CHOOSING A CONTRACTOR ACCOUNTANT
Choosing the best Contractor or Freelancer Accountant for you…
You will need to trust and enjoy working with your accountant. Your accountant is going to find out a lot about you and in order to give you good advice, you need to feel happy that your accountant is acting in your best interests and thinking about your business. Not just filling in numbers on forms and getting your work done (as quickly as possible!).
So what should you look for?
You should use a qualified accountant and/or qualified tax adviser, the main letters you will see on websites are:
- ACA: Associate Chartered Accountant;
- ICAEW: the firm is a member if the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales;
- ACCA: Associate Certified Chartered Accountant;
- ICAS: the firm is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland;
- CIOT: the firm is a member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation; and
- CTA: Chartered Tax Adviser
Companies with these accreditations may have higher fees but that is because they must keep up-to-date with new legislation and they will be able to provide you with accurate and personal tax planning advice, as well as the more standard tax compliance work.
In addition if you are a contractor or freelancer and worried about IR35 (see our IR35 blog posts if you need more information) then you should look for a firm that has had additional IR35 training with the IPSE.
So what are Clearways Accountants’ credentials?
At Clearways Accountants, we are ACA and CTA qualified and the company is a member of the ICAEW and the CIOT. In addition in order to give our contractor and freelance clients the best advice on IR35, we have completed and are accredited accountants with the IPSE.
Do you get your own dedicated accountant?
Some firms will have qualified partners or directors but your main contact is not qualified. Although it may be more efficient for the accountants to use unqualified or part-qualified accounts staff to complete some of the work, you should be sure that your main contact will be familiar with your file and your personal circumstances so that the advice is accurate and personal.
At Clearways Accountants every client has a dedicated qualified accountant.
Can you meet your contractor accountant?
Tax is complicated and some things are best explained in person. We offer all our clients and potential clients a 30 minute free consultation and we are always happy to meet up with our clients and discuss their accounting needs in person.
Sometimes a meeting isn’t practical but it is still good to talk – so we can always Skype or speak by phone.
Fees & Charges
Easier to budget with monthly fixed price accounting packages
The contractor and freelancer accountancy market is competitive. Prices will vary depending on what is included and the qualifications of the accountants. Cheaper may mean fewer services are included and that less thought is given to your personal circumstances. It is worth checking carefully what each package will provide.
At Clearways Accountants we provide the choice of two straightforward monthly fixed price packages but we can also provide bespoke services for those of you who want to do some of the paperwork yourself.
Online or offline bookkeeping?
Many firms offer online bookkeeping or offer reduced price accounting software for your bookkeeping. For many contractors and freelancers there is no need for fancy systems, all the information your accountant needs can be collected onto an Excel spreadsheet. It is easy for you to see what you have included and, importantly, it is easy for your accountant to check it for you. If you get into a muddle with your bookkeeping a spreadsheet is much easier to sort out!
At Clearways Accountants, we think we have the best of both worlds, we provide clients with an Excel spreadsheet with easy macro buttons to help you get your bookkeeping correct but if you want to enter data directly onto the spreadsheet you can do that as well.