It’s simple, you have to pay your tax on time! If you don’t, you can expect heavy fines which can quickly mount up if you’re unaware that you have missed a tax deadline. Working with a specialist freelancer accountant will keep you one step ahead of all your deadlines, avoiding fines for late filing of your tax returns.

It’s hard enough being a busy freelancer, working with several clients all of whom are demanding every minute of your precious time.

But also add accounting into the mix of ‘things to do’ then it’s another task on the long list, which means putting something else off until it’s done.

Your bookkeeping needs to be accurate, no room for error or mistakes, they can be costly and also can develop into fines from HMRC. Do what you do best, being a freelancer supplying your skills into happy clients, leave the accounting for the accountants!

Your accountant checklist

Need a guide whilst searching for an accountant? You’re in luck, we have one for you below!

  • Find an accountant: one who has history of working with contractors or freelancers
  • You’re a fast moving freelancer: you will need an accountant who has the same approach to work.
  • Ideally look for an online option:  they will be more accessible via online methods
  • Of course compare costs: also look at what you get for the price. Really cheap isn’t always the best road to take in the long term as you will incur costs further down the line with ‘additional services.’
  • Opt for an online service: find out if it’s possible to also have face to face meetings if required.
  • Don’t forget: using an online accountant means you can use a service that isn’t local, which can mean finding a competitive price. Example: A Freelancer based in Central London could use an online service who are based in Manchester, avoiding the steep city accountancy rates.
  • Research: find out about an accountancy, research online reviews. You can often find a number of review websites that have client or previous client ratings.
  • Check: if you will have direct access to your accountant or if you will be allocated an account manager. Ideally, you should be looking for direct contact.
  • Find out what accounting software they use (if any): Over the coming years HMRC are going to make it mandatory for people to use electronic bookkeeping software. Find out if an accountant has a preferred software and is it free to use if you sign up to their services.

Choosing your accountant

Knowing how to approach your business relationship with your accountant can help make it a smooth and stress-free process. An accountant is someone close to your business so you need to pick one that you’re comfortable discussing sensitive financial information with.

Whether you’ve had an accountant before or this is your first time, here are some tips for getting the most out of this relationship.

Pick an accountant that specialises

What better way to make your accountant understand your business than to hire someone who has tons of experience in working with businesses just like yours? Some firms will specialise in big businesses with huge accounts, others will specialise in smaller businesses or sole traders. So research and shop around before picking one most appropriate for your business.

Make their job easier

Being organised and submitting things on time will go a long way in maintaining a good working relationship between you and your accountant.

Make sure you stay in touch with your accountant wherever necessary so they’re not chasing you up for details they need. This will make their job easier and the process less stressful for both of you. With Making Tax Digital, you’ll be expected to have more contact with them because you’ll have to submit your records quarterly.

Decide what kind of accountant you want

Some people are happy with an online accountant but others want the more personal touch of a high-street accountancy. Others prefer having an accountant in-house but if money is a concern then an online-based firm is probably going to be the cheapest. Weigh up the pros and cons of each type before committing to one that suits you best.

Don’t ignore their advice

Your business is your baby and you know it best. However, accountants are usually very experienced in dealing with companies like yours and will be able to pick up on things you might not. So try to follow their advice wherever possible.

So for example, if they’re giving you a warning about filing expenses, it’s in your best interests to follow the advice or risk a call from HMRC.

Ask when you’re unsure

If there’s an element of accounts that you’re not sure or happy about, just ask. That’s what they’re there for. It’s much better to ask than to make a false assumption that could end up as a mistake on your accounts.