It’s a question many businesses and individuals ask themselves. It’s another expense and is it something you could go without? Equally, you may be wondering whether your business is big enough to really need one. There are many different questions as well as scenarios to base your answer to this question. Ultimately it comes down to the task, your business and how comfortable you are with completing.
We’ll take you through a number of different scenarios and provide you with benefits around why an accountant may be useful.
Internal vs Outsourcing Your Finance Function
Depending on the size of your business, you may be in a position where you’re deciding whether to hire a full time accountant or conduct the accountancy tasks yourself internally vs outsourcing.
Owner-managed businesses will often conduct these tasks themselves internally as a way of saving money, however a key thought you need to consider is how many hours it takes you to complete this task and how much does that equate to? In many cases hiring a specialist can actually save you money (and time!), they’re able to get the task done quicker at a set price and you are able to focus on other tasks, including growing your business and bringing in more additional revenue than you’re paying for these outsourced services. It’s very much about opportunity cost, not just physical cost.
For many small businesses, hiring a full time accountant just isn’t an option, nor required, so it tends to be quite common for the business owner to also be the bookkeeper, process the weekly payments and file the paperwork, then use an accountant at year-end.
Many leading software providers such as Xero and Quickbooks enable your bookkeeping to be completed remotely, with an app on your phone to record all invoices digitally – a completely paperless process with no more files boxed up in the spare bedroom! With this in mind, your accountants can have an up to date awareness of what is happening in your business and provide recommendations and solutions to support you with the advice being relevant and timely, not just at year-end.
As a business, there are many different types of scenarios where you might want an accountant:
1. Tax Returns
Dealing with the government & HMRC can be a daunting task and having someone who does this day in day out with the right experience is definitely a plus. Ultimately HMRC say it’s the tax-payers responsibility, be it company or individual to get things right, so if you’re not so confident with these things then peace of mind can count for a lot.
2. Applying For Business Loans & Grants
Using an accountant when applying for a business loan or grant can help increase your chances of being granted. Your accountant, using good software, can provide a better business case with strong evidence of facts and figures. In addition to this, they’ll be able to answer any questions you receive from the bank as well as sourcing the right loan/grant options for you. A good accountant should have a strong awareness of financing options.
3. Business Growth
When your business starts to grow, an accountant can help support you during this growth transition by supporting you with: payroll, employee tax management, property tax and utility payments. These are tasks that can free up your time.
In addition to this, they are able to look at and provide insights about your cash flow, stock management and pricing.
4. Buying or Selling A Business
For both situations, whether you are selling your business or looking to purchase one, this is a specialist area an accountant will be able to analyse the business, outlining clear insights about the financial state of the opportunity, ensuring you are fully aware and an external valuation.
5. Company Legal Structure
There are many different types of legal structures which are dependent on a number of factors. An accountant can explain each legal structure and help you choose the most tax efficient option which best suits you and your circumstances.
In addition to the above scenarios, there are a number of financial tasks that you may prefer an accountant to conduct for you, again saving you time and avoiding any possibilities of errors:
- Updating you and your business on the latest tax laws
- Preparing statutory accounts
- Company secretarial duties such as recording changes in shareholding
- Managing the weekly or monthly payroll
Choosing an accountant to take care of these tasks for you, can save you time (and money!), provide you with peace of mind and open you up to advice.
Questions To Ask Yourself
- Would you consider your business and tax affairs simple?
- Do you trade through a Limited Company?
- Do you feel confident around your accounts?
- Are you planning on running payroll or becoming VAT registered?