Why all accountants are not the same

Why all accountants are not the same

It’s difficult for us to give you advice about choosing an accountant, since we are accountants. But one of the things that is important to consider when you are looking for an accountant is the element of connection that you have with that accountant.

Just about any accountant is capable of delivering you a set of accounts, a tax return, a VAT return. But is that all you get from your accountant – and what is more, is that what you want to get?

There are a few types of accountants from which you can choose. We thought we would give you a little detail on these types of accountants, and let you know which one we are. Because all accountants can do the work, but that doesn’t mean they are the same.

The Free Accountant

This is usually your brother, or brother-in-law, or friend’s cousin who either needs a few more clients, or owes you one. Yes, you get your accounts for free, but you don’t get any extras. Your accountant isn’t really on the phone checking in with you about your business numbers, asking why profits have gone down the last month. Or giving you advice about that new car you want to buy. This works okay when your business is small, or your needs are not complex, but it’s a guarantee that the free accountant is going to miss something.

The Cheap Accountant

Many small business owners go from the Free Accountant to the Cheap Accountant. You are ready to spend the money, but then you are horrified to discover that if you want the accounts, tax, payroll, VAT, and some monthly management reporting, you are going to be spending several grand. “This accountant can do it for a few hundred pounds,” you discover, and it’s true. But the Cheap Accountant is very similar to the Free Accountant, so be careful. Eventually you will grow out of the Cheap Accountant too.

The Bookkeeper

This person is not a qualified accountant, but does almost all the work leading up to getting your accounts and taxes done. They’ll record transactions, check journal entries, make sure your VAT return is being prepared properly. All you have to do is submit it to the HMRC yourself, or find a Free or Cheap Accountant to do it for you (see above). While this can help, be very careful. If the person is not qualified as an accountant, they may miss some major things when it comes to your accounts – and you’re the one who will pay the price.

The Big Firm Accountant

Perhaps you decide that, with more complex needs, you require a big firm to work with you on a regular basis. You have international tax questions, or unique property issues. Unfortunately often with this kind of firm you are just a small client, a process in a large processing plant, and what is more you are charged by the hour. Your bill seems a reasonable amount in the first year, but then after you have asked several complex questions and gotten unique tax advice, it has suddenly tripled in amount.

The Small Local Firm

This is our category. We are a smaller firm, with a few members of staff, and the ability to treat you as an individual and make sure that you get advice that is not generic, but is suited especially to you and your business (or charity, or other kind of organisation). Now, the small local firm is not for everyone – you might want a firm that has 50 members of staff, or you might still want to go the cheap route. But if personalised service from someone who actually cares about you and your business is what suits you, then we’re exactly what you need.

There are other categories of accountant – The Cuts-Corners Accountant and The Illegal Accountant among others – but we wouldn’t even recommend thinking about them.

We look forward to connecting with you as a Small Local Accountancy Firm!