreement with your accountant on the level of service required from him.