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Accountants.

Hi, I am a sole trader, no staff, not vat registered. I keep paper receipts and a record of my income. I don't have accounting software or spreadsheets. ( I'm quite old fashioned and like to keep things simple). I currently do my own self assessment but am now wondering if I should use an accountant in the hope they may be able to make better use of tax allowances, investments etc and maybe save me a few bob. Or even have a better way to structure my business.  Have any of you made the switch to using accountants and found it to be beneficial? Or is it really not necessary for a sole trader?  Regards, Martin.

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  • Definitely beneficial, if only for all the extra allowances - laundry, Internet & phone line, office rental etc etc an accountant will work in to your accounts. 

    If your day to day accounts are in good order (sounds like they are) I doubt it will cost you much either.

    You will save more than you spend.

    I'll admit we've (we being my wife and I) never done self assessment, always used an accountant, but we do our own book keeping etc like you, and hand it over to him to do his bits. 

    Ask around any local traders who you know for accountants. 

  • I'm in the same position as you. Only into my 2nd year of trading by myself and would like to get an accountant. 

    I'm very naive to it all so would appreciate if someone could shed light on what to expect from an accountant and what I have to do i.e do I give them all my receipts at the end of the year, do they look through my accounts first and then tell me what to collect, how to they charge? What's a decent rate? 

    any info is appreciated 

  • PRO

    I put all expenses and income onto a spread sheet and my utility bills and council tax etc and just give it to my accountant on a memory stick. I save all receipts but the accountant has never asked for them.

    • Ah ok. Thanks for that Dave

  • PRO

    I have had an accountant for years now and never grudged them a single penny of their bill.  It has been money well spent.  When I first started I kept a spreadsheet of expenses like you, but as soon as things got slightly more complicated I got professional help.  The accountancy fees are basically (in my case) completely offset by the allowances claimed - many of which you will not know about or properly understand.

    I now use Xero for my day-to-day bookkeeping, which, when set up correctly, massively simplifies your year-end and gives key business information at the click of a mouse.  You store images of your receipts in the software which instantly saves a job and filing cabinet space. Reconciliation is a doodle. Sending 50 invoices to customers at the end of the month only takes 20 minutes.  You should be aware that at some point in the future you will be required to use software for your accounts.  You can read about digital tax here:- https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/making-tax-digital/overv...

    I believe the current date for Making Tax Digital is from April 2024 but it is possible it could shift again. By using Xero I think I am already MTD compliant.  This means I have nothing to worry about when MTD actually starts.  

    You say your accounts are very simple, but you might find that your new accountant wants you to use software and I would suggest you give serious consideration to doing so if for no other reason than to be much more confident with the use of accounting software when the 2024 tax year arrives.  Most of the common accounting packages have versions for phones tablets and PC's. 

    Best of luck

  • Hi

     

    Ive been in business from 1999 i use spreadsheet have always had an accountant keep my accounts simple he charged me this year £350 including vat well worth the cost saves me a lot more each year

  • PRO

    Couldn't imagine running a business without some firm of accountancy support - to what level very much depends on your plans and outlook.

    My/our accountant was instrumental in helping set up the business and we've valued their input/guidance ever since.

    Look for one who specialises in small business support via recommendation ( ie via FSB Directory ).

    If you want to stay ahead of the game, consider joining The FSB.  

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