Choosing a Contractor Accountant can be a difficult process - what should you look for, what are the main differences between the different specialist firms and why should I choose one firm over another?
One of the best ways is to get recommendations from other freelance contractors. Most will be all to happy to give you a real review of the services they receive and the amount they pay, then you can look into the finer details yourself to make sure you are happy with the recommendation.
Simple, contracting is a specialist area of tax and accountancy, your local accountant may not specialise in this and although they believe they can advise you they may not be fully up-to-date with the relevant tax legislation that is specific to freelance contractors.
If you needed an operation would you want your GP to do it or a surgeon?
Tax planning and advice is completely individual and specific to your personal circumstances. Two freelance contractors are never the same. They have different income structures, different short term and long term goals, different financial requirements they need to meet each month and therefore they need tailed tax planning from the start.
We treat every client as an individual and get to understand what their needs and goals are and then advise them accordingly. This is done from the start and is reviewed on an ongoing basis.
Nearly all Contractor Accountants charge a monthly fee, these can differ wildly and what is included in this fee is not always clear.
Make sure you not only compare the monthly fee being charged but also the extras that may not be included and which you will certainly need.
Finally don’t forget to ask what their joining/set-up fees are and what their leaving fees are if you decide to switch accountants.
123 Contracting do not charge a joining fee. We do not charge any leaving fees and our only additional fee is for your personal tax return which we charge a one off amount of £85.00 + vat which is one of the lowest in the market place.
IR35 is important legislation that a contractor accountant should understand in detail. Many local accountants will not have an understanding of IR35 at all which is one of the key reasons you should choose a specialist contractor accountant.
You will see that a number of firms offer unlimited IR35 contract reviews as part of their monthly fee. You need to read the small print. Can you reply on these reviews if HMRC decides to investigate your contractor business – what is the review actually worth and who is the person providing it?
At 123 Contracting we do not offer unlimited IR35 contract reviews as part of our monthly fee, instead we refer our clients to the most respected experts in the IR35 field, a firm of specialists who will review your contract in detail, suggest appropriate changes to be made and then re-review the updated contract. We believe in providing the best advice for everything you need.
This is a simple one, do you get to speak to the same person every time you call or do you have to speak to which ever member of the call centre happens to answer your call?
Secondly are all members actually qualified or is it one qualified accountant with a team of many unqualified call centre operators where you never actually get to speak to the qualified accountant.
At 123 Contracting you have a dedicated qualified accountant who you get direct access to when ever you need it (well Monday to Friday) we do not believe in call centres.
If they do then it could be because their service is poor and you would leave them right away if you could.
We ask for just one months notice if you decide to leave so we can ensure a smooth transition and we do not charge any leaving fees – we do this because we know our service is the best and you simply won’t want to leave, we have no need to lock you into a long term contract.
Both have their merits but the key for us is control over your own bookkeeping data.
Many contractor accountants will make you use their online bookkeeping software. They do this because you are much less likely to switch accountants when they provide you with a poor service. They control your data and no other firm uses the same online system so it is very difficult to switch.
Secondly if you miss a payment or are late paying, you may find yourself locked out of their system and locked out of your own bookkeeping information.
We think you should have complete control so we provide you with a very easy to use spreadsheet based system that you save on your own computer. If you did want to leave us then you would simply provide this to your new accountant and it would give them everything they needed. We are so confident in our high level of service that we have no need to lock you into our systems.
A number of contractor accountants do not offer any form of face to face meetings. We do not understand this. Some elements of taxation can be very complicated or they may be of a sensitive nature and you want to discuss them face to face. It is also nice to put a face to a name and actually meet your accountant. We offer face to face meetings with all clients; we really enjoy meeting our clients and getting to know them in person.
This is a simple one – lots of “awards” especially online awards are not worth a thing! Many have been bought and many have been given by a website that just so happens to be owned by the same contractor accountants who won the award.
We believe in client testimonials however many people believe that these are not always authentic. We use LinkedIn to get real clients to write reviews of our services so you can not only read the review but see who that person is and what they do. We think this is truest form of “award”. Take a look at the link below for a selection of our reviews and the second link is to our LinkedIn page so you can see the actual people who gave the reviews.
123 Contracting is a firm of accountants who specialise in advising freelance contractors.
Our clients are contractors just like you who want a tax efficient but prudent way of working in the UK. This is what we offer.
We are prudent by not involving ourselves in offshore schemes which are designed so the client pays no tax at all - this results in a client paying no tax for a year or two before HMRC closes the loophole and investigates retrospectively anyone who was a member of such a scheme. Each client then has to pay the tax they should have paid plus a penalty for tax evasion.
Our clients believe like us that these "here today, gone tomorrow" schemes are not worth the sleepless nights waiting for a brown HMRC investigation envelope to arrive at your door.
We therefore only provide advice that is inline with current tax legislation and we look at all possible legal tax reliefs that can be used to minimise your tax liability - this is prudent tax planning.
This information is for general information only. We take no responsibility for any action taken or refrained from in consequence of its contents. Always seek our professional advice specific to your circumstances before acting.