One of the major reasons that individuals and business owners “put off” speaking with an accountant is that they are worried about how much the services will cost. Every Wirral accountant seems to charge different rates, often for the same services – so what should you do?
Here is our quick guide of what to expect and look out for when selecting or moving accountants.
It’s NOT always about price
I know this sounds like a bizarre thing to say, after all, all accountants are the same aren’t they?
NO they are NOT!
The quality of accountants, their work and advice varies massively, just like any other trade or profession, so when looking for an accountant, don’t specifically select or look for the cheapest option, if an accountant is cheap, there’s probably a good reason why.
Think about it, why would an accountant specifically market themselves as “cheap” rather than knowledgeable, reliable, professional etc. As the old saying goes…
“there is only one thing more expensive than great advice, and that’s correcting poor advice”!
The above quote is really important, many great accountants make a lot of money from simply correcting the mistakes and errors that poor accountants have made!
KEY TIP: The services that you are buying should be an investment, for example, if you are paying 250.00 in accountants fees you may save double or triple this amount in tax. It’s about VALUE not PRICE.
Payment options – how do I pay for an accountant?
Typically, an accountant will raise an invoice to their client at the end of each tax or financial year, which is fine, BUT, this means that you, the client, are receiving and having to pay one large bill, in one payment, each year, which can sometimes cause a problem to your cashflow or bank balance!
Some, more pro-active accountants will offer their clients options of paying fees in low monthly instalments, free of interest and charges, which means you get to spread the cost.
KEY TIP: Look for an accountant that offers a number of payment options, making it as easy as possible for you, the client to make payment.
Let’s get down to the “nitty gritty”…….how much does an accountant cost???
Getting a quote….
Every client, business and case is different, so a good quote should not be part of a “standard package” or pricing structure – to us this method feels a bit like the client is being put on a conveyor belt and is not dealt with individually. Accountancy and tax advice is VERY specific to you, and so should be the service and quote provided.
KEY TIP: Always look for a specific quote to YOU and YOUR business, not a standard “one size fits all” price.
How the charges are calculated….
Accountants typically charge on an hourly basis, so they will assess your position when they meet with you, complete all of your works throughout the year, total up the number of hours that they have spent working on your affairs and multiply these hours by an hourly rate – hey presto, there is your fee!
The problem with this, is that you never really know how much you will be charged until you get the actual bill, PLUS, the more inefficient or slower your accountant is, the more they will charge you – which doesn’t make any sense to us at all!
Modern, pro-active accountants will charge on a FIXED FEE BASIS.
KEY TIP: Fees should always be agreed in advance and FIXED, so you know exactly how much you are paying and when it is due.
What am I likely to be charged?
As an example, for a basic service such as an annual self-assessment we would expect clients to pay a fee in the region of 125.00, which, if paid on a monthly basis is just 10.42 per month
For services including preparation of business or limited company accounts, depending on the size of the business and complexity, expect these to be upwards of 400.00 per year, with additional charges for services such as; payroll, VAT, and CIS returns.