Frequently asked questions

Why consider possibly changing accountants or at least meeting to review other options?

It is clearly worth reviewing accountant options if you have knowingly received poor service, advice or value, but case studies demonstrate that even established businesses with long standing accountants can benefit from checking they are getting the services, advice and value they want. Loyalty is understandable (people rarely change accountants) but doesn’t always pay (e.g. insurance!), accountant service levels vary and sometimes clients can be taken for granted. A ‘no obligation meeting’ should be helpful even if you decide not to change.

You appear to offer a lot – are you expensive?

No! We are not expensive and we offer excellent value fixed fees for the high service levels we provide, agreed in advance, including valuable advice, but we are not always the cheapest. A ’cheap accountant’ can be very expensive in overpaid tax or missed business opportunities, not to mention risk of unnecessary HMRC fines (if you pay peanuts…). You, your business and your family are worth more.

Not all ‘accountants’ are equal and those simply looking to find the ‘cheapest possible accountant’ are advised to consider how to choose a UK accountant as explained below.   Many of our clients wished they has switched accountants earlier. We are happy to talk with and meet any prospective clients wanting excellent service, value and benefits, but we would request that those still determined that ‘cheapest is best’ and simply ‘rate-shopping’ please find a ‘we beat any quote’ type book keeper/’accountant’/unqualified input clerk, and risk their money on them, rather than contacting us.

How easy and costly is it to change accountants?

Very easy, quick and usually free! Once you have confirmed to us in writing that you wish to change, we take care of all paperwork and communications with your old accountant and HMRC. Your old accountant is not usually allowed to charge you for providing normal handover information. The whole process normally completes in 2-3 weeks.

Who needs an accountant?

Most of the 8 million people subject to self-assessment, which includes sole-traders, contractors, company directors, landlords and businesses and start-ups are well advised to get qualified help to save money and time and gain peace of mind. Even self-assessed employed tax payers without their own business may save tax with the right advice (e.g. if child benefit where one partners has relevant earnings over £50,000, additional rate tax payers, etc).

Some such as non-VAT sole traders with very simple affairs, no growth plans and low turnover/profit (<~£20k)), familiar with what they can claim for, may benefit less from an accountant.

If in doubt, why not pick up the phone for a brief discussion – ‘nothing natured nothing gained’!

How to choose the right UK accountant?

Check their qualifications: Ensure they are professionally qualified and regulated ‘CCAB’/‘Chartered’ Accountants, registered to practise, so that you, as a non-accountant, can have well founded confidence in stringently tested and up to date abilities – with added protection of professional indemnity insurance and recourse to their institute if things go wrong. Your business success and tax bill matters to you and your family – why risk anything less?

Review their Website to see how proactive and up to date they are, what benefits they offer clients, relevant business experience, recommendations – a poor or non-existent web site speaks volumes.

Do they offer fixed fees agreed in advance including unlimited phone support?:   Get value and advice from your accountant without nasty surprises!

Review testimonials and referrals – these are useful though not fool proof (refer to testimonials/case studies where clients only discovered how much unnecessary tax their prior ‘recommended’ accountants had cost them after transferring!).

Do they offer sufficient services?: check they offer not just services you need now (e.g basic tax returns and accounts plus free tax planning review), but other services you may benefit from now or in future (business advice, cloud accounting, business and tax planning/review, book keeping, payroll and admin) – these extra services can save substantial time, money and worry. Although like many firms we are not regulated to provide audit services or to act as Independent Financial Advisors (IFA’s – who advise on investments etc.), in practice almost all small companies are exempt from needing an audit* and we can recommend good IFA’s.

Do they offer guarantees on when work will be done and service levels?

Will they visit you for a free no obligation meeting – if not then don’t bother!

Talk to them to check that they are approachable, understandable, properly listening, interested in your business and come up with tax or business ideas. If they are not or do not (or worse if they do not even visit you!) then don’t waste more time with them.

If you are at all uncertain, or simply want to find out what others other, or a second opinion on something – simply contact us

 

I’ve only just had my tax and accounts done. When should I switch?

Tax planning and other advice at an early a stage as possible is critical to help your future business and tax situation, rather than just reporting long out of date historic numbers when benefits might be less – so best to review accountant options as soon as convenient.

You have every right to change accountants at any time – if you have paid in full then you can ask for a statement and a refund where you have partly paid for work not completed (e.g. year end work). We can advise if worth delaying the switch a short time.

Where and when can we meet for a free initial consultation?

We are happy to meet you at your home, business location, our office or wherever is best for you – we like to see your business. We can arrange to meet at a mutually convenient day and time. Let us know what works best for you (evenings and weekends also fine with us).

What means of payment do you accept?

All payments are by standing order instalments or direct debit, enabling you to budget and avoid nasty surprises and meaning we can be more efficient, provide ongoing advice and focus our time on delivering value rather than chasing for money!

Is your fixed quote guaranteed for more than one year?

We do not provide low quotes for the first year just to get your business and then raise fees significantly. We want you as a long term client who trusts us and whom we can benefit. We quote what we expect to be a fair and reasonable fee for the value provided and would only anticipate normal inflationary increases if the work remains unchanged. In rare cases where the amount of work required significantly exceeded what was expected we would discuss and agree any changes with you. Sometimes we can guarantee the fee for more than one year.

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