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For small businesses, an accountant is a must.

Unless you’re qualified you’ll need someone to take care of your finances, to help you decide if you should be VAT registered and to tell you about important pieces of tax legislation that might affect you, like IR35.

But before you pick up the yellow pages (or have a scan of Google) and hire the first accountant you see, you need to get some things in order.

1. Grasp the lingo

When you’re speaking to your accountant you’ll need to have an understanding of your accounts, what you want them to look like and how they impact your business.

That means you can’t sit glossy-eyed while your accountant tries to explain VAT registration and dividends to you.

Before you hire an accountant, have a quick search of the business terms that affect you, and show a keen interest in how they can benefit your company. Your finances will thank you for it!

2. Create a system for your invoices

It can be tempting to walk into an accountants’ office because your accounts have reached such a state that you can’t deal with them.

Rather than dump your accountant with a load of muddled papers try sorting your records before you speak to someone.

Having a system for invoices will give your accountant more time to spend on the stuff that really matters, like making sure your business is as tax-efficient as possible.

You’ll also understand your own business better, and will be able to have an in-depth conversation about how your finances will benefit from an accountant.

3. Make a list of personal information

UTR number, tax reference number, tax codes; the list of information you need for your accounts can be dizzying.

Before you hire an accountant you need to make sure you’re in possession of all the right information, and if not, you need to speak to HMRC to see how you can get it.

Make a list of all the relevant information your accountant will need to know, and save time in your consultation for the more important subjects.

4. File your receipts

As with records, you’ll need to know where your receipts are and have them in order if you want to make the most of your accountant. Time that you could have spent tidying records will be time your accountant charges you for.

File your receipts in a sensible system that your accountant will be able to easily make sense of. It might seem like a tedious task, but your accountant will thank you!

5. Settling with your previous accountant

If you’re switching accountants, your new accountant will need access to information that only your previous accountant had access to.

You should check your contract with your current accountant to ensure there are no special circumstances that apply when you switch to a new accountant. You should also settle all fee payments before you switch to a new accountant.

When switching, your new accountant will get in touch with your previous accountant to request relevant information, which they must provide within a reasonable timeframe.

Are you thinking of switching accountant? Grab an instant quote from TAP and see how much you could save!

About The Author

Karl Bilby

We work very closely with our expert accountants to bring you the latest factually correct tax and accounting news. We also enjoy writing about small business news that we hope you find useful!

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