Find an Accountant
Choosing the right Accountant is a big deal – after all, they’ll be looking after your finances, the lifeblood of your business. This is why it’s important to do your research before you start the hunt for your new accountant.
Finding a good accountant
There are a few bits of due diligence that you need to take into account when choosing an accountant:
- Firstly, ask around for recommendations. Friends, family, and colleagues may have had good experiences with an Accountant that can be trusted with managing your personal finances and helping you to grow your business. Whether you run a limited company or operate as a sole trader, a recommendation is always a great way to meet a chartered accountant.
- Do some research online and read reviews. There are plenty of websites where you can find honest, unbiased reviews of accountants.
- Speak to a few accounting firms to get a feel for their style and how they work. This is an important decision, so you want to be sure that you feel comfortable working with them. Each accountant will work in a different way, so it’s important that you select an accountant that fits in with your style.
- Find out if the accountant has experience in your type of business. Ask them for some references and speak to previous clients to find out whether or not they are right for you. Not all accountants may be able to offer clients to speak to due to data protection, but many of them will include references and testimonials on their website that will give you a good feel for them.
- Find out what services the accountant offers, and whether any additional charges will be incurred. For example, accountants who offer bookkeeping services may charge extra for this (pro tip, we don’t at Mazuma!), so it’s important to know if they are going to require you to do your own bookkeeping or charge you extra for it. Are they equipped to do tax planning, annual accounts and advise on tax efficiency? Are they equally as good working with sole traders as they are limited companies?
- Find out how long they have been practicing as an Accountant, and make sure that their registration is up-to-date with any relevant professional bodies. Look for words like qualified accountants, chartered accountants or chartered certified accountants on their website.
How to spot a bad accountant
When you go searching for a new accountant, you need to be on the lookout for warning signs of a bad accountant as well as the hallmarks of a good accountant! There aren’t many truly awful accountants around – those who have professional qualifications will have to adhere to a code of ethics and undertake continual professional development, but there is always the odd rogue out there.
The following is a list of important things to consider when looking for your next accountant, to make sure that they’re not a stinker!
- Do they have testimonials from real satisfied customers? Trustworthy accountants should have plenty of positive reviews and recommendations from real customers who have used their services.
- Be wary of any accountants who have absolutely nothing but 5-star reviews. It may sound counterintuitive, but there isn’t a business on the planet that doesn’t have the odd keyboard warrior take their frustration out on them.
- If they have a bad review somewhere, have they responded to it professionally? If they either haven’t responded or have been unprofessional in their response, steer clear!
- Does the price fit with what they offer? Find out what exactly is included as part of the service and check for additional charges. A bad accountant may hide additional costs until you’ve signed up with them and then it’s too late and too difficult to change course.
- Are they respected within their own industry? The best accountants tend to contribute to publications within their profession and are visible on platforms like LinkedIn.
As the saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Find out what you’re getting before committing your money.
Do I need an accountant?
An accountant can help you save money on your taxes, keep track of your expenses, and help you make sound financial decisions for your business. A good accountant can be a valuable asset to your business.
It may be tempting to try and muddle through your tax returns yourself, but just think of all the time and hassle you’d save by finding an accountant for your small business. No more weekends sifting through paperwork or trying to figure out the HMRC website!
Your new accountant will not only do the basics like your company accounts and financial reporting, but a good accountant will provide you with reliable financial information that can help you create your business plan. They’ll also look for tax efficiency opportunities in your business.
If you’re a new business you may be tempted to wait until business picks up before you start shopping around for accounting services. After all, it’s far more fun to spend money on new business cards or a website than it is on accountants.
We know that as accountants, we’re a bit of a grudge purchase. But when businesses engage with accountants early on in their journey, they’ll find accountants are able to provide value above and beyond the fee they charge for their services.
Need to find a great accountant?
Are you looking for a great accountant? Mazuma Money can offer you the best accountancy services for your business needs. We specialise in providing accountancy services to small businesses, micro-businesses, and the self-employed.
Whether you are starting a new business, or you’re a veritable veteran – our accountants will be able to provide support to your business and help you fulfill every accounts and tax-based legal requirement that HMRC throws your way.
Did you know that we offer full bookkeeping services and data entry all bundled into our monthly subscription? In fact, your monthly subscription with Mazuma can include the following:
- Monthly management accounts
- Statutory end of year accounts
- Self-assessment tax returns
- Filing with HMRC and Companies House
- VAT Returns
- Payroll Services
- Corporation tax returns
- Partnership tax returns
- Invoicing using our free software
- Your own dedicated Accountant
And whether you love to use tech to handle your finances, or are more old-school and like to have physical pieces of paperwork and receipts, we’ve got a solution that meets your needs and keeps you 100% compliant with HMRC at all times.
We’ll take care of the financial reporting and corporation tax for your limited company, sort out the self-assessment for a landlord, company director, or sole trader – all with the assurance that your work is overseen by a chartered accountant.
Can I just search for ‘find accountant’ and pick the first one on the list?
Well, you can! But just because someone is first on the list doesn’t mean they are the right fit for your business.
People use search engines to find accountants all the time, and most of the time it works out well. But just make sure that you pick someone who is great at what they do, not just the one who has the most money for advertising!
What services should I look for as standard?
If the accountant is pricing on a fixed fee, make sure that there are no hidden nasties and that the agreement covers at least these basics; self-assessment, personal tax, corporation tax, sole trader accounts, company accounts and tax, a dedicated point of contact, a clear scope of support.
Most accountants will ask you to do your own bookkeeping, which can be especially time-consuming for sole traders or a small limited company. (Of course, at Mazuma Money we do the bookkeeping for you!)
Payroll is often not included as standard in an accountant’s fees, so if you require payroll services make sure that you get a quote for that too, or find an alternative solution. You can’t assume that the payroll is included, even if it is just for the company director!
What qualifications should I look for in an accountant?
You should look for an accountant who is a member of any of the following bodies:
- Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales
- Chartered Institute of Management Accountants
- Association of Accounting Technicians
- Association of Chartered Certified Accountants
- Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland
- Chartered Accountants Ireland
You can find accountants who practice under these bodies listed on their websites in their member directories so that you can be assured that they are following the professional standards and ethics of their relevant body when they provide services to your business.
Will all accountants make me sign a contract?
All accountants are required to issue a letter of engagement or a contract as part of their customer due diligence. They’ll also need to undertake anti-money-laundering due diligence when you sign up for their services, which may include asking you for copies of your identification and proof of address. Don’t panic – this is entirely appropriate for all accountants to do. In fact, you should be a little concerned if your accountants don’t ask you for this!
The letter of engagement will list out the services that they are providing to you (such as corporation tax, self-assessment, tax planning, payroll etc).
If you are trading as a limited company you may have a separate contract for your limited company and corporation tax, and your personal tax and self-assessment. Or they may include everything within one contract to make your life easier.
If you are a new business and are waiting for your limited company to be incorporated you may need to wait until you have the company number to set up with your accountant, as the contract will need to be in the limited company name. Don’t forget, a limited company is an entirely separate entity to you as an individual.