The role and importance of accountants in supporting your company’s finance management is well-known to all. Whether your business is big, small, long-established, or just starting up, sound financial knowledge and support in financial planning are essential not only to business survival, but also to helping companies realise their future growth goals.
But with so many accountants and companies on the market nowadays offering accountancy services, how can you be sure you are choosing the best deal for your business?
What things should you be looking for when choosing the best accountancy services for your UK business?
At Icon Offices, we are often asked to share our experience on working with accountants and accountancy firms. Below we share our top tips:
What Is Their Reputation?
As with most industries, reputation and feedback is an incredibly useful information source to gain an understanding of an accountant’s or accountancy firm’s standing in the market. A quick search on Google can often reveal useful information regarding pricing, quality of work as well as detailed feedback from previous clients, perhaps even in the same line of work as your business.
In addition to researching into a company’s client feedback, it is also recommended to review any accountant’s specific educational background as well as their professional credentials.
Do They Have Knowledge of Your Area of Business?
Though specialist knowledge in a particular industry or business area should not be the defining factor as to whether or not you should choose a particular accountant, finding an accountant or firm which has specific experience working in your area could provide a number of long-term benefits.
For example, accountants familiar with your line of work could have useful insight into the latest industry regulations, specific tax rules as well as upcoming changes in legislation which could impact on how your business plans for the future.
Are They Reliable?
Effective planning is the essential to effective management and the same is certainly true for keeping your finances in order.
To ensure your business is legally compliant, good planning and reliability should be one of the most important attributes of any accountant you are looking to work with.
There is nothing worse than filing tax returns late or finding out you only have only a matter of weeks to find the money needed for upcoming corporation tax and VAT payments.
What Are The Costs?
When it comes to the costs of accountancy services, it has been known for some accountants to charge hidden and extra fees. Indeed, there have been numerous cases of accountants who have increased their fees as soon as they see business profits increase, even if it doesn't involve any extra duties on their behalf, simply because the company is in a better position to afford it.
Furthermore, there have also been instances where accountants increase their fees based on the amount of tax that they claim to have saved the business.
When negotiating costs and rates with an accountancy firm, it is recommended to make sure all fees are both transparent and agreed in advance.
It is especially important to make clear that you do not wish to be charged extra at a later date based on the amount of tax that they could have potentially saved.
If any additional hours of work have been carried out or extra costs are incurred by the accountant, proof of such should be proven and documented in full.
Are They Trustworthy?
It is worth remembering that by the nature of the work they do, accountants and accountancy service firms will have access to all of your company’s sensitive and confidential financial information.
This could include supplier and customer lists, product costings, retail sales prices, order books, as well as other specific details of supplier and customer contracts.
Furthermore, with no formal regulation in place to prevent such breaches in trust and confidentiality, there have indeed been numerous examples of companies who have had their company information leaked or shared with others, and on some occasions it has even been known for accountants to have even used their client’s confidential information and business contacts to replicate and establish their own companies.
Choosing a trustworthy partner who can guarantee your confidentiality is therefore of the utmost importance to ensuring your business’ interests are protected.
What Additional Services Do They Offer?
While following the above top tips should certainly stand you in good stead when it comes to choosing the best accountancy services to employ for your business, it is also worth considering what additional services they may be able to offer to support your business.
For example, many accountancy service providers are now able to assist with matter of company formation, company address registration as well as support in opening business bank accounts. Some providers are even able to offer the use of a virtual address as well as handle and process any inbound company mail.
Indeed, at Icon Offices we offer all of the above services and more. Having our own dedicated team of in-house accountants means that we are not only able to provide a comprehensive accountancy services package to clients, we are also available to offer advice on finance planning, accountancy as well as taxation to business owners at all times.
Furthermore, our transparent fee structures based on company turnover ensures small businesses pay less whilst benefitting from an additional suite of corporate and administrative support services.