Advantages and benefits of using a qualified accountant
- They've studied and passed exams in accountancy
- They're continually monitored by their professional to make sure they are techncially up-to-date
- They're bound by strict regulations on ethical and professional conduct
- Their professional body undertakes regular checks on them and their business
What an accountant can do for your business
Provide pre-start-up business advice
Talk to an accountant before you start your business. They can advise whether you should be a sole trader, partnership, limited liability partnership, or limited company as well as any legal and tax issues you need to consider.
Give advice on raising finance
An accountant can advise whether new capital equipment should be leased or purchased, whether cash for your business should be raised by issuing more share capital, taking out a loan, or increasing your overdraft.
Give advice on running and managing your business
An external, independent, professionally qualified, and impartial view of your business can be a great help, especially if you work alone. An accountant will help you translate ideas into plans and with profit forecasts, break-even analysis and cash flow forecasting, as well as putting systems in place to monitor your business performance.
Look after your business finances and tax
Good record keeping is essential for monitoring the financial health of your business. Online accounting packages
have made it easy to monitor and control your business finances without the need to invest in expensive software, and many let you give your accountant access. Accountants can:
- Prepare your VAT returns
- Prepare your year-end accounts and calculate how much tax and National Insurance you owe HMRC.
Give you advice on minimising business tax by making full and proper use of your allowable expenses
Handle enquiries from HMRC on your behalf
Help you plan and manage growth
If your business grows quickly or unexpectedly it's not always a good thing. Your accountant can advise on raising additional finance so you can manage the increased demand.
Accountants can also advise on business valuation and tax efficiency when buying, selling or merging a business.
New audit thresholds came into force on 1st October 2012 saving thousands of small businesses the cost of having an audit. If any 2 of these 3 audit criteria apply to your business you're required by law to have a formal audit of your company accounts. This audit must be carried out by someone who is specifically authorised to perfom a company audit:
- An annual turnover of more than £6.5m
- A balance sheet totalling more than £3.26m
- 50 or more employees
If none of these criteria apply to your business you don't need a formal audit. However if you have a very high turnover ask your accountant what other audit or assurance services they provide.
How to find a qualified accountant
Qualified accountants will be either:
Accountants specialise in different areas so make sure you choose one with the experience you need, or on personal recommendation.