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