Choosing a Contractor Accountant

neil Starting Up

Your choice of accountant can have a profound effect on your experience as a contractor, so it’s important to make an informed, deliberate decision. It’s all too common for new contractors to try to manage on their own, or go with a high-street accountant who may not
have the expertise and experience to advise them properly. Starting out in contracting is hectic enough, without trying to be an expert in another field as well.

What criteria should you base your choice on?

The main thing to look for is a specialist contractor accountant. A specialist will be familiar with all relevant legislation and with how contractors work, so you can be sure you’re getting the right advice and important factors are not being overlooked. Once you’ve established that you’re dealing with a contractor specialist, it’s a matter of finding the “best fit” for you and how you work. Often this is a matter of how it feels to interact with your accountant, rather than working down checklist, but to here are some pointers to help you narrow it down.

Experience and credentials

You’re going to rely on your accountant’s advice, so it makes sense to establish that you are, in fact, dealing with a trustworthy expert. Look for experienced accountants with a history of success in the contracting sector. Do other contractors recommend them, or are they losing out to firms with better service? Have they won any industry awards? How long has their team been working with contractors?

What kind of fee structure would you prefer?

Traditionally, accountants charge for their time. This would mean you’ll pay for the time they spend answering your emails and talking to you on the phone as well as working on your accounts.

However, it’s becoming more common for contractor accountants to offer fixed fee services, often giving you unlimited access to your accountant at no additional cost. This can make a real difference, particularly when you’re starting out in contracting and you’re more likely to need ad-hoc advice. It can be useful to know exactly what the cost will be in advance, as variable fees can be difficult to plan for. A fixed fee structure also makes it easier for your accountant to get to know you and your business, which in turn means the service you receive is likely to be better and more personal.

Do you need bespoke advice?

You might be experienced enough to know how you should structure your finances to give you the best chance of reaching your personal goals. Maybe you’re familiar with how the expenses rules apply to your situation and you’re confident you’re claiming correctly and not missing anything. Maybe you’re even sure you know how upcoming legislative changes will affect you and your strategy in the year to come.

However, if you’re not this expert and confident, you’re likely to benefit from bespoke advice. If this is the case you’ll need a single, dedicated contact, who will take the time to get to know you and your business. It’s important that they understand your particular goals as well as your financial situation and how it fits in the legislative landscape. In short, an accountant who value their relationship with you and not just your fees.

If you would like to speak to us how our services can help you, give us a call on 01525 303984 or email christian@integroaccounting.com.