Contractor Accountants - Choosing the best one for you
Of all the professionals you will encounter during your career as a freelancer or contractor, your accountant is without doubt the most important.
Choosing the right contractor accountant is, therefore, an important task for anyone thinking about starting out as a contractor. Here are some tips from the Contract Eye team on the things you should look out for when choosing an accountant for your limited company:
1. Choose a specialist
Only a specialist contractor accountant can provide the in-depth advice you will need. Not only will they have accountancy systems in place to easily process your accounts, they should also have up-to-date knowledge of industry-specific regulations and ax changes, such as IR35, income shifting, and the impact of the Agency Workers Directive.
2. No Hidden Fees
A good contractor accountant will be upfront about the fees they charge. Almost all specialists will charge a fixed monthly fee of between Â£75 and Â£125 per month. For this sum, you should expect all your company accounts to be taken care of each year - some also offer to complete your personal tax return too. Make sure you ask any potential accountant what exactly is included in their fee before signing up.
Any decent accountancy firm will contain fully qualified staff. Qualifications may well be displayed on company websites or literature. Firms will typically be members of the ICAEW, ACCA, CCAB and ICAS.
4. Shop Around
Don't be afraid to call up any prospective accountants before making the leap - ask to meet up with them, or ask if you can chat to a current client to get their views. Draw up a shortlist of 3 firms (and there are scores to choose from), and search the online contractor forums for advice and experiences from current clients at each firm.
By far the best way to choose an accountant is via a recommendation from a contractor colleague, or friend. They will have first hand experience, and will be able to offer an independent view. Over time, you may well use a number of accountancy firms before settling upon one which suits you, so don't be concerned if your current provider doesn't quite hit the mark, you can always switch.