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Five questions to ask your accountant

An experienced accountant helps keep your finances organized, but when choosing an accountant, there are at least five questions you need to ask:

1. How can you assist me in improving my financial health?

An accountant may not provide the full investment and financial advice that is available from a financial advisor, but he or she will provide advice that can improve your finances. They can help you save tax by making sure that you claim for all allowable expenses and you do not pay more tax then you need to. They can also advise you on your spending.

It can be costly to make mistakes in preparing financial documents. An accountant can save you time filling in complex documents and make sure you are not making errors.

2. What are your qualifications?

Legally, anyone can call themselves an accountant. Some people that call themselves accountants are little more than bookkeepers with basic financial knowledge but may not have the expertise to deal with complex tax issues.

An accountant registered with the UK Chartered Accountancy bodies will have undertaken extensive training and have high level accountancy qualifications.

3. Have you been able to help people in similar situations?

There are many types of people and businesses who need an accountant, including sole traders, limited companies, partnerships, freelancers, and contractors. An accountant’s clients are subject to confidentiality agreements, so an accountant will not give you a list of their other clients, but they should be able to tell you in broad terms the types of people they have helped. If an accountant has not worked with clients who share a similar situation to you, they may not have expert knowledge based on previous experience of working with clients like you.

4. Are you accessible?

You want your accountant to be accessible on the phone, by email or in person. Though an associate or colleague can handle some issues, you need to know that you can speak to your accountant directly when needed.

You may need to have regular scheduled meetings. These could be face to face, on the telephone or via a video messaging service such as Skype.

5. How can you help with tax?

A major concern for anyone running a business is tax, as there are VAT, income tax and business tax commitments. An accountant will help you prepare the right figures to fill in VAT and annual tax returns. They can set up payroll systems so that you deduct the correct income tax from employees.

To help with both tax and business accounting, an accountant should be able to recommend the best software suitable for your business. Good software can make it easier to fill in tax returns.

An accountant will find legal ways to reduce your tax bill and identify all expenses that can be claimed against your tax liability. A good accountant saves you money and stress through saving time, preventing costly mistakes, and reducing your tax bill. To find the best accountant, ask them many questions until you are satisfied you have found one you are happy to work with.

Posted by Louise
September 10, 2018

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