Do I need an accountant?

Given the large amount of administration required in running your company, you will need to find a good accountant to manage this work on your behalf. You can either hire an accountant for a fixed monthly fee or use them as and when you need them to carry out certain tasks. You should outweigh the positives and the negatives when making this decision.

Typical services performed by an accountant would include some or all of the following - make sure you check what is included in your monthly fee (if that is the option you are opting for) before signing up:

  • Payroll administration
  • Processing of PAYE / NI payments to the Inland Revenue
  • Preparation of Company Year End Accounts
  • Personal Taxation - completing your self-assessment forms
  • Completion of VAT returns
  • Completion of P11D, P35, P60 and other forms on your behalf
  • Tax Planning Advice (e.g. Dividend Planning)

Make sure you find out what fee includes - beware of hidden extra charges. When signing a contract and hiring an accountant you will need to make sure all the services required and the payments that need to be made are all transparent. Additionally, make sure both parties are happy with the cost and the services being provided.

Many freelancers have tried several accountants over the years, before settling for one they feel comfortable with. At some stage, you may feel the need to move accountants for whatever reason - the best time to do this is after a company yearend since most outstanding paperwork should have been completed at this stage.

If you have decided to trade through an Umbrella Company you would only need an accountant to prepare your Personal Tax Return at year end, and your umbrella Company should be able to recommend one to you.

When it comes to choosing an accountant there are certain things you need to keep in mind. For example, choosing a freelancer accountant would be ideal as they would have relevant experience and insight.

More on starting up as a freelancer and freelancer accountants.