Take the decision to choose a GP. Most people pick one near their home. And even though the receptionist is always rude to them and they can never get an appointment when they want they never change their GP. I’m no exception to this. My GP is close to my home and my dentist is the first one that accepted me as an NHS patient.
We take the same approach to choosing an accountant. But while your doctor or dentist has to be qualified and is regulated, your accountant may not be qualified at all.
In fact anyone can call themselves an accountant. It isn’t necessary to have qualifications in the area or any experience. You can wake up one morning and decide, ‘I’ll be an accountant today!’ Yet most people don’t even ask the question.
It is important to make sure that your accountant has qualified through one of the main accountancy bodies such as the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), the Institute of Chartered Accountants (either ICAEW or ICAS) or the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). These bodies hold their members to account in the event of bad practice, and so you’ll be afforded some protection if things go wrong.
With accounting there is not a one size fits all solution. However, research shows that business owners spend a lot of their time doing general admin tasks. This includes accounting and bookkeeping tasks. This keeps them from focusing on things that really matter, like growth opportunities. Having a good understanding of your business’ financial position is important. But passing the reporting and hard graft over to your accountant will free up time for you to focus on other revenue generating tasks.
We know the financial side of business isn’t always that easy to understand. It’s important to work with the right kind of accountant for your business. One that will empower you with the answers to common accounting questions. And one that you feel confident handing over your numbers to. They should be interested and involved. They should also specialise in helping small businesses in the same sector as you. Gone are the days where you just call in the accountant a few times a year, and courier your records over to them for tax return sign off.
We want you to see your accountant as a trusted advisor and expert. A friend of your business. A friend you can have a drink with to discuss business. If you need to know where to get extra funding – they’re your first port of call. Need advice on payroll or setting up PAYE? Call your accountant. Want to expand or grow? They should be there. Dealing with HMRC? You shouldn’t need to.
Technology has streamlined accounting. Now it’s making it faster and more transparent. This has enabled small businesses to save precious time, money and demand more. Sadly, some accountants are guilty of a much more hands off service. They just expect to help with the big tasks like tax return and if anything else crops up, they charge through the roof.
This have changed with cloud technology and new apps and add-ons. These aim to save you time, money and headaches and have simplified the accounting process.