The obligations and requirements set by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) can be a real mine field if you are not familiar with keeping financial records. Becoming self-employed is an exciting time, but it is important you are aware of the value of good book-keeping.
The Role of an Accountant
An accountant is either an employed or contracted individual that is responsible for keeping a company’s financial records in good order. In addition to financial record keeping, an accountant can also provide services such as advice on tax and auditing. An accountant can be a useful asset to your overall business planning, providing advice as to what type of company you should be setting up. HMRC requires the legal status of your company to be registered, whether it’s sole trader, limited company, partnership or co-operative.
Accountants can also offer regular financial reviews on a quarterly or annual basis. Depending on their experience, they may be able to act as a general business advisor. Another beneficial role accountants can perform is networking. It is possible that they will have vast experience across multiple industries, which may provide you with a means of identifying business opportunities. They may be able to use their contacts to put you in touch with other financial-services providers such as lenders and investors.
Why Hire an Accountant?
If you are self-employed it is a good idea to consider hiring an accountant or financial expert. Accountants can provide a professionally trained eye to look over and control the financial statements of your company. Preparing your own financial statements for the tax year is also feasible. There are a number of good software companies that provide easy to use accounting software. However, to ensure you don’t make mistakes and under- or over-estimate your figures, an accountant can be a welcome resource. The last thing you want is HMRC investigating your company’s financial performance. There are two main options in hiring the services of an accountant: employ a person full time or outsource to a freelance accountant or third-party company. If you intend to outsource your accounting needs, it is important you identify recommended accountants for contractors.
How to Select a Good Accountant
Choosing the right accountant is very important. You will be allowing them access to very sensitive company information. Therefore, you want to be able to trust them and know they will abide by data protection and privacy laws.
There are a number of steps you can take to ensure you get the right person for the job. The best way to ensure you hire a reputable individual is through recommendation. It is also good practice to research their qualifications. If you can locate an individual or accounting company that has a good reputation in the market, you can be assured that they are trustworthy. When you first meet your prospective accountant, ask for references and come prepared with a list of questions. Questions could include the following. What type of companies have they worked for before? Is there a particular industry sector they tend to operate in? What kind of financial services can they provide? What is their working pattern or availability?
Zoe is an ardent blogger and freelance writer from the UK, and she loves to share her health and legal knowledge through content on the internet. Feel free to tweet your thoughts on this article to @bloggingstyle.