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Do I need a qualified accountant?

When you are considering setting up your own business you need to make sure that you are making decisions based on sound advice from trained professionals.

It is important that you consider three important elements before embarking on your business – tax implications, personal liability and capital.

Not only will a qualified accountant be able to advise on these and many other business related areas. Additionally, they will also have a network of valuable contacts to deal with things that need specialist advice.

The list of things an accountant can help with is not exhaustible. Some examples are:

  • Determining which records need to be kept and showing you how to keep them;

  • Saving time because of their experience in dealing with HM Revenue & Customs and knowing what forms need to be submitted by a new business in order for it to be compliant with legislation.;

  • They can also advise on the type of business entity to use in order to minimise tax liabilities;

  • Dealing with any disputes that may arise with HM Revenue & Customs and handling negotiations for you;

  • Advising regarding employment matters such as contracts and Payroll;

  • Review your business ideas and determine potential profitability;

  • Assisting with business plans, cash flow forecasts, budgeting;

  • Capital expenditure decisions – whether to lease or buy and the tax advantages;

  • Working capital funding – personal funds, bank overdraft or loan, external investment, factoring or asset finance;

  • Internal controls and systems relating to all aspects of the business;

  • Business valuation for when you are seeking external investment or to sell the business;

  • Taxation both of the business and the directors;

  • Compliance matters relating to the company, employees, health and safety, accounts and Companies House.

    Whilst all of these things can be done by someone who has read the relevant sections of the Companies Act, the various Taxes Acts, Discrimination Acts, Health and Safety etc. Only a qualified accountant can provide the added comfort that, if any advice they provide is inaccurate or leads to financial or other loss by the company, there is a “comeback”. ALL qualified accountants, whether they are members of ICAEW, ACCA or any of the other regulatory bodies, are required to have Professional Indemnity Insurance. This is to protect clients in the event that the accountant makes an error or provides inaccurate or poor advice and is to allow the client to recover any losses arising as a result.

    They are also required to undergo Continuous Professional Development in order to stay up to date with changes in legislation etc.

    Qualified accountants are required to have a complaints procedure. If a client has a complaint which the accountant cannot or does not address satisfactorily the client can then complain to the accountants professional body. Be it the ICAEW, ACCA or any of the other regulatory bodies there is a rigorous disciplinary regime and code of ethics that will be applied to the complaint. If the complaint is upheld the accountant will be disciplined by their professional body. In extreme cases this can result in fines, striking off and, rarely, imprisonment.

    The downside of this safeguarding of clients interests is that qualified accountants need to be members of a professional body. The cost of this together with Indemnity insurance and ongoing training will inevitably mean that a qualified accountant is likely to be more expensive than someone who is not qualified or who may have been struck off by their professional body.

    At Opus Accounting we are governed by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. We abide by their rules, regulations and professional code of ethics. We carry Professional Indemnity Insurance of £750,000 to protect our clients. We undergo a minimum of 21 hours of structured courses annually in addition to unstructured reading, webinars etc. to keep up to date on changes that would affect our clients. We have a network of specialist colleagues to whom we can refer clients if they require advice outside our scope of expertise because we know that we cannot know it all. Finally, we provide all our clients with free fee protection in the event of a Revenue enquiry. This covers up to £75,000 of our fees in defending a client under enquiry or investigation by HMRC.

    So, do you really want to entrust your investment in your new business or the value you have built up in your existing business to someone who isn’t qualified?

Registered Office: Opus Accounting Ltd, 2b The Votec Centre. Hambridge Lane. Newbury. RG14 5TN
Incorporated in England and Wales - Company Number 07126791

t: 01635 896150
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