Kathleen Parker FCCA explains when an entrepreneur will need to choose an accountant and finding the right one for your start-up.
Starting up a business whilst managing your accounts efficiently is a lot like being thrown in at the deep end!
If you don’t get the right help at the right time – there is a chance you’ll go under. The initial days of an organisation can be very challenging and it's often intensified by the pressure to manage your accounts.
The financials can become complicated very quickly. Having an accountant on board could well be just the solution you need. Frequently, start-ups don’t think twice about recording transactions or documents. That's because they're either trying to keep the costs down and feel they can’t afford a business advisor or, they don’t know if what they’re doing will be successful in the long run.
Later on they then find themselves in a panic searching for old receipts and records to put together a set of yearly accounts, either to find fundingor, to submit data to HMRC so as to avoid hefty fines.
In this post we explore the answers to a common entrepreneurial question we come across, do you need business accounting services? Read on to find out more and the criteria upon which to select the right firm to help you in your plans to grow and scale.
More often than not, owners tend to find themselves caught up in the everyday running of their business. It can be pressurised enough ensuring that everything is going smoothly and customers are satisfied, without having to deal with your finances.
Growing your enterprise whilst managing your accounts can result in a mixture of feelings including frustration and at times, panic. Instead, let an accounting service provider deal with the burden of the finances.
After all they know what they’re doing; they’re specifically trained and qualified in this complex field. The benefits will more than justify the investment because you’ll be able to spend more time on things like new customers, keep existing customers happy or training up staff.
2. Understand your tax liabilities and exemptions
Very few entrepreneurs enjoy paying tax, but even fewer know about the business tax reliefs available to them. An accountant can enlighten you on tax exemptions that you didn’t even know about, saving you money that can be invested in other areas of your organisation.
Essentially you can't put a price on good, relevant and timely financial advice so in that light perhaps the question should be can you afford to not hire an accountant? The right accountancy services will make a real contribution to the growth of your organisation and missing out could prove expensive.
3. Keep you legally compliant with financial filings
Consider these questions:
When will you need to prepare and file your accounts?
Can you do the bookkeeping? Are you keeping accurate records?
How should you operate the payroll? What about RTI and auto enrolment?
Those are just some of the regulatory and vital business requirements that you’ll need to implement on a regular basis. It can be time consuming, stressful stuff. Worse still, get it wrong and you’re likely to face significant fines for non compliance.
Imagine, your business concept is gaining traction, your number of customers is growing, the money is starting to come in and then you’re hit with a big fine by HMRC for errors in your tax return. Outsourced accounting services would likely have prevented such as issue occurring.
Best not let all that time and effort go to waste, give those tasks to people who will always ensure they happen in a punctual and correct manner.
4. Free you up to do what you do best
If your understanding of accounts is limited, you may find that you’re spending substantial amounts of time managing them and you may even feel like you’re losing track of who owes you money and which suppliers need to be paid.
Even if you do have an understanding of accounting, you need to weigh up if it’s worth what you may be sacrificing in your business to spend time and effort dealing with the finances. Remember, time is money and money is time. Trawling through bank statements, invoices and receipts can be a major distraction from the efficient functioning of your start-up.
You could be earning more money allocating your time to the daily running of the organisation by simply hiring an accountant to do this work. If managing the finances isn’t one of your strengths, then stop wasting so much time on it and start focusing on what you’re passionate about – the success of your business.
5. Guide your strategic direction through goals and budgets
It can be far too easy to lose direction of your goals and budget when starting out – this is where your accountant can help as an advisor. They’ll be able to give you advice on your business plan and budget. Not only that, they can also help you navigate through the maze of deductions, the requirements of VAT and PAYE and the procedures involved.
The best accountants can also provide relevant and timely information on industry developments and legal matters. This may be through regular communication with you directly, via their newsletter and blog or a combination of both. Be sure to check this out when considering which firm of advisors to select. After all, it’s important to know you’re up to date and complying with all the latest rules and changes.
When you’ll need to choose an accountant
In the early days you need to consider if and when it suits your needs to hire an accountant. Given all the compliance and regulatory requirements of doing businesses these days, some entrepreneurs feel more confident having a financial advisor on side from the start.
It may even help you to seek the advice of an accountant at the planning stage prior to launch because a good advisor can challenge your assumptions based on their experience and assist with your financial forecasting. Other business owners are successful at managing their accounts because they have a financial background and it’s their area of focus.
Alas some don’t succeed because they can’t prioritise specific business tasks due to drowning in all the administration and regulation. If you feel overwhelmed with it all and you’re sinking, then it may be advisable to seek the help of a business advisor sooner rather than later.
Carefully weigh up both the benefits and investment required. Then assess what is right for your business.
This post was created on 17/10/2016 and updated on 30/06/2020.
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