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Normal Accountant Duties

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    Normal Accountant Duties

    Hi All,

    I recently started up and limited company and have been contracting through it. However, I am having trouble identifying what my accountant should be handling and what I should be handling myself.

    Are the following considered normal accounting duties or am I asking too much?

    1. Fill out VAT Registration form and send to HMRC (I was told to fill this out myself and return - advice was given but it was done reluctantly)
    2. Companies House returns (After some debate the accountant handled this)
    3. Advise on whether running a company pension scheme is financially beneficial (I was directed to a pension company and told to make the decision myself)
    4. Advise on whether to register the company for a childcare voucher scheme is financially beneficial (I was directed to HMRCs calculator and told to make a decision myself)

    Also, is the onus on me or the accountant to ensure I am benefitting from all entitlements? So far it has been me asking all the questions about different benefits rather than the accountant advising me of what I'm entitled to.

    Thanks in advance.

    #2
    Varies quite a bit depending on the firm, although most of the big contractor firms have similar offerings these days which would include everything you've listed.

    Companies House paperwork especially should be something they're taking care of.

    Comment


      #3
      A) Read your terms of engagement. Wouldn't most of this be detailed in there.

      B) Ring him and ask. Different accountants provide different services at different costs. How should we know exactly what he offers?

      He won't be very proactive though as he doesn't run your business, you do but he should have guides on expenses and stuff and be willing to help you with questions at any level.

      NW and SJD do good guides on a lot of things including expenses as you can see below. They also detail what they offer on the website.

      Limited Company Expenses | Nixon Williams

      I would suggest you try A) then B) and actually understand what you are paying for before you pay for it!!!
      'CUK forum personality of 2011 - Winner - Yes really!!!!

      Comment


        #4
        .....

        Originally posted by midheach View Post
        Hi All,

        I recently started up and limited company and have been contracting through it. However, I am having trouble identifying what my accountant should be handling and what I should be handling myself.

        Are the following considered normal accounting duties or am I asking too much?

        1. Fill out VAT Registration form and send to HMRC (I was told to fill this out myself and return - advice was given but it was done reluctantly)
        2. Companies House returns (After some debate the accountant handled this)
        3. Advise on whether running a company pension scheme is financially beneficial (I was directed to a pension company and told to make the decision myself)
        4. Advise on whether to register the company for a childcare voucher scheme is financially beneficial (I was directed to HMRCs calculator and told to make a decision myself)

        Also, is the onus on me or the accountant to ensure I am benefitting from all entitlements? So far it has been me asking all the questions about different benefits rather than the accountant advising me of what I'm entitled to.

        Thanks in advance.
        What you can expect of your accountant should be contained in the contract between you. If there is none, you should have a chat with them and ask them to state specifically what their service involves.

        From the above, it would appear that you expect them to run your company and make decisions for you. You expect too much. Especially for No 3 where unless they are registered and qualified, they are forbidden from giving professional financial advice in that respect.

        The rest of it is all about you running your own company. 1. is no headache, just a simple form (I would want to fill it in to ensure that all my bank details were correct - many accountants in the past have made errors in this respect). 2. is an annual chore that unless there are mega changes during the year like huge numbers of share transactions, takes only a few minutes and can be completed online. 4. If you are unable to make a decision as to whether there is any benefit in childcare vouchers to you, what hope is there in you making decisions as a contractor on behalf of your client?

        I don't mean to sound harsh but there is a lot more to owning and running a business than sipping champagne and driving the Aston.

        Comment


          #5
          It sounds as though you have signed up with a Bookkeeping service, as opposed to an Accounting service, to me?

          How much are you being charged, per month/annum?
          I was an IPSE Consultative Council Member, until the BoD abolished it. I am not an IPSE Member, since they have no longer have any relevance to me, as an IT Contractor. Read my lips...I recommend QDOS for ALL your Insurance requirements (Contact me for a referral code).

          Comment


            #6
            Your accountant should be advise on tax matters relating to pensions but not actual financial advice.

            Your accountant should have outlined what they will do in your letter of engagement.

            If you want to keep costs down you can use an online bookkeeping tool like FreeAgent, Xero etc. and do your own books but only if you know what you are doing and have an accountant who can keep an eye on things.

            Submitting annual returns is a 5 minute job and VAT returns aren't that complicated normally if your circumstances are straightforward.

            Getting YourCo to pay for childcare is normally going to be beneficial for you if you're already paying for childcare. You can set up a voucher scheme, use a third-party or contract with the childcare provider directly and pay direct from YourCo (saves on scheme administration costs). Bear in mind that the childcare voucher system is changing soon.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Scruff View Post
              It sounds as though you have signed up with a Bookkeeping service, as opposed to an Accounting service, to me?

              How much are you being charged, per month/annum?
              The quoted fee is approx £500-600 per annum

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by midheach View Post
                The quoted fee is approx £500-600 per annum
                That's pretty cheap - for that amount I'd expect my annual accounts + corporation tax return, general advice and answering any queries subject to fair use. Possibly VAT returns. I wouldn't expect that price to include general bookkeeping, PAYE, annual return or self assessment.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by TheCyclingProgrammer View Post
                  Your accountant should be advise on tax matters relating to pensions but not actual financial advice.

                  Your accountant should have outlined what they will do in your letter of engagement.

                  If you want to keep costs down you can use an online bookkeeping tool like FreeAgent, Xero etc. and do your own books but only if you know what you are doing and have an accountant who can keep an eye on things.

                  Submitting annual returns is a 5 minute job and VAT returns aren't that complicated normally if your circumstances are straightforward.

                  Getting YourCo to pay for childcare is normally going to be beneficial for you if you're already paying for childcare. You can set up a voucher scheme, use a third-party or contract with the childcare provider directly and pay direct from YourCo (saves on scheme administration costs). Bear in mind that the childcare voucher system is changing soon.
                  Thanks for the helpful response.

                  I don't have a letter of engagement from him. I just have an email stating that he handles accounts and all dealings with HMRC and Companies House.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by tractor View Post
                    What you can expect of your accountant should be contained in the contract between you. If there is none, you should have a chat with them and ask them to state specifically what their service involves.

                    From the above, it would appear that you expect them to run your company and make decisions for you. You expect too much. Especially for No 3 where unless they are registered and qualified, they are forbidden from giving professional financial advice in that respect.

                    The rest of it is all about you running your own company. 1. is no headache, just a simple form (I would want to fill it in to ensure that all my bank details were correct - many accountants in the past have made errors in this respect). 2. is an annual chore that unless there are mega changes during the year like huge numbers of share transactions, takes only a few minutes and can be completed online. 4. If you are unable to make a decision as to whether there is any benefit in childcare vouchers to you, what hope is there in you making decisions as a contractor on behalf of your client?

                    I don't mean to sound harsh but there is a lot more to owning and running a business than sipping champagne and driving the Aston.
                    Thanks for taking the time to respond to my query. Next time stick to facts and don't waste your time and mine airing your subjective views.

                    Comment

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