How to find the right contractor accountant

Bewildered by the choice of accountants vying for your business? Use our site to make sure you choose the right service provider to suit your own individual needs.

This microsite is run by a small team of ex-contractors, with expert input from qualified accountants where needed. The information we provide is based on our experiences of being contractors ourselves, and publishing industry news for over a decade.

Finding the right fit

Rather than picking an accountant purely on price, there are a number of important factors you should consider, including reputation within the contracting community, the services they include in the monthly fee, and how accommodating they are if you are moving from another contractor accountancy firm.

As in life, one accountant may suit one contractor, but not another. You may want to hire a large firm with thousands of clients and an efficient, but impersonal service, or go for a smaller specialist operation. For this reason, we recommend talking to, and even visiting prospective firms. Also, the benefits of a personal recommendations from other contractors can’t be understated.

accounting for contractors 

The state of the market

The contractor accountancy market has never been more saturated. In the late 1990s, the industry was dominated by a few large firms. However with a simple Google search, you can now find literally hundreds of prospective accountancy firms, all fighting for limited company clients.

It is a lucrative market for accountancy firms, as most contractors tend to have very simple accounting needs, which can be easily met thanks to the rapid growth of online accounting.

Communication with HMRC, Companies House, and other organisations has also become far simpler in recent years, meaning that operating costs have fallen for specialist firms.

Are average accountancy fees too high?

Interestingly, since the team behind ITCA started contracting back in 1998, average monthly contractor accountancy fees have remained fairly constant, and have not kept up with inflation.

Average annual fees also tend to be significantly lower than those charged to small businesses.

The arrival of web technology, and intense competition between accountancy providers are likely to keep average fees competitive for the foreseeable future.

Try our tips for choosing the best contractor accountant here.

How accurate are ‘online accountant reviews’?

Being more web-savvy than probably any other group of professional workers, the first port of call for IT contractors looking for reviews of prospective contractor accountancy providers is most likely to be Google. In the absence of a personal recommendation, this would seem to be the most logical place to start.

However, from our experience, we say that contractors should be vigilant when reading online contractor accountant reviews, and should rely more on pre-Internet methods of drawing up a shortlist of possible providers.

If you are able to talk to other contractors on your current project, or re-connect with past colleagues, ask them what their opinions are. It is always true that there is no such thing as a ‘one size fits all’ accountant, but you will soon find out which firms are poorly regarded, and which are worthy of further investigation.

If you’re thinking about setting up a company, try Limited Company Help for in-depth advice and guides.