When you set up your own business it’s based on your skill and experience. Not many of us are equally skilled with the financial side of running a company. Of course, the larger you get, potentially the more complicated your accounting systems have to be.
If you are dealing with your own finances and you have a query, remember all Which? Trusted traders have unlimited, free access to the Which? Money helpline on 01992 822848 as part of their Which? membership. It’s open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm, and staffed by financial experts who will give you one-to-one advice on any financial queries.
Check our guide for advice on whether your business should register for VAT or read on for more advice on how to find an accountant.
If you would like someone to manage all or some of your accounting for you, you’ll need to find an accountant. But where do you start?
You want to find an accountancy firm that:
Finding the right company – as with any professional appointment – means you need to do some homework. We recommend:
Clive Lewis, Head of Enterprise at ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales - one of UK accounting’s regulatory bodies) told us that anyone can have a free, no-obligation advice session with a Business Advice Service (BAS) chartered accountant.
If you search the ‘Find an accountant’ section on the BAS website and look for accountants local to you with a BAS logo, you can contact them and arrange your free meeting.
When you’ve decided on your accountant, they’ll issue you with a ‘letter of engagement’. This is a contract that sets out the terms and conditions of your agreement with them.
Your accountant should keep in touch with you throughout the year, not just at year-end. They are there to help you run your business – don’t be afraid to call on their expertise. Communication needs to be two-way – you need to tell your accountant about changes in your business, problems, costs and so on.
It’s always reasonable to weigh up whether your accountant is providing you with the service that you need. Ask for specific help if you’re not happy. And if you find that the relationship isn’t working out, you can always switch accountants.