If you’re considering a freelance career or starting up a business, then you’ll have a lot of potential expenses to consider. But before you decide that an accountant is an expense you can delay until tax return time, if not indefinitely, STOP!
Getting an accountant on board on day one can save you money – and time. Here are our seven reasons to hire an accountant right from the start:
- They can help you decide on the best legal structure for your enterprise.
Will it be best for you to set up a limited company, or should you register as a sole trader? What kind of partnership would be best, and how can you protect your personal assets and property, particularly is your business partner is your spouse? What happens financially if you employ a family member or make your home your workplace? An accountant can explain the options and advise you on the best fit for you, your business type and your future plans. These decisions can affect your tax returns, your liability and even your council tax on your home, so professional advice is invaluable.
- They can help with your business plan.
Your accountant will know all the financial details that need to be included in your business plan, and how to calculate and present financial projections. Their experience will help you formulate a business plan that gives a realistic, clearly-presented overview of where your business is headed and its potential returns and profits. This is not only a road-map for you but an important document for potential investors, franchisees or affiliates.
- They can help you apply for finance.
A good accountant will know about all the options available to you, including grants from institutions, local councils and the Government, and loans from a variety of lender types. They can also help you gather and present the financial information that grant and loan providers will require. Without robust statistics and accurate projections, you will struggle to convince finance providers that your business is worthy of their confidence or investment.
- They can provide book-keeping services.
It’s easy to see this as a luxury, but using professional book-keeping services from the start removes the stress of worrying about whether your financial documentation is in order, and makes the lead up to your tax return deadline an oasis of calm rather than a period of angst and panic! It’s a weight –and a task – off your shoulders, and usually far cheaper than employing a qualified assistant to do it for you. Have you really got time to monitor your finances in real time and ensure everything is properly recorded for HMRC – as well as run and promote your business?
- They can help with the rules, regulations and returns.
Business registration, VAT returns, tax returns, P60s and P45s for employees, what financial figures have to be reported and when – these are all things your accountant can either handle for you or advise you on, according to your preference. Rather than worrying if you’ve got it right when deadlines come round, use accountancy services from the start so that you know your business is compliant with all the rules and regulations – and that there will be no HMRC penalties for late or incorrect tax returns.
- They can save you money.
Your accountant can advise you on allowable expenses, which major purchases and services you can claim against tax and how, and if you should be registered for VAT now, later or never! They can also alert you to any areas where savings could be made or your business is ‘leaking’ money. This type of advice can save you a fortune.
- They can help when it’s time to expand.
Most businesses and freelance careers take a while to get off the ground. But you may be one of the lucky ones; offers of work, long-term contracts or bulk orders for your products may start flooding in far earlier than you expected or dared to hope. Perhaps you need to employ staff or sub-contract some of your work? Maybe you’ve already outgrown your converted garage and need an office or extra storage space? An accountant can help you with the necessary paperwork and financial arrangements as you expand and grow your business.
So even if you’ve not settled on the name of your business yet, let alone found the right premises for it, put accountancy services on the top of your ‘research’ list – because you will find they help with many of the items written below it!