8 questions to ask when choosing an accountant

Mar 3, 2020 | Blog, Management accounts

As we covered in our last blog, to ensure you get the most from your relationship with your accountant there are some questions worth asking early on.  It’s a relationship like any other and if everyone is clear on their expectations from the outset then it will run more smoothly:

 ·         What’s the best way to contact you and how often should we be in touch?

This might seem like a simple question, but clear, effective communications are the key to a beneficial relationship with your accountant.  Decide initially which method of communication suits you best and how often you should be in touch.

  ·         How can you help me get ready for my tax return?

 Let’s face it, the hassle of the tax return is often why small businesses look for an accountant in the first place.  It may be that you qualify for R&D tax credits, grants or other tax opportunities – by meeting regularly there should be no surprises come January and that New Year panic will be a thing of the past.

 ·         What do you need to know about my business?

 In short – everything!  An accountant should know your hopes for the business, your constraints and strengths and where you hope to be in time.  They will work with you to set and achieve goals and can often offer advice or solutions where you can’t see any.

 ·         Am I set up the right way?

 Sole trader, Partnership, LLP or Limited company. Each one has advantages and disadvantages and getting this right at the start can mean saving some tax early on.  Talk to your advisor and they can help you see which one is the right choice for you.

 ·         Do I need to be VAT registered?

 You may be dreaming of reaching that VAT threshold of £85,000 of turnover. However, depending on your business, it can come more quickly than you thought and keeping an eye on growth of this kind is a must. Even if you are not close to the threshold, it may be worth being VAT registered to claim back any VAT on your expenses.

 ·         What if I have employees?

Taking on your first employee can be scary. Operating payroll, deducting PAYE/NIC and pensions, never mind employment law. Discussing early with an accountant can put the necessary steps in place to ensure you are compliant and your employee is being paid correctly. A good accountant will have a team that can also provide pension advice and answer questions in relation to employee schemes and development of your workforce.

 ·         What Software do I need?

 Setting up the right software early on can make a massive difference to your business. Do you know how much money you are making at any point during the year?   By using cloud software you can have access to all of your information instantly (and from anywhere), applications such as Xero allow you time to concentrate on other areas of your business that you need to invest time in. There are lots of app add-ons that can help streamline areas of your business. Software is no longer just a cost, it’s an investment and a beneficial tool for running your business in a way that works for you.

 ·         How do I plan for business growth?

 What are your short, medium- and long-term goals?  Where do you want to be in 5 years’ time and who do you see being with you?   Once you’ve answered these questions and put some plans in place, the world is your oyster and working alongside your accountant you can smash through these goals and set some new ones.

Your accountant is a useful resource with a wealth of experience, knowledge and advice – so get to know them well.

To speak to Graham Parker, our Senior Client Manager on this or any other matter please email or call on 01383 721421

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