So often, we hear a lot of preconceived accountant misconceptions and worries from clients. Our aim is always to dispel really quickly as part of our service.
Here are some things we wish were widely known:
1. The word accountant isn’t regulated
Did you know that the word ‘Accountant’ isn’t regulated.
Part of the reason is that it is such a wide term that applies to many roles.
As a result, you have accountants with wildly different expertise.
There are professional bodies, which many accountants will be part of.
In other words, they have to have passed exams to be able to be a member. They are required to uphold standards, along with Continued Professional Development (CPD). As a result, you should in theory see a higher standard of knowledge and work, although this isnt always the case…
The main reason why as a client you would want your accountant to be a member of a registered body is that if they fail to meet those professional standards, you have a line of complaint which can lead to fines and ultimately removal from the body.
2. The UK tax laws are in excess of 22,000 pages(!)
The fines for getting things wrong can be hefty.
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) are very open with encouraging individuals to submit their own tax return via their free online system. The amount of tax knowledge you need to be sure that you are a) doing it legally (and correctly) and b) not missing out on tax deductions is not so well communicated.
We meet daily business missing out and more tax deductions through lack of knowledge.
If you make a mistake, the penalty can be up to 100% of the tax owed, along with interest on any amounts!
3. Technology can save you a tremendous amount of time.
Paperwork and book-keeping is never top of most business people’s to-do lists. As a result, keeping the time in doing this to a minimum is very important. Whether you outsource this function or not, using technology such as cloud accounting software and receipt capture applications can save significant time, so you can get on and grow your business.
One of the great setups is to have a bank account solely for business, that links to your cloud software (like Xero or QuickBooks), that also links to your receipt app (such as Receipt Bank or Auto Entry). With this set up, you can invoice your customers direct from the cloud, snap your receipts with your phone so you can categorise them, and finally match them to your bank transactions all in one place.
4. Don’t let fear put you off.
Misconception and fear of overspending on accountants.
Fear of judgment by others.
Accountancy should be an investment.
The tax and time savings achieved should easily outweigh the cost. Like most things in life, paying more for a better all round service is likely to wield better results. With this in mind, you shouldn’t ever be overspending.
It’s difficult to compare like for like between accountants as the service levels can vary; as a result it’s often not worth comparing your costs to your friends’ accountant – simply ask your accountant to demonstrate the money and time they save you.
If you are happy with this and the service you receive then the judgement or comparison of others is not worth spending the time on.
Of course if you aren’t happy with your service or savings….. There are a ton of good accountants.
5. We won’t judge you about your debt levels or business challenges
Sharing your personal or business income information can be a touchy subject for many and as a result the relationship between accountant and client needs to be one where trust and openness are key elements.
We meet people who are very embarrassed about their debt levels. Please be assured, however bad your debt is, or has been – we’ve definitely seen worse!
We don’t judge, ever.
Investing in an accountant to help manage your business finances means that you are attending to something with may not be a strength, and we’d love to help.
6. Accountants are human.
We like a laugh. Some of us like football. Some like knitting. A few like painting toy soldiers. Some like a drink…..
Here at Heelan Associates we are all normal(ish), sociable individuals. It’s so important you find an accountant you like and trust. The majority of us are just standard, happy people – honest!
Read this and want to chat? Please get in touch with the team.