Guide to UK Accountants
Choosing an accountant is one of the most important early tasks when setting up a new business. Your accountant is possibly the most important adviser to have on board, especially in your early stages when you are concentrating on refining your product / service and building sales.
Here are a few good tips.
Make sure you have an accountant to advise you before, not after, you start your business. He will be able to help with your business plan, cash flow forecast, funding and setting up the business structure.
In the UK, anyone can legally call themselves an accountant. Ensure that he or she is fully qualified i.e. is certified or chartered.
Check out what sort of business services your accountant provides. Can they help with tax returns, vat and payroll? Ensure they have a good understanding of tax issues. Throw in a curly question like "If I were to sell my business in 5 years time, what will be my tax implications?" Transcribe the response and compare with responses from others on your short-list.
Does the accountant have any experience in your industry or with small businesses similar to your own? Will he/she agree to let you speak to some of their existing clients?
Do you get on with the accountant? Do you feel comfortable having a frank discussion with this individual about your business and your personal financial affairs? Find out who will be the one dealing with your account. Do not be misled into believing the accountant who talks to you in the initial chat will necessarily be the same member of the practice that deals regularly with your account.
How do they charge? Hourly, fixed-fee or a combination. Compare the charges of all accountants on your short-list.
Following is a list of featured UK accountancy services: