Keeping track of your money is hard.
Like, really hard.
Knowing what you can spend and how much you should be saving can feel like an impossible task.
Now imagine doing that for your small limited company.
You probably don't have to imagine.
It's terrifying, I know.
There's a lot to be worried about!
Do you know finance inside out?
What about the legal requirements?
All the relevant tax departments?
Make a mistake and who knows what the consequences will be.
(They won't be good, trust me).
But don't panic!
I said don't panic!
I'm not here to add to your accounting anxiety.
I'm here to help.
If you need advice on what an accountant can do for your limited company and how much it's going to cost - you came to the right place.
In this article, I'm going to provide a comprehensive run-down of everything you need to know when it comes to accountants for your small limited company.
By the end of this article, you will know:
- Why you need an accountant for your small business.
- How an accountant will help you and your business.
- What are the typical packages and payment options available to you?
In the early stages of your business, once your limited company is legally setup, cutting costs and saving money is vital - obviously...
So, it might be tempting to try and take care of your own accounts.
It can't be that hard, right?
An accountant does a lot more than keeping your accounts organised and getting your VAT returns done in time...
It's a well-paid profession for a reason!
I'm sure not just anyone could run your company - so why could just anyone do your accounts?
It needs someone who knows what they're doing, someone with experience - a professional.
You'd expect that in every other area of your business!
A professional accountant brings all the expertise you need - but perhaps more importantly - experience.
Your accounts must be maintained within common accountancy practice, in the right format, accurately and on time.
If you know how to do all that then go right ahead...
At least you've got an accounting career to fall back on.
But for the rest of us, there's a lot that could go wrong:
You haven't saved any money if you get fined for missing a deadline or underpaying your tax.
Without proficiency and experience in accounting, mistakes like these are easily done.
Perhaps I'm being harsh.
I'll give you some credit.
Maybe you do have some experience and think you're capable of having a go at it yourself
Maybe you want to put your maths A-level to good use.
Good luck keeping on top of it all while still being involved in the day-to-day operations of your business!
Sure, you might save the money you would have paid an accountant - but how much might you have lost in potential business by not concentrating on running your company?
You may never know.
(hint: it's probably a lot!)
This is often the reasoning for considering an accountant...
Many of my clients are worried that their business may be missing out on crucial opportunities with so much of their time being taken up trying to manage their accounts.
This was precisely the concern for my client - the director of a small digital marketing company.
They assessed the tasks that were taking up the most time, as well as the expertise they were likely to need as the business progresses.
Keeping their needs in mind - the next step was looking for packages that fulfilled these requirements.
With careful consideration, they found a great firm with a comprehensive - but affordable - bundle that met all their needs.
Simple as that!
Their accountancy worries well and truly taken care of.
Not only that, profits are up 27%!
The company director puts that down to the renewed focus and productivity he got once the accounting was outsourced.
How big a difference could it make for your business?
There's only one way to know for sure!
If you're still with me I'm going to assume you're no longer considering doing your accounts yourself...
Give yourself a pat on the back.
We've established that mistakes are very easy to make if you're unsure what you're doing.
Plus the potential consequences could be catastrophic for you and your company.
(HMRC won't let you off because you didn't know what you were doing).
But there are also some amazing benefits to doing the smart thing and outsourcing to an expert.
It's not just complying with the relevant tax laws and filing the legal documents required of a limited company.
With a professional accountant, you know that your annual accounting is taken care of...
Tax paid on time.
Books - kept?
No stress - no worries.
I told you I'd help with that accounting anxiety!
Why stop at compliance?
Why not make the most of having a financial whiz?
Many accounting packages will include some kind of financial advice or guidance.
This can include profit analysis, strategic planning and recommending any software or tools that could help your business run more efficiently.
An experienced and knowledgeable new perspective is always valuable!
This wealth of experience gained through working with many different businesses will provide you with extremely useful insight for developing and growing your business.
Maybe they can rectify a mistake they've seen before...
Or maybe they can help inform your business plans - with real numbers and well-informed projections.
My client, the director of a web design business, outsourced her accounting using a basic package.
Her worries were gone, her tax and payroll were taken care of and all her books were in order.
This was a great relief that had an immediate effect on her.
(And her company, too!)
After seeing just how much of an effect her accountant had on her business she decided to upgrade her package
Yep - you guessed it - she saw yet more improvement.
She simply paid for more of her accountant's time and as a result, he could do a deeper analysis of the business.
Using figures from this analysis her accountant was able to help with future business decisions, decisions that should always be based on evidence.
As a result - profits have been steadily rising over the last few years:
In fact, it's a 23% increase on average!
It's ok to be jealous.
But why be jealous when you can just get an accountant!
Well prepared tax documents and your accountants grasp of tax laws and legislation is certain to save you money.
(All legally of course).
Perhaps even more than your accountant charges you.
You're always looking to improve your business operations - now help is here.
I'm starting to wonder why you haven't hired one already.
Below is a list of some of the ways an Accountant can help your small limited business:
Keeping Your Tax On Track
You need to know that you're on the right side of the taxman.
All accountant packages will include managing your VAT returns and corporation tax returns.
A really good accountant will go beyond compliance though.
They may provide advice on how some money can be saved on your tax bill.
Improving Your Business
Bringing new expertise into your business is always a good thing.
Sure, the time you have to focus on your business will be great...
And the peace of mind knowing your accounts are being handled by a professional will only make you better at what you do.
But business involves a whole lot more than just your ideas.
Use their expertise to unlock your business' true potential.
Just like my web designer client - an accountant may be the key to the growth of your company.
Your accountant can provide reliable and useful financial advice that could benefit your business in a variety of ways.
Advice When You Need It Most
Whatever your next business move may be - a financial expert who knows your company inside out will help you make the right decisions.
You should always be planning for the future
But who are we kidding, in business as in life things can change - very fast!
From growing your company and applying for a business loan to buying a new business to selling one.
An experienced accountant will be vital, every step of the way.
It's all sounding great so far.
But don't worry, I know what you're thinking.
All these amazing benefits must come at a hefty price, right?
If an accountant is as good as I say it is...
(And I'm always right).
It must be too expensive for your small business...
Well think again!
There are a variety of options when it comes to accountants.
So, finding a way that suits you and your business' needs - within your budget - is not mission impossible.
(Unlike doing your accounts yourself!)
Whilst there are likely some accountants that offer a per-hour rate - it's actually very rare.
Most charge monthly or annual fees, or quote for individual tasks and services.
These payment structures tend to be preferable for everyone.
Hourly rates need to be adjusted for certain tasks and can often end up costing you more than expected - tasks can easily take longer or prove more complicated than anticipated.
Most accountancy firms will have package tiers, starting with basic accounting and the higher tiers including more extensive services.
Like with most things you tend to get what you pay for, but at the same time more expensive doesn't necessarily mean better.
Below is a guideline for what is likely to be included in different packages.
Keep in mind that this is just a guide, packages and prices will differ between providers:
Core or Basic Package
Corporation tax returns.
Registering with Companies House.
Monthly and annual payroll.
Advice and guidance on tax legislation (IR35).
Standard accounting advice through email and phone support.
All the services included in the basic package, plus:
Access to accounting software.
Tax credit forms and mortgage applications.
Annual business review.
Annual business review.
Includes everything in previous packages, plus:
Fee protection insurance
Processing of payments to HMRC.
Help with business planning.
More detailed financial and business advice from a dedicated accountant.
Which packages certain services fall in will vary greatly between accountants...
However, most will not be too rigid with packages and allow you to choose which services you need, for your own personalised package.
Based on their individual pricing they will calculate a fee.
Knowing exactly what services you need beyond the standard accounting and tax processing will give you a clearer idea of the prices available.
Basic packages will cover all the necessities...
Ensuring your business' finances are kept organised and legal.
Preparing and filing accounts with HMRC and Companies House.
Your corporation tax return will be calculated and filed, all you have to do is pay the bill through the link provided!
Your company's payroll scheme will be registered and the figures submitted - Your accountant will let you know exactly what you need to pay HMRC each month.
Basic packages can be primarily thought of as keeping you within the law.
All your accounting will be taken off your hands and completed with minimal effort on your behalf - but if you want to be kept in the loop that's easily arranged.
Additional packages provide upgrades to legal compliance...
For example, access to premium accounting software, business reviews and financial advice.
They may not be required to stay within the law but they could certainly help you and your company a great deal.
If your budget allows it is recommended to consider the additional packages...
The more holistic approach to your accounting will allow your accountant to be more thorough.
The more they know about your company the more they can help!
If only some of the services in the upgrade packages appeal to you then most accountancy firms allow some flexibility in their services.
This is quite a common request amongst my clients as they do not want to be paying for services that they don't use.
This was a concern for my client, the brains behind an exciting new tech startup.
Keeping outgoing money to a minimum was vital during the early stages of the company.
It's for that reason that he knew an accountant was necessary.
Sure, some of the services included in complete packages definitely appealed to him
But some others would be surplus to requirements.
Fee protection insurance and detailed financial advice were needed alongside all the tax compliance and bookkeeping services.
However, the company was already setup and registered with HMRC and Companies House!
So after a comprehensive discussion he and his accountant agreed upon the required services and a reasonable fee based on these services.
Now it's time for the bit you've been waiting for
How much is it all going to cost?
As you now know it can differ significantly.
It will depend on the provider and the package or services you require.
The size of your company in terms of revenue, number of staff and the complexity of your sector will also be a factor when pricing your accounting
But I'm here to make things that much easier.
(You can thank me later).
Here's a rough guide to the prices:
Monthly fees for a basic package start in the £50-£75 range - larger and more renowned firms may go as high as £150.
This is a relatively wide range - but don't be alarmed.
If you're worried about the quality of the service you'll receive towards the lower end of the price range there's no need to be concerned.
Spending time researching the firm and communicating with them prior to any agreement will give you a good idea of what you can expect if you were to hire them.
The price itself is only ever an indicator for the quality of the service, it should never be assumed more expensive is a higher quality.
So, making the time to accurately assess the company's services could save you a significant amount of money.
Ultimately, you should always expect a reliable and accurate service - you can certainly get this in the cheaper end of the price range.
For the standard package or middle tier, there is again a wide range of prices.
The typical services included in a standard package will usually cost around £150 per month, but this can certainly rise.
The complete packages offered by most firms will start around £220 - and again, this could rise.
These prices are cheaper estimates for small limited companies - if your business is of a significant size you should expect to pay more.
Having said that, these prices are certainly achievable.
Some basic packages could cost you less per day than your lunch!
(Yep - even less than that cheese sandwich...)
I'm sure all the benefits of an accountant are worth more to you than a meal deal.
Just the peace of mind and time you saved not having to deal with the accounts yourself is surely worth it.
The advice that comes with the standard or complete packages could prove to be worth a whole lot more than they cost.
Considering all the packages available is recommended - but ultimately you will know what services are a priority and the budget you have for accounting.
(Ok - you can thank me now).
If your finding corporation tax, VAT and HMRC daunting - or its just distracting you from running your limited company - outsourcing your accounting is likely your most viable option.
An accountant can solve these problems - and at a relatively low cost, too!
Fact is, accountants are not just for solving problems...
The benefits your business could feel from reliable advice from an experienced accountant could make a real difference to the future of your company.
Can you really afford to take a chance when it comes to your accounts?
Your business is too important for cutting corners...
Have an accountant keep track of all the profits you're sure to make now and in the future.
Now it's over to you:
- What accounting services do you need?
- And how will your business benefit from outsourcing your accounting?