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Small Businesses / July 13th 2017

Does using the cheapest possible accountant provide the best value?

The thought of employing an accountant may seem daunting and unnecessary and in the eyes of some small business owners. There can often be the temptation to look for the cheapest possible solution for what some people view as a ‘form-filling exercise’. However, for a typical business, the additional benefits you would receive from them would probably outweigh those costs both in the short and long run. Some of the key factors to consider include: 1) Knowledge that your accounts are produced in accordance with reporting standards. Most one-man band accountants will provide a service where receipts, invoices etc. are provided along with your bookkeeping records, and this is simply put into a filing friendly format. This does not necessarily mean that the expenses are correctly treated and accounted for in your accounts. By using an established accounting firm, the in-house bookkeepers and accountants may more correctly advise and itemise expenses in the correct categories as well as applying the latest reporting standards (such as GAAP and FRS102). 2) Proactive, not reactive. Cheaper alternatives usually offer a ‘doing only’ service where they will rarely ever contact you unless a document needs to be submitted. With an accounting firm, a more proactive service would be provided with constant catch ups (quarterly or monthly) with you which ensures that the accountant stays up to date with the businesses direction and changes so that they are best equipped to provide advice and deal with any requirements that may arise. You will often also hear about more updates and changes. 3) Tax planning A one man band would typically offer no or very limited advice for tax planning purposes, therefore you may pay more tax than you need to. Using a larger firm means you will have greater resources to tap into enabling you to stay up to date with the latest tax changes. You can also take advantage of tax planning opportunities such as utilising personal allowances, dividend allowances and other tax structures which may enable you to be more tax efficient. 4) Knowledge and expertise Not only would it be the quality of the work provided that is significantly better, but also the level of skills, expertise and knowledge that you would be offered is greatly enhanced. This comes in particularly handy if HMRC launch a tax enquiry into your tax affairs. Many one man bands will claim to be able to assist but at the best of times, and some may be able to, but this may be basic and could well incur greater costs in responding. Larger tax specialist / accountants means that their experienced tax investigations team can deal with HMRC in the most effective way by using their experience and also their exposure to case law to enable them to argue your position in the best manner. Ultimately this is a personal decision. Some people prefer to pay the lowest possible cost, in the knowledge they might be getting less in return. If however, it is the service and knowledge that you value, then using a firm like Wisteria may well be the optimal choice for you. If you want to find out more about our services in general, then feel free to contact us on 020 8429 9245 or email info@wisteria.co.uk.

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