You've done it!
You've taken the plunge, and gone self-employed.
Goodbye, 9-5 and 10-minute lunch breaks
Hello, phoning customers in your PJs.
(Seriously, try it - it's great!)
Your life is going pretty great now.
Business is booming, and you're making more money than ever.
But there's just one problem
You don't know how to do your accounts.
You never had to worry about this in your corporate job, it was all done for you.
Now you're stumped.
You have no idea where to start.
Plus, do you even need an accountant in the first place?
Surely it's something you can do yourself?
We've had plenty of clients that thought that once.
In fact, I just got off the phone with one of our biggest clients.
They weren't always the money-makers they are today.
(Seriously, we're talking millions here.)
They came to us when they were fairly new to self-employment - about a year and a half in.
They'd been doing their own accounts all this time.
And they hadn't realised how terrible they were at it until they got fined.
They decided to play accountant, and start deducting stuff from their tax return that they assumed they shouldn't pay tax on.
But, you guessed it
They were wrong.
They ended up being fined thousands.
And they had another tax return coming up.
So, they finally decided to swallow their pride and ask for help.
We managed to set them up with a fairly low-priced accountant, who specialised in self-employment.
Not only did they manage to help them recoup the profits they lost paying that fine
They actually managed to cut their operational costs by 27% in the first two weeks of working with them.
But I don't want to help you recoup lost profits.
I want to help you from ever getting into a situation like that in the first place.
So, let me fill you in on everything I know about self-employed accountants.
Do you still need to be paid if you're self-employed?
Do you still need to file taxes if you're self-employed?
Well, why should using an accountant be the last thing on your mind?
You want to make the most profit, for the smallest cost, right?!
Well, an accountant can help you do just that.
Did you know that there are actually 3 main reasons that self-employed business owners choose to hire an accountant?
One wrong move could result in massive fines or the dissolution of your business.
So, it's understandable that a lot of business owners are scared to take care of their own accounts.
While I don't agree that accounting is something to be feared
(After all, if you're careful and abide by the law, there shouldn't be an issue.)
I do believe that security is something worth investing in.
In this case, you'll be investing in the security that your accounts are being taken care of carefully and legally.
And, sorry to say this, but Google isn't an accountant.
Trusting the advice you receive in internet forums is a bad idea.
You wouldn't get medical advice from Facebook...this shouldn't be any different!
Karen, the wannabe Twitter accountant, doesn't have access to expensive accounting software and equipment.
She also isn't up-to-date with all the laws and regulations surrounding tax relief.
And honestly...can she even count?
Okay... she probably can count, but she definitely can't do even a third of the stuff a trained accountant can.
Read More: Read more: Wikipedia on Accountants
Are your accounts difficult to handle?
Do you have more than 1 tax form to fill?
It sounds like you've got too much to handle.
Why battle through confusing calculations and weird jargon alone?
Especially when you can hire someone who finds this stuff so easy, it's like second nature to them.
It doesn't matter if your books make reading hieroglyphics look easy, an accountant will know exactly what to do.
In fact, they'll probably enjoy it more than the majority of the basic work they have to do.
Maybe lazy is the wrong word.
But you've got enough on your plate.
I understand that running a business isn't easy.
You're juggling client liaison, customer care and content writing on top of 1000 other tasks.
Do you really need to add another one?
You won't seem any more successful just because you're able to gloat about doing everything on your own.
If anything, your business will probably suffer because it won't be long before you start burning out.
So, hiring an accountant would actually mean you're removing a massive stress from your life
There are two big differences between being an employee and self-employed.
Accountability and risk.
You need to take on everything finance-related yourself.
Even if you are hiring an accountant, there are certain things you may still have to take care of.
For example, many accountancy firms don't include bookkeeping services in their contracts.
If you don't want the added expense of hiring a bookkeeper - (they're not even that expensive though) - you'll have to keep a copy of the books yourself.
Which means you'll be the one responsible for storing all the information on your incomings and outgoings.
Plus, if you're nice, you'll also be ensuring it's kept neatly and in order too.
(Your accountant will love you for this - trust me.)
Read More: Chartered accountant job profile
But you'll also have to hold yourself accountable for any mistakes made.
If, for example, you hire a shoddy accountant who files your tax return late
Well, that's on you.
It sucks, but HMRC doesn't care for excuses.
They'll just say it's your fault for not chasing them up.
Which leads me to my next point
Let's say you've recently gone self-employed.
And you don't feel that now is the right time to hire an accountant.
You're opening yourself up to a lot of potential danger.
Because let's face it, the majority of business owners don't know the first thing about accounting.
(Unless your business is a start-up accountancy firm, of course.)
But without the knowledge that trained accountants hold, you're very likely to make mistakes.
Either through accidentally doing something illegal, or by just making a simple error.
It doesn't matter how big or small the mistake is, or whether it was intentional or not, HMRC won't take it lightly.
I doubt it comes as a surprise that there are thousands of accountancy firms out there
With hundreds specialising in self-employment alone!
It can be super hard to narrow it down to find one that works well with you.
But don't worry, I've found 5 great ones!
|Accounting Firm||Price||Free Consultation||Trustpilot Review|
Contact For A Quote
Contact For A Quote
From ||$||19.52||$|| a month
Contact For A Quote
From ||$||38.40||$|| a month
Let's take a closer look at them!
Cheaper accountant pride themselves as a more affordable alternative accountancy firm, boasting that their prices are actually 75% less than their competitors in most cases.
They're pretty much a virtual accountant, as all your business with them would be done online - (hence the low prices.)
Don't worry though - they're just as qualified as all the other accountants on this list!
Nordens work with every business type imaginable - including self-employed people like you! In fact, they're known for creating specialised teams to suit each client.
And not just for the standard office-type businesses either, they work with anyone from marketing consultants to social media stars.
They really can adapt to suit your needs.
Hey, they're not award-winning chartered accountants for nothing!
BaseTax is special
Want to know why?
Well, you can use their accounting software for free!
(Yep, seriously - HMRC even list it on their website.)
And for just a small monthly cost, you can get a trained accountant on hand to help you too!
Think of TaxAssist Accountants as a 2-in-1 deal.
Not only do you get help from a great accountant, that same accountant is also a qualified business advisor.
So, they can actually help you develop your business as well as take care of your finances.
Crunch was designed with people like you in mind.
They want to make accounting simple and low-cost for self-employed entrepreneurs, small business and contractors alike.
Not only do they supply you with a dedicated client manager and an entire team of accountants, but they also hook you up with all the best software
So you can manage your books easily yourself!
And they even offer £100 cash back to anyone who switches to them!
Chances are, even with an accountant, you'll still have to do the bookkeeping yourself.
It doesn't have to be particularly complicated, it could just mean you're the one organising your receipts.
You're probably thinking, if I can do that, surely I can go the whole hog?'
Well, um, you can't.
Technically you can - but I wouldn't recommend it.
It's just so easy to make a mistake.
You may not understand something, or you may have just made the tiniest miscalculation
Either way, HMRC doesn't care.
Even if your mistake was accidentally not keeping a record of a $10 payment, you'll still get in trouble.
And could get fined thousands.
(Or even lose your business!)
I promise you, a good accountant isn't something you should skimp on.
Not when you take into consideration just how much they can save you.
If you decide to ignore my advice and do your own accounts anyway, make sure you follow these four top tips.
For The Love Of God, Stay Organised
Imagine that tax season is coming up
Your return is due and you've left doing it pretty late (mistake number 1.)
You're only going to get 1000x more stressed when you realise you've got to hunt through all the shoeboxes and carrier bags in your house to find receipts and invoices etc.
And don't forget the ones you accidentally threw away, resulting in you trawling through months worth of bank statements.
Not fun, is it?
You've made an already stressful situation a lot worse.
So, either install some bookkeeping software to your computer, or find another way to organise your incomings and outgoings.
You'll pat yourself on the back later, trust me.
Read More: Introduction to Accounting Software
Know Your Dates
Do I really need to tell you how important it is to check the date of your tax return?
Forget meeting your soulmate, this is the most important date of your life.
Get it wrong, even by a second, and you'll receive a hefty fine.
(One that gets more expensive every minute you don't pay it.)
As you're self-employed, any unplanned payment like this could be bad for business.
So, if you don't end up bankrupting yourself, Companies House could close you down anyway.
Take A Note From Santa, Check It Twice
Seriously, the more times you check, the better.
It's so easy to make a mistake.
Especially when you don't have specialised equipment on hand, or aren't quite sure what all that fancy jargon means.
Actually, forget that.
It's easy to write that 2+2 = 5 if you're tired or aren't concentrating.
Do you really want to receive a giant fine and a threat to dissolve your company just because you got a C in high school maths?
I doubt it.
Stop Deducting Things Just Because You Think You Can
If I had a $1 for everyone I've seen do this, I'd have enough money to pay off all their fines for them.
Seriously, it's such a common mistake.
Accountants are obviously known for making big deductions from your tax return.
I mean come on, how many films have you seen where they basically eliminate the bill altogether by claiming everything as expenses?
But this isn't Hollywood.
You can't just start deducting the chewing gum you bought 6 months ago as a business expense.
You'll look like a fool - and feel like one too - when you lose thousands because of it.
If you want to deduct something that you're not 100% sure is allowed
It really is that simple.
It doesn't matter what stage your business is in, I promise that you'll find hiring one worthwhile.
Well, here are the top reasons your fellow self-employed business owners chose to hire an accountant.
Your Business Plan Is More Like A Fairytale
As much as we'd all like to be earning £1,000,000 in 2 months, on a four day work week, it's very unlikely to actually happen.
Obviously, you want your business plan to be optimistic
But you don't want it to be a complete fantasy.
It may sound good in your head, but any professionals you show it too will find it absolutely laughable.
Which is exactly why you need a knight in shining armour (aka an accountant.)
They can provide you with accurate projections for your business.
Ones that look professional and aren't unrealistic.
You Need A Favour
For most businesses, unless you're extremely lucky, you'll need to borrow money at some point.
And lenders won't just give money to anyone.
They want to be certain that they'll get their money back.
I mean, you can't blame them for wanting to be sure.
You won't even lend your friend £5 without asking their other friends if they're reliable first.
Hiring an accountant shows you take this business seriously - and that alone could qualify you for a loan.
You're Scared Of The Government
Maybe you're not scared.
But you're definitely wary of what's at stake if something goes wrong.
Well, you can cut this risk almost entirely just by hiring an accountant!
Plus, they know their way around the system.
They know exactly what to do to save you money on your tax bill - woohoo!
You're So Overworked, You're About To Scream
A lot of business owners seem to think that, if they're self-employed, they should be doing everything themselves...
This isn't the case.
You don't have to do 1000 jobs at once to be successful - so it really doesn't hurt to delegate.
And one of the easiest things to delegate is your accounting work.
(Come on, you didn't understand half of it anyway.)
Help With Finances - Duh
You heard it here first.
People do choose to hire an accountant purely because they want help with their accounts.
It sounds obvious, but a lot of business owners feel like they need a motive to hire one sometimes.
Well, that's not true.
You shouldn't be ashamed of just wanting help.
You've finally decided you want to hire an accountant.
And you want to hire one now.
But how do you choose a good one?
Well have no fear, Amber is here!
I've got tons of great advice for you, so here are my top tips on how to choose the best accountant!
Decide Where You Want Them
Do you want an accountant based in the heart of London? Or maybe you want one from a small town in Texas? Hell, maybe you want one that only exists online. (Okay, they obviously exist in real life too, but they work virtually.) Location is a big factor in the cost of an accountant. Just because the cheapest one lives farthest from you, it doesn't mean it's a good idea for someone who requires face-to-face time. And for someone on a tight budget, you may decide you can eliminate any face-time from your interactions at all by hiring a virtual accountant! Assess your needs and your budget to help you pick your accountant's location!
Choose A Chartered Accountant
Chartered isn't just a fancy word accountants uses to make themselves sound more professional. It actually shows you that they are more professional than other accountants. It means they're recognised for what they do by officials, after undergoing extensive training and countless hours of work experience to get their credentials. So, if you want the best of the best, this is the way to go.
Check Up On Them
As much as we want to trust everyone we come into contact with - (it's human nature after all) - I wouldn't recommend it. If you've decided to search for an accountant by yourself, conducting your own background check on each firm is essential. And this goes beyond checking their Trustpilot score. You should try and find their past clients too, and see what they say. And check that they're recommended by your companies regulatory body! It's better to be safe than sorry, right?!
There we have it.
How to find the perfect provider - and even some suggestions on who to choose if you're taking on this task alone!
You're excited now, aren't you?
You just want to get your future accountant set up, so you can start working with them ASAP!
Not to worry.
We can half the time you spend researching the perfect provider by, well, doing it for you.
We'll go above and beyond to ensure we find the best match for you.
So, just fill in our short form and we can match you with up to four top quotes!