How to find a good UK accountant for your limited company
Finding a qualified and licensed accountant to help you meet the accounting requirements of your company can save you from costly HMRC filing mistakes
Finding a good accountant for your UK-based limited company has become an absolute necessity in today’s increasingly complex business regulatory environment.
In addition to helping you meet the various tax requirements and deadlines that are set by HMRC, a good accountant can also assist you in other areas of running your limited company, such as business planning and growth.
What is the right price to pay for a good accountant?
Generally speaking, whether you are looking for an accountant to hire, or any other service or product to buy, price is an important factor that will determine your choice.
Many limited company owners and directors just look for a “cheap” accountant, believing that a cheap accountant is a good accountant. As a result, they are more than happy to pay, for example, a ridiculously low annual or monthly fee to an accountant to have their statutory accounts filed, payroll prepared, etc.
While it can be possible to spot a bargain and close a deal with an accountant at a relatively low price, you should be careful, because you may end up paying more than you originally expected.
Personally, I don’t see any reason why a fully qualified, experienced, and therefore, much sought-after accountant, who knows exactly what to do and can provide guaranteed results, would be tempted to underprice his or her services, especially when the standard fees that are charged by other qualified accountants for similar services are high.
A low price could result in nasty surprises, because, in the end of the day, you get what you pay for. However, when it comes to taxation, there is no room for surprises and errors, since they can be very costly.
Whether you like it or not, when it comes to setting the price, an accountant, as a supplier of services, and especially when he or she is fully accredited by a professional body and has many years of experience, has more power than you, as a buyer of those services, because you need him or her more than they need you; it is hard to find another accountant of an equally high professional caliber, and if you finally manage to find one, you will discover that you have to pay the same price.
How to check if an accountant is licensed
Let’s say that you decide to hire a very cheap accountant to file your accounts, and he or she finally files them with errors.
In order to avoid this situation, you should always check whether the accountant that you are going to hire is properly licensed, and not just qualified, which means that he or she should also have the required relevant experience, on top of qualifications.
You can easily do this by visiting the websites of professional accounting bodies, where you can check whether an individual is a member of a body, as well as find out the level of professional qualifications, skills, and experience held by that person.
Do you need an accountant for your limited company?
If you run a small sole proprietorship, you may not need an accountant, especially if you have knowledge of book-keeping and you can do your accounts yourself.
If you run a limited company, however, you are strongly advised to use the services of a licensed accountant, because, even if you are proficient with basic accounting tasks, there may be regulatory issues and changes in taxation laws that you are not aware of or lack the skills to handle them properly.
Another example where a professional accountant is definitely required is when a non-UK resident forms a UK-based Ltd company. It is highly likely that this person will have limited knowledge of the UK’s business taxation and regulatory system or miss essential information that will make it impossible for him or her to meet the legal requirements that result from his position as a limited company owner or director.
If a non-UK resident sets up a limited company through a company formation agent, the latter can usually recommend an accounting firm that can take care of the company’s affairs.
My personal experience using a chartered accountant for my limited company
I set up a UK-based limited company as a non-resident, in order to provide translation services, as I intended to move to the UK at some point. Unfortunately, I had to change my plans due to Brexit and the coronavirus, and finally my company was struck off and dissolved voluntarily.
In order to file my annual accounts for the first (and only) year that the company was active, I carried out an extensive online search, since I was not currently based in the UK, although I used to study and work there for periods in the past.
Although I managed to find a number of individual accountants and accounting firms that ranked high in Google search results, and the services of most of them were reasonably priced, I was concerned about the end result, i.e. I didn’t want to end up paying even a seemingly small amount of money to get literally nothing, meaning that my company’s accounts would not be properly filed.
After a long search, I was lucky enough to find RJ Accountancy Limited, a company of chartered accountants based in Woodhall Spa, UK. Actually, as soon as I visited the company’s website, I noticed the logotype of the ICAEW Chartered Accountants professional body, which made me feel sure that this was the right place to find a professional accountant who would be able to help me with filing my annual accounts and performing other accounting tasks.
Overall, the service that I received was of the highest quality, and was based on meeting professional standards and complying with regulatory requirements, as well as offering tips of advice on other issues, such as dissolving the company.
The price that I paid was very good value for money, and I would definitely recommend this company to anyone who wants to find a professionally accredited and helpful accounting practice to help them with their accounting.
By the way, I haven’t received any compensation to write a positive review about this company, and what I have written in this article results purely from my own experience that I would like to share with others online.
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