Accountants - just like any other trade ?
15th January 2011
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A very common question when beginning a new business venture, how would you know if it’s your first time in business ? how do you know what your business needs ? what you need ? your legal responsibility ? and why ?

These questions are commonly asked, but the finance trade is really no different to most other trades – if I want central heating fitted in my home, do I need a gas specialist ? a plumber ? an electrician ? is this one person ? or three different specialists ? and at what level do they need to be qualified ? – the fact is, I would have no idea but would probably plump for a plumber, as I know water goes in radiators, but I wouldn’t have a clue how qualified they should be or how to check, so I would work on recommendations from other people and trust !

Accountants are no different ! so a couple of points to consider when deciding who and what your needs are:

1. How much ‘financial’ work do you want to do for your business ? any ? some ? none ? – the  truth is you will always have to do some, it may not be much, but you will always have to  keep your business records safe and check what money is in the bank, otherwise you  wouldn’t function as a business, so that’s probably the minimum you could do.

2. How much do you understand about running a business ? not your trade, product or service,  about running and managing  a profitable business ? how you will get customers ? how you  will pay suppliers ? do you need credit ? how do you raise a sales invoice ? what terms do  you supply ?

3. Are you a Sole Trader ? in Partnership ? a Limited company ?

4. What do I legally need to submit to HMRC ? Companies House ?

5. How much do I know about the Accountant or Book Keeper ? have they been recommended  ?

So just like my central heating question – I wouldn’t want to do any of the work, I know nothing about central heating, my property is a house, friends and insurance say I should use a qualified tradesman, and I can ask for testimonials.

Builders would be the same, car mechanics would be the same, Accountants are the same !

Questions 1 and 2 only you can answer, as you know how involved you want to be and how up-to-date with business you are  – question 3, discuss this with your accountant before you begin to trade, this could make a major difference to your personal income from the business and how you run the business – question 4, this will depend on the answer to question 3, - and question 5, ask them for testimonials, you don’t need to know them personally, but they should be able to give you information on qualifications, a valid licence to supply the activities they say they will complete, existing client testimonials, you need to build a relationship with this person if they are going to support you to build your business.

You would expect a plumber to know about plumbing – yes ? so expect your accountant to know about finance and business, you should come out of your initial meeting feeling confident this person can help you build your business (accountancy is more than finance these days !) –this meeting should also be free – you may need them, but they want your business too, just like when you are trying to work for a new customer.

How much will it cost ? I can’t give you a specific amount that you should expect to be charged, the main point is you should negotiate a fixed price contract, so no matter how much help you need you won’t be charged any more for the advice and services, but dependant on your business needs, the more work you need an accountant to do, the more they will charge you – think about my plumber again, if I live in a 2 bedroom mid-terrace house, my central heating system will be cheaper than a five bedroom detached house, as less work will be involved – Accountants are the same as any other trade – the more work they do, the more they will charge – isn’t that fair ?

The key is know what you need, decide how much you want to be involved, and find someone who can give you business confidence, show you testimonials, and you can work with – then finally, negotiate the fees !  just like any other trade !

If you would like to discuss this further, please call JD Figures on 01922 214033 / 07885 268600 or email at

To view our clients testimonials please link to


About the Author

Jane D

Member since: 18th March 2011

J D Figures Ltd works with you to reduce risk and cost, maximising profitability.

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