Accountant Recommendations- small startup

Found 2nd Feb
What sort of questions should we ask potential new accountants, are there any you recommend?

I've seen places like TaxJar do I need separate tax services or will an accountant deal with it all? Thanks!
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#1 tip. Keep every receipt for the 3 months prior to starting the business as you can claim expenses (inc mileage)

A lot depends on what business you are going into and what your business will turn over. More than anything, this all depends on your ability to keep your receipts and keep records in a spreadsheet. You don't need fancy software. Just a good spreadsheet and excellent record keeping.

Try to find someone to talk to who has recently started their own business. Your local chamber of commerce may be able to help. Or some other local business group. Ring the CoC for a chat.

When selecting a firm, remember that THEY are the expert and YOU are the person in need of PROFESSIONAL ADVICE. This phrasing matters because it changes the balance of responsibility in terms of you being ripped off. Ask them what you NEED. Ask for an itemised quote for year one and year two. They should be offering that before you ask. If they don't want to do that then walk out of the door. They are not offering a professional service and you may find it difficult to leave them if you decide to move.

Make sure they tell you what insurances you NEED. Beware of the extras they will try to sell you on commission by way of insurances you don't need (i.e. HMRC investigations cover). You will usually find insurance cheaper elsewhere.

If turnover exceeds £50k, I would look for a local Chartered Accountant, preferably recommended by a friend or colleague in the same situation and not use an anonymous bunch offering to work through a website.

A small test; if they offer to do your personal tax return in with the company accounts, then they are being less than transparent with you. HMRC rules disallow this and you must pay personally for your Self Assessment return. (What will happen to keep it legal in real life is that they will process a benefit in kind in your books to cover the SA return fee. Typical value £125 plus the taxable benefit).

Doing your own books isn't hard. It is time consuming but saves you money.
have you thought about doing your tax returns yourself?

you need an accountant if you want to save tax like paying yourself as directors and taking money from the company as dividends, so ask them how they can help you save tax as your accountant.
Ask your Local Council / Aurthority, most of them do Small Bussiness start Up Courses or Help and Advice.
Q1 - Why do you want an accountant? We have a book keeper who looks after our daily admin needs and an Accountant who does our company returns to HMRC and Companies House - I am sure we could do much of this ourselves but want a professional doing it so (i) it gets done properly and on time (ii) so we can focus on the business

We found ours through recommendation, little firm but excellent support - word of mouth is ideal if you can. BNI, Chamber etc has never really worked for me but your milage may vary
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