Choosing an accountant
It’s difficult for us to give you advice about choosing an accountant, since we are accountants (and we’re trying to sell ourselves!). But one of the things that is important to consider when you are looking for an accountant is what “connection” you will have with that accountant.
Just about any “accountant” is capable of preparing a set of accounts, a tax return, a VAT return and wages records (although we’ve met some who aren’t!). But is that all you get from your accountant ? – and what is more important, is that all you want to get?
There are a few different types of accountants to choose from. We thought we would give you a few details on them and let you know which type we are. All accountants can do the work, but that doesn’t mean they are all the same.
The free accountant
This is usually your brother-in-law’s friend’s cousin or the bloke from down the pub. The bloke from down the pub knows everything about everything and his advice is free, so that’s great isn’t it ? Just remember that you’re the one signing the tax return, and you’re the one who will be paying the additional tax, interest and penalties when H.M.R.C. start to ask questions. The pub expert will have no professional training, no professional indemnity insurance and no experience of dealing with the tax authorities.
This person is not a qualified accountant, but does almost all the work leading up to getting your accounts and taxes done. They’ll record transactions and prepare your VAT return and payroll. All you have to do is submit it to H.M.R.C. yourself, or find a Free Accountant to help you ! While this can help, be very careful. If the person is not a qualified accountant, they may miss major opportunities when preparing your accounts or not know of tax allowances available to you – and you’re the one who will pay the price in additional tax.
The big firm accountant
Perhaps you decide that, with more complex needs, you require a big firm to work with you on a regular basis. You have complex tax affairs, or unique problems. Unfortunately, often with this kind of firm you are just a small client, one of many hundreds or thousands, just another job on the conveyor belt, and what is more you are charged excessive amounts.
The small local firm
This is us ! We are a smaller firm of Chartered Certified Accountants based in Pelsall on the outskirts of Walsall We have a few members of staff, treat you as an individual and make sure that you get advice that is suited especially to you and your business. A small local firm like ours is not for everyone – you might want a firm that has 500 members of staff, or you might still want free non-professional advice, but if personalised service from someone who actually cares about you and your business is what suits you, then we’re exactly what you need.