Why is it important to have an accountant?
There is no legal requirement for most businesses to have an accountant. The exceptions are those that are required by law to have what is known as an audit. The requirement for an audit is for businesses with a turnover in excess of £6.5million or assets of £3.26million.
Most businesses benefit from the advice, experience and wisdom of having an accountant to look after their financial affairs. Not least if it is simply to ensure they operate legally and to help minimise any tax liabilities they may have. Certainly having an accountant with whom you have a good working relationship should help in the success of your business.
Working with you, your accountant will provide advice and support on your idea, business structure, funding and on-going bookkeeping. They will also prepare your year-end accounts, personal and business Tax Returns. Your accountant will be on hand to provide on-going business and tax advice, so you can rest assured that you can concentrate on your business rather than worrying about any legislation changes or looming deadlines.
When people refer to an “accountant”, they generally mean a Chartered Accountant, operating in practice and looking after peoples’ businesses. However, the term is not protected so anyone can set themselves up as an accountant without being qualified and this is where the difficulties lie. Non- qualified accountants can advertise online and the unsuspecting client will never know. As the individual doesn’t need to be qualified they can undercut the qualified accountant who has to be regulated by a professional body, undertake many hours of obligatory training to remain up to date, and carry expensive professional insurance which the non-qualified does not.
We are not claiming that all qualified accountants are excellent and all non-qualified’s are not; nothing is ever that straight-forward. However, it is our opinion that you are, in almost all cases, going to be better off with a professional that is qualified and up to date than one who is not; the former may need to charge more but in the long run the tax savings you will enjoy should outweigh any difference in price. If you want to tell if someone is a qualified chartered accountant, just look for the ACCA or ICAEW logo on their website.