It can’t be denied that running a limited company is a rewarding way to make the most of your contracting career. From increased flexibility and tax efficiency, to the chance to be your own boss, there are many reasons to make the leap and go it alone.
Of course, these extra benefits don’t come for free. In return, you’ll need to carry out additional responsibilities that could take time out of your busy WorkStyle.
That’s why you might want to think about choosing a specialist accountant, such as ClearSky Contractor Accounting, to lighten the load and let you get on with what you do best. But with so many out there, how do you choose the right one?
To help, we’ve created this handy guide that outlines what you should look for in an accountant:
Expertise in your sector
It’s a good idea to look for an accountant who has lots of experience in your chosen sector or industry. That’s because an engineer may have different accounting requirements to an IT professional. By choosing a provider that’s a specialist in your field, you’ll be sure you receive a tailored service to suit your own circumstances.
You should also consider working with an accountant that has experience dealing with a business that’s a similar size to your own. After all, handling a small limited company is completely different to providing accountancy services to a large organisation.
You may find that some smaller accountants will only offer a ‘one size fits all package’. At ClearSky Contractor Accounting, we know that everybody’s different, so you’ll want to work with someone that tailors their services to your own individual needs.
If you choose a company that offers you a dedicated personal accountant, such as ourselves, you’ll know that you’re getting the best possible advice based on your own circumstances. You’ll also be able to build up a rapport and benefit from one-to-one advice whenever you need it.
Value for money
While many accountants claim to offer a flat-rate service, you may end up getting a nasty surprise in the form of hidden charges. Others will charge you by the hour, meaning your costs could soon mount up – something that might be a bit of a worry if you’re new to contracting and feel you need additional support.
It’s also a good idea to read the small print. While we know that you’re unlikely to want to do this given your busy WorkStyle, some accountants may lock you in to a long-term contract if you don’t pay attention.
Meanwhile, some providers will offer you lots of different services you simply don’t need or want, and charge you for the privilege. To avoid an unwelcome bill, make a clear list of your requirements and find an accountant that matches these perfectly.
To make sure you get the best value for money, you should think about working with an accountant that offers fixed fees. This will let you effectively budget your outgoings – something that you may find particularly useful as a new contractor.
As a contractor, you’re unlikely to have the time in your busy WorkStyle to visit a high street accountant – probably why online-only firms have enjoyed a spike in popularity in recent years.
But what will you do if something goes wrong or you have a query? Technology’s great, but we understand that the lack of a human touch can sometimes be frustrating.
That’s why you should think about choosing an accountant that gives you the best of both worlds – namely an online portal coupled with a personal and tailored service. This should fit perfectly with your WorkStyle and offer peace of mind that help is never more than a phone call away.
If you’re just starting out as a contractor, you may feel that you need somebody to look after everything for you. As you get more experienced, it’s possible that you’ll be happier taking on more responsibilities yourself.
On the flip side, you may decide that as a new contractor, your list of requirements is fairly short. As your business grows, you might find that your needs will increase as well.
By choosing an accountant that offers a full range of packages, you’ll get to select the one that best suits you. As your needs change, a flexible provider will let you upscale or downscale your level of service with ease.
This means you can build a strong working relationship with your accountant, something that may not be possible with an ‘off-the-shelf’ provider.
It might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s a good idea to find an accountant with the skills and expertise you need. Checking for accreditations with professional accountancy bodies, such as ACCA and AAT, is a good place to start.
Do your research
When it comes to something as important as choosing an accountant, it’s a good idea to carry out detailed research. Make a list of the services you’ll need and be clear about the price you want to pay.
You should also ask your fellow contractors for recommendations and weed out providers who have a poor record of service.
Why ClearSky Contractor Accounting?
At ClearSky Contractor Accounting, we want to make running your business as hassle-free as possible. We understand that as a busy contractor, you’ll want a provider that’s with you all the way through your career.
We get that a contractor’s WorkStyle isn’t just 9-5, so neither are we. Our online portal lets you manage your accounts any time day or night, at a time to suit you. What’s more, our dedicated team of experts is always on hand whenever you need them thanks to our extended opening hours.
There are no hidden charges with us, just a flat monthly rate. We also offer a full range of packages to suit your individual needs and circumstances.