How much should a bookkeeper/accountant cost me?

Discussion in 'Accounts & Finance' started by messiah, Sep 27, 2018.

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  1. messiah

    messiah UKBF Contributor Free Member

    60 4
    I have a small eCommerce business which is turning over around £120,000 per year. I have around 1,200 purchase invoices per quarter, and all sales invoices can be pulled from Shopify automatically (i think, at least)

    I have recently reached the threshold for VAT and have been in talks with several accountants and book keepers.

    2 of the accountants I spoke to gave me a fixed price of £375 and £450 to file my VAT and cover everything needed to be compliant with the law. It is my understanding that this covered me for the entire year

    I went ahead and hired one of the above mentioned accountants, but since they ignored my calls and emails for weeks on end, I decided to go with a bookkeeper I know and have a good rapport with.

    HOWEVER, the bookkeeper I hired charge by the hour, and they quoted me 10 hours at £280 to take care of this for me. They have just contacted me and explained that they are only halfway through the purchase invoices, and would need to book another 15 hours for it to be completed. And this is just for 1 quarter of the years accounts.

    This comes as quite a shock, but I'm totally unsure if this is a fair rate, or if i misunderstood the quotes from previous accountants being per quarter or per year.

    Can anyone help me understand how much an accountant should cost me?
    Posted: Sep 27, 2018 By: messiah Member since: Apr 18, 2015
  2. UK Contractor Accountant

    UK Contractor Accountant UKBF Big Shot Full Member - Verified Business

    4,997 877
    £28 per hour for book keeping services is expensive. You should be looking more in the region of £15 to £20 per hour.

    Even lower if you are prepared to outsource the number crunching to India.
    Posted: Sep 27, 2018 By: UK Contractor Accountant Member since: Sep 18, 2013
  3. MyAccountantOnline

    MyAccountantOnline UKBF Legend Full Member

    13,100 2,443
    If you want a qualified, experienced, UK based accountant who provides a good service you will be paying a lot more than £375 to £400 to complete your VAT returns and cover everything you need.

    For an accountant to look after your year end accounts and tax affairs alone I'd suggest £650 plus.

    Bookkeeping and VAT work would generally be charged based on time taken. I think you'll struggle to get a decent independent bookkeeper who charges less than £15 to £20 per hour.

    You could save money by doing your own bookkeeping. If you appoint a good accountant they will help you with this.
    Posted: Sep 27, 2018 By: MyAccountantOnline Member since: Sep 24, 2008
  4. urstop

    urstop UKBF Contributor Free Member

    50 6
    Prices vary by accountants, but £28 per hour seems steep. I have known book keepers in UK charging from £10 an hour.

    Since you are already getting your work done for this quarter, PM me if you are interested for your book keeping needs for the coming quarters.
    Posted: Sep 27, 2018 By: urstop Member since: Feb 22, 2013
  5. UK Contractor Accountant

    UK Contractor Accountant UKBF Big Shot Full Member - Verified Business

    4,997 877
    I use good quality Sage One & QB Online book-keepers at £18 per hour.

    With MTD for VAT starting on 1 April next year it makes sense to get MTD compliant Software sorted now.
    Posted: Sep 27, 2018 By: UK Contractor Accountant Member since: Sep 18, 2013
  6. Adam (EBS)

    Adam (EBS) UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    24 1
    Either agree a fixed rate with the current bookkeeper, or find another that will agree a fixed rate. I have ventured away from charging per hour and agree fixed prices for 90% of jobs for my clients now, personally think this satisfies everyone, it's a price for the customer that they know cannot change and they can afford and for me it's a fixed amount that I know I will be receiving and allows me to better budget for myself.

    Personally that is a very low price for an accountant £450. I wouldn't charge much more than that, but I am a bookkeeper, most accountants in my area will charge a good £800-£1200 for such jobs.

    If you need pushing in the right direction drop me a message, don't worry I don't tout for business just like to help people out.

    Posted: Sep 27, 2018 By: Adam (EBS) Member since: Apr 27, 2018
  7. Energise Accounting

    Energise Accounting UKBF Ace Full Member

    1,062 171
    For the bookkeeping side much of this can be automated i suspect can be done within 5 hours a month.

    Then you have to look at the cost of year end and VAT i suspect a fee of around £650.00. i would look at charging around £130.00 Per month + software costs. This would cover everything
    Posted: Sep 27, 2018 By: Energise Accounting Member since: Sep 24, 2014
  8. Robert Meredith

    Robert Meredith UKBF Contributor Free Member

    30 3
    This is the way it is going............ Hourly rates are getting a bit old fashioned. Look at receipt bank. Or Accountants that use autoentry. The input of the purchase invoices can be automated. However an accountant is going to be paying for software to do this. And the time for a competent person to oversee it.
    Posted: Sep 27, 2018 By: Robert Meredith Member since: Mar 31, 2015
  9. Chris Ashdown

    Chris Ashdown UKBF Legend Free Member

    11,605 2,414
    If I was you I would look at doing most of the book-keeping myself, find a accounting package that will work with shopify and automatically input invoices etc and your purchases as far as possible
    The reason is that whilst it takes up some of your time the benefits of knowing every day exactly where your company finances stand is a great benefit
    The package will automatically work out your vat returns and that just leav's year end and Pay to sort out
    Posted: Sep 27, 2018 By: Chris Ashdown Member since: Dec 7, 2003
  10. NicoJ

    NicoJ UKBF Regular Free Member

    244 45
    I suspect the prices you were given were quarterly figures - £1500 for the whole year seems like a more realistic fee in my opinion.

    With regards to your bookkeeping, I would be asking why the work is taking them so long before I agreed to the further costs. You might find that they are not working as efficiently as they could be. My thoughts are going towards your automation comment. If the bookkeeper has not / is unable to do this it would be a lot more work.

    Alternatively, as the other posters have suggested maybe you could set this up and prepare the books yourself. £28 per hour is definitely at the high end of bookkeeping fees.
    Posted: Sep 27, 2018 By: NicoJ Member since: Mar 27, 2017
  11. Jeremiah@RHJ Accountants

    [email protected] Accountants UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

    595 102
    I would suggest an automated process like Xero or QB.

    You can pull all the bank feeds and shopify transactions through and then it is a case of reconciling.

    Where are the purchase invoices from can this be automated or are they manual records that would need inputting?

    All of our Ecommerce clients we get on Xero as it makes the process so much easier for them and us.

    Most accountants will charge from around £125 - £195 not inclusive of VAT.

    Also never based your decision on just price alone, actually ask the accountant for references from existing clients.

    As you should see you accountant as an asset to your business not a cost.
    Posted: Sep 27, 2018 By: [email protected] Accountants Member since: Jan 5, 2012
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