There are many uses for a professional accountant for a small business, from financial advice to day-to-day record keeping.
You can hire an accountant at the beginning of your business journey to help you establish the proper legal structure for your company, or further down the line to help with larger accounting tasks.
Whether or not you need an accountant also depends on the expertise of your team and their ability to handle the necessary financial tasks on their own.
When Should You Manage Your Accounts Yourself?
1. When You are a Sole Trader
For sole traders, the record keeping requirements are quite simple. There’s no need to file annual accounts at Companies House or an annual corporation tax statement with HMRC like you would have to if your business was registered as a limited company.
Instead you’ll just need to file a self-assessment tax return, which anyone can do pretty easily. However, you may want to hire an accountant anyway as it’s a lengthy process.
2. When You Don’t Have Many Transactions
If you don’t have many transactions your bookkeeping shouldn’t take you much time, so you may want to do it yourself.
For example, if you have a sole trader business which only needs to generate a few client invoices a month, you shouldn’t have much trouble with your bookkeeping.
3. For Simple Record Keeping
If your business has simple and predictable bookkeeping categories, you may find you can manage your own day to day finances with ease. For example, an online shop through an e-commerce platform has clear costly areas like monthly rent, stock supplies, and postage fees.
4. If You Use Cloud Accounting Software
Cloud accounting software can be the middle man between you and an accountant if you don’t want to run your finances manually.
Cloud accounting software allows you to go paperless and save time with automation. Some companies choose to also hire an accountant monthly or quarterly to review and correct any mistakes.
When Should You Hire an Accountant?
1. To Set Up a Corporate Structure
If you plan to operate as a limited company, you should hire an accountant to define its legal structure before you start trading. Your accountant can make sure your personal assets are not at risk should business meet hard times. This is because the company will be recognised as a separate legal entity from yourself.
2. For Statutory Accounts and Tax Returns
When compiling your annual accounts and the associated tax return, you should hire a professional accountant as the process is complex.
If your company fails to meet compliance requirements you could face hefty fines.
3. For Cash Flow Forecasting
For the health of your business it’s wise to forecast so you can set financial goals and targets for where you want your business to be in the future.
Cash flow is one of the most common reasons for businesses failing. So, you may want to create a 12-month forecast will help you better plan for any shortfalls. To accurately create a forecast for your company you’ll need to hire a professional.
4. To Get Access to Finance
There is a wide range of different financing options for start-ups, from conventional loans to more niche services depending on the type of business or sector in which you operate.
An accountant can help you find the type of finance that’s best for your business, submit an application and maximise your chances of being approved.
You can hire an accountant to support you at any stage of creating and running a business, but this is optional. If you have the time and the know-how you can choose to manage your finances yourself.
With more companies choosing to use cloud software to help them run their finances, the role of the accountant is becoming more advisory.
Generally, it’s good practice to hire an accountant intermittently to check on your finances and make sure there are no errors in your books.
For help with accounting, bookkeeping, or tax for your small business, contact our experts at Count today.