5 Things Your Accountant Wishes You Would Do (And Wouldn’t)

There’s no doubt that in accounting, unless you have the skills and expertise, is better left to your accountant. There are a lot small things that you can miss if you try to take everything on yourself and it really is a false economy for most people.

Accountants love what they do, and as Chartered Professionals, who have had to undertake years of study, they know what they’re doing. Quite often we get asked by our clients what they can do to make our job easier and what cost (and time) effective strategies they can put in place. We’ve put together 5 tips that you can do to ensure that working with your Accountant is a doddle.

1.) Don’t try to register with HMRC yourself

We can’t stress this one enough. The over enthusiastic client can go on to HMRC’s website and try and register themselves for taxes. They think they are saving fees by doing some of the Accountant’s job for them, but more often than not, they register for some of the taxes, but not all, or they aren’t sure if the submission actually worked. The result is weeks of waiting to see if anything pops up on HMRC’s system. We can’t just register the client again, as that could create the doomsday scenario of a client being registered twice. To resolve that with HMRC, particularly with their reduced capacity during Covid-19, it is at least a 2-3 month job. Use our expertise with HMRC to help your business and avoid stress and additional work – it’s what we’re here for!

2.) Cars, cars, cars

What does accounting have to do with cars you ask? Using cars as a classic example, they are a whole HMRC topic in themselves, with different rules for different taxes. Is it a car? Is it a van? Is it a van for VAT purposes, but a car for income tax? Yes, the salesman in the garage might swear blind to you it’s a van or tell you that you can call it a ‘pool car’, however, you must understand the rules 100%. Partner, Graham, has been advising clients on this for years and he still regularly checks the rules to confirm his knowledge is up to date. Before you buy a company car or van, please check with your Accountant to ensure you understand how it will be taxed.

3.) Ask us questions!

We emphasise to all our clients that they are always better off asking us questions throughout the year, rather than waiting for us to find the issue when we’re preparing their accounts. Let us outline a scenario and two different client responses.

Let’s say the client has something they are struggling with. Perhaps it is what the bookkeeping entries are when they sell a piece of equipment. Client one gives us a call and we tell them what the correct entries are, problem solved. Client two just takes their best guess at it, then 6 months later when we do their accounts, we ask them what has happened. The client struggles to remember and has to dig through mountains of emails to dig out the original documents. You’ll be surprised at how easily you can forget the little details.

4.) All online or all offline

Everyone knows the direction of travel with accountancy and bookkeeping. Going digital, using systems such as Xero, Quickbooks and Receipt Bank is no doubt having a positive effect. However, we sometimes have clients who like to keep a foot in either camp. Some information online, some kept on paper. If you are currently paper based, whilst it might seem less daunting to move gradually across, our experience is that you are better doing one system or the other. Otherwise, people often lose information in between the two systems. Choose one system and make that work for your business.

5.) Leaving it until January

This is the classic complaint accountants have. Everyone has nine months to file their tax return and we remind clients to send us in information months in advance. However, no matter how many reminders you send, there are always businesses who send in information on the 29th of January and expect it to be done by the 31st without spending any extra for the last-minute turnaround. Please don’t be this client. Accounting is all about preparation and keeping up to date with all your books.

If you find bookkeeping, filing accounts or tax returns daunting, please do get in touch and we’d be happy to have a free consultation with you. And remember, always ask questions! There’s nothing gained by ‘sitting in the dark’.

If you need any advice on any of the above topics please contact us on 01752 665134 or email us at info@haroldduckworth.co.uk. Our expert team can provide a range of accountancy services including bookkeeping, payroll and tax returns.

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