Boring but important, having an accountant firm to make sure the books are HMRC-proof is important.
I don’t know why but I’ve found it hard to pick good ones, and harder than I expected to find, research and choose a firm.
Things that you need to keep in mind
- Business insurance (professional indemnity etc), often bundled but needs to happen
- Accountancy software - some use their own but that makes moving firms harder, so I’d use something separate. Some accountants bundle the fee.
- Xero - works but not very useable, seems to be built around ye-olde accountancy practices rather than what’s easy to use.
- FreeAgent - much more useable, good enough for a contracting business
- Company registration (if you’re just starting), some accountants will do it for you, or you can set a company up yourself
Things your accountants can/should do for you
- Submit yearly accounts to companies house
- Help you set tax efficient salary
- Make sure your accounts in freeagent are accurate
- Help you understand your P&L (profit and loss)
- Submit your vat returns, and help you make sure it’s right
- Personal tax return prep (plus spouse), some charge extra
- Make sure you’re claiming the correct expenses, notably home-office allowance
- Check your accounts are in line with current laws and tax laws.
Some also will do:
- Bundled FreeAgent subscription
- Company setup
- Umbrella company stuff
- IR35 assessment/protection
- IPSE membership
- Provide a registered address to use that’s not your home, and forward any mail
- Business insurance
- Registered company address
Contract accountant list & reviews
I’ve asked around my network and these are the ones I’ve gathered so far. I’ve put them in a table, added links to trustpilot reviews and made a note of current (at time of writing) review scores and counts to help decide.