Do I need an accountant, or can I just use software?

Since computers have become widely popular in the workplace and at home, they've played a growing role in business. From stock control to sales, from staff management to finances.

Many industries are seeing roles being replaced by computers such as production line operatives and personal assistants. So, should you hire an accountant for your business, or is it time to replace them with software?

The Situation

Many business owners want to feel in control of their own finances, and with cashflow being limited in the early stages it's likely that you wouldn't want to hire an accountant or bookkeeper to begin with to help keep costs low. While it's good to save some money to begin with, you should consider the benefits of an accountant to your business.

Accountants understand many different aspects of tax laws and can often advise you on making decisions which can help your business positively. For example, there may be a tax relief you can apply to your accounts to reduce the amount owed to HMRC. An accountant is likely to know about this and help you apply this.

When it comes to year end you will need to submit some sort of accounts. For sole traders and partnerships, this would be in the form of a self assessment; for limited companies this would be your year end accounts. Sole traders and partnerships may find it easy enough to submit their self assessment online with HMRC, but always consider if there could be a saving by using an accountant.

Limited company accounts are a little bit more tricky and we recommend always using an accountant for these to ensure they are accurate and correct.

Bookkeeping

The good news is however, it's not all expensive. While you may have to pay for an accountant, the cost of bookkeeping can be reduced. If your business is simple (e.g. trading in the UK only), then you may find it more cost effective to use online accounting software such as our sister company, QuickFile.

If your business is a little bit more complex, you can still use online tools, but it's always useful to have someone on hand to assist with those tricky queries, so an accountant or bookkeeper may be useful in this situation.

Where can I find an accountant?

There are many accountants out there, each of whom specialise in their own things from payroll to self assessment, from corporation tax to bookkeeping. Finding the right one for your business will take a bit of research, but the tools are available to make this as straight forward and as easy as possible.

Using tools like FindAnAccountant.co.uk can help find one (local or otherwise) that specialise in your required fields. If you need help with payroll, then you can filter them by payroll, and similar with tax planning and other services.

Or, if you're looking for an accountant to assist with just year end services, tools like the QuickFile Comparison Service will certainly help put you on the right track.

Conclusion

The truth is, only you know your business, so only you will know what's right. There are various tools out there to help sort out your accounts and keep them organised, but in terms of knowledge and experience, you can't beat hiring an accountant directly.

Please consult your own accountant or bookkeeper for advice tailored to your business.
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