To help you compare accountants effectively, try this simple checklist which you can use when talking to prospective accountants.
1. Is the accountant a contractor specialist, or an accountant which has a significant number of contractor clients?
2. When was the firm established?
3. How many qualified staff does the firm employ?
4. How many contractors are assigned to each account manager?
1. How much does the company charge for setting up a new limited company?
2. Any charges for the initial tax registrations (VAT, Payroll, Corporation Tax)?
3. Will the accountant set up a bank account for your company (if required)?
4. Are there any other initial charges on top of the ongoing monthly fee?
5. Are there any penalties or tie-in clauses if the contractor wishes to leave?
6. What are the hourly or one-off fees for completing accounts from a previous accountant?
1. What monthly fees does the accountant charge?
2. If there are several fee bands, is it clear what is included in each band?
1. What tasks will the accountant carry out on behalf of your company? High level tasks typically include:
- Monthly book-keeping
- Administering your company payroll
- Calculating your VAT liabilities each quarter
- Quarterly management accounts
- Year end company accounts
- Completing your PAYE returns (P35, P14, P11d)
- Filing your Annual Return (AR01) with Companies House
- Filing your Corporation Tax return (CT600)
- Dealing with the authorities on an ongoing basis (HMRC, Companies House)
- Dividend planning advice
2. Will the accountant deal with all correspondence with HMRC and Companies House?
3. Are there additional charges if the company has more than one employee?
4. Will the accountant deal with any tax enquiries. If not, what charges apply?
1. How does the accountant capture the contractor’s data on an ongoing basis?
2. Does the accountant have an online accounting system? If so, how extensive is it?
3. Can you use an existing accountancy software package, or service?
4. Can you see a demo of the accounting system before signing up?
1. Does the monthly fee include any IR35 contract reviews?
2. Are IR35 contract reviews carried out by employment status specialists?
3. Does the accountant provide any insurances within the monthly fee?
4. Will they complete your personal tax return, and will this service cost extra?
5. Will they provide you with a registered office address, and will this service cost extra?
6. Will the accountant provide references for mortgage companies or lettings agents?