How to find the right accountant?

Discussion in 'Accounts & Finance' started by Lampre92, Dec 26, 2020.

  1. Lampre92

    Lampre92 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    7 0
    I am currently self employed, I buy used motorcycles and sell them in parts on eBay. Up until now I have done my own self assessment and not used an accountant, because I use eBay it has been relatively easy and straight forward.

    This tax year I should hit a turnover of £71k with business A but I have also just started business B and now realised I am going to hit the VAT threshold very quickly. Becoming VAT registered will have a massive impact on my profit and may mean I'll shelve business B to avoid becoming VAT registered.

    That is the basics of it, it does go much deeper with the wife possibly getting involved in business B, business premises, retail shop ect.

    Before I can make any decisions on where I want to go in the future I need to talk to an accountant however as I don't currently have an accountant I'm not sure how I go about finding the right fit for me? Ideally I would like to meet/talk to a few accountants and explain my current position and where I want to go in the future and based on their response make my choice but from what I can see online accountants don't offer any sort of pay per hour advice? I wouldn't mind paying for an hour of a few different accountants time to find someone that understands me and my plans.
     
    Posted: Dec 26, 2020 By: Lampre92 Member since: Feb 26, 2019
    #1
  2. Energise Accounting

    Energise Accounting UKBF Ace Full Member

    1,085 173
    The best bet is to have a few meetings with different accountants. No Accountant will answer specfic questions on your business situation till you sign on the dotted line so to speak.
     
    Posted: Dec 26, 2020 By: Energise Accounting Member since: Sep 24, 2014
    #2
  3. Rawlinson Pryde

    Rawlinson Pryde UKBF Regular Free Member

    117 27
    Most accountants will give a free 30 to 60 mins initial consultation. A few things you may wish to consider.

    I wouldn’t base your decision just on cost, as cheapest can be more costly through poor advice.

    I would also check where and who would be carrying out the work if not obvious. Some firms just use many different subcontractors or employ people overseas to carry out the work India and the Philippines for the cheap labour but will still charge you as though the work was being carried out her and maybe lack continuity of someone understanding your business.

    Is the firm registered with a body such as the ACCA, ICAEW, CIOT. This guarantees certain standards and in the unlikely event a procedure to make a complaint. Anyone can call themselves an accountant, it is not a protected profession.
     
    Posted: Dec 27, 2020 By: Rawlinson Pryde Member since: May 9, 2020
    #3
  4. Ian J

    Ian J Factoring Specialist Full Member - Verified Business

    6,392 2,160
    Why does it have to be an online accountant as you are ruling out the vast majority of accountants
     
    Posted: Dec 27, 2020 By: Ian J Member since: Nov 6, 2004
    #4
  5. MARA&TS

    MARA&TS UKBF Newcomer Full Member

    20 3
    Hi,

    This is the most honest request for how to choose an accountant I think I’ve seen on here. To be truthful the question in general is very open ended. However, based on what you’ve said you just need to speak to a good handful of accountants and see which one you feel understands you and your forward vision how big or little that may be.

    The better accountants work with you as a business partnership, as your success is ultimately their success. The majority of my clients stay with me because I don’t propose to know everything however, but when my clients have a problem they know that I will ensure I deal with the problem/task as if their business is my own business.

    Most good accountants value there client and also have a passion for business. Therefore no matter what the issue, they will approach the problem as if they where your business partner with just as much to loose as you.

    I hope that you find the right accountant and if you have any further questions please feel free to direct message me as I would be more than happy to find out more about your situation and what you want to do in the future and if it just ends up a chat at least I killed an hour of lockdown with a fellow business owner.

    Kind regards,

    Mike
     
    Posted: Dec 28, 2020 By: MARA&TS Member since: Jan 29, 2020
    #5
  6. Ian J

    Ian J Factoring Specialist Full Member - Verified Business

    6,392 2,160
    Tut tut

    Your response reads more like an advert than an answer to his question
     
    Posted: Dec 28, 2020 By: Ian J Member since: Nov 6, 2004
    #6
  7. estwig

    estwig UKBF Legend Free Member

    12,652 4,525
    I feel dizzy, I think I'm gonna be sick!
     
    Posted: Dec 28, 2020 By: estwig Member since: Sep 29, 2006
    #7
  8. Alan

    Alan UKBF Legend Full Member - Verified Business

    6,709 1,848
    Never trust an accountant with perfect grammar
     
    Posted: Dec 28, 2020 By: Alan Member since: Aug 16, 2011
    #8
  9. Spur Support Services

    Spur Support Services UKBF Regular Free Member

    155 33
    From my perspective, look for someone you know, like and trust.

    Both @MyAccountantOnline and I are motorbikers, which may give us an advantage on the "like" bit when considering your business line.

    Nikki at MyAccountancyOnline has ridden for over 35 years, whereas, I have only ridden for a couple of years and just have my lovely CBR650F.

    Both of us use riding as a stress management mechanism during these weird times and offer remote accountancy services. Even with Covid19, I exceeded 5k this year around Somerset, Wilstshire and Dorset, whereas Nikki will have put in probably over 20k as she goes further and more often.

    I probably say that Nikki would understand the operational side of your business more, as whilst I try to do some maintenance on my bike, she obviously has years more experience.

    On the accounting side, I'm a Xero fan, whilst Nikki tends to work with Freeagent and Quickbooks.

    Nikki has years of experience in running small practice, whereas I have years of experience in systems optimisation and tax within a commercial environment.

    Accountants are all individually different. Don't hesitate to reach out to one or both of us if you need assistance.
     
    Posted: Dec 29, 2020 By: Spur Support Services Member since: Aug 21, 2020
    #9
  10. Ian J

    Ian J Factoring Specialist Full Member - Verified Business

    6,392 2,160
    The adverts seem to be getting more and more creative or should that read "desperate" :D
     
    Posted: Dec 29, 2020 By: Ian J Member since: Nov 6, 2004
    #10
  11. tony84

    tony84 UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    5,866 1,088
    I know it is the old saying of you get what you pay for... I have had 3 accountants.
    The first was cheap and was exactly what I needed when I was starting out. But she literally took my bank statements and filed a self assessment, no real conversation, no advice nothing.

    The second was @kevin.doran (Platform accounting) and he was very good and I would still recommend him now. He was more expensive, but also massively helped.

    My current accountant is much more local and a similar sort of price to Kevin and service but he is local. Although he is retiring in the next year or 2, so I will probably end up giving kevin a shout back again soon enough.
     
    Posted: Dec 29, 2020 By: tony84 Member since: Apr 14, 2008
    #11
  12. UK Contractor Accountant

    UK Contractor Accountant UKBF Legend Full Member - Verified Business

    5,180 928
    thought is was Accounts Portal & FreeAgent?

    The OP uses QB ...
     
    Posted: Dec 29, 2020 By: UK Contractor Accountant Member since: Sep 18, 2013
    #12
  13. Lampre92

    Lampre92 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    7 0
    I called a local accounting firm this morning and went in and met them in the afternoon, they offer a 30minute free meeting to get to know each other and what I am looking for. I basically went ahead and explained the same as I did in the OP except with more information. She seemed confident I could avoid becoming VAT registered based on:
    1) Splitting the industrial unit up into 2
    2) Wife being the owner of business 2 (was the plan anyway)
    3) Totally separate accounts / business (was the plan anyway)

    I went through the same thing multiple times as based on what I have read online I am very skeptical it's something that HMRC will let happen running 2 businesses that are very similar under the same roof but she seemed confident? She used the example that most local pubs are ran by 2 people, 1 registered for the alcohol and the other for food to avoid hitting the vat limit.

    I already want to sign on the dotted line and go with that firm but I am a bit wary that she told me what I wanted to hear to get me to sign up so maybe worth me calling around another place and getting another opinion. I hope every place is as friendly as her as I felt really confortable and she was very open with information.
     
    Posted: Dec 29, 2020 By: Lampre92 Member since: Feb 26, 2019
    #13
  14. UK Contractor Accountant

    UK Contractor Accountant UKBF Legend Full Member - Verified Business

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    doesn't work for similar businesses that are linked and under common control.

    The fact that food is separated from drink in pubs may only mean that they haven't been caught yet by HMRC.
     
    Posted: Dec 29, 2020 By: UK Contractor Accountant Member since: Sep 18, 2013
    #14
  15. KAC

    KAC UKBF Ace Free Member

    1,344 313
    I take it that you have researched "Disaggregation VAT" You will find lots of opinions there.

    We do not have all of the information and the accountant with whom you met will have had more. If she was a qualified accountant, she should have Professional Indemnity Insurance should her advice be incorrect. You should tell her that you will engage her as your accountant provided she is prepared to give you her advice in writing
     
    Posted: Dec 29, 2020 By: KAC Member since: May 7, 2017
    #15
  16. Lampre92

    Lampre92 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    7 0
    I have given more details below, if anyone with experience is reading please post your opinion.

    1 industrial unit split in half
    Husband self employed company A
    Wife self employed company B

    Company A purchases used motorcycles and sells them as individual parts via eBay

    Company B has a retail front selling NEW motorcycle parts

    Both have separate names (not related). One company will also carry out repairs/mechanical work but not quite sure which yet, likely business A.

    Just to be clear the wife will actually genuinely be working at business B with no other income/job.

    With that set up I feel its separate enough to avoid vat and this is how I explained it to the accountant today but I still want to be 100% sure before going ahead.

    Thanks!
     
    Posted: Dec 30, 2020 By: Lampre92 Member since: Feb 26, 2019
    #16
  17. UK Contractor Accountant

    UK Contractor Accountant UKBF Legend Full Member - Verified Business

    5,180 928
    One of the key questions you should ask in relation to the separation of business activities: ‘Is it a genuine arrangement made for commercial reasons and with commercial motives – or is it an artificial measure designed to avoid paying VAT?’

    In reality, a large proportion of disaggregation cases won by Customs occur when members of the same family are involved. The reason for this is simple: when family members are involved, there is less incentive to keep arrangements on a strictly commercial level – and this gives Customs a field day when it comes to proving an artificial separation.
     
    Posted: Dec 30, 2020 By: UK Contractor Accountant Member since: Sep 18, 2013
    #17
  18. UK Contractor Accountant

    UK Contractor Accountant UKBF Legend Full Member - Verified Business

    5,180 928
    more likely to sell the OP a tax investigation insurance policy to cover the vat expert fees fighting an HMRC investigation into dissagregation.

    My advice to the OP is to engage a VAT expert to give you advice and recommendations on your proposed set up. I am sure there are some members on here who can recommend one. @lesvatadvice I am sure can point you in the right direction.
     
    Posted: Dec 30, 2020 By: UK Contractor Accountant Member since: Sep 18, 2013
    #18
  19. tony84

    tony84 UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    5,866 1,088
    As someone who used to own a pub, we never did that and I am pretty sure that would be one of those tax dodges that if found out you would be on the hook for a tax bill and a fine (think Jimmy Carr and Gary Barlow).

    Can an accountant answer this?.... If an accountant made a suggestion like this and you are paying them for their professional advice and to do accounts etc, would the accountant be liable for the fines?
     
    Posted: Dec 30, 2020 By: tony84 Member since: Apr 14, 2008
    #19
  20. KAC

    KAC UKBF Ace Free Member

    1,344 313
    You could always ask them - which is why they have PI insurance. You'd be lucky to be successful though. Even if you have an opinion in writing you can be sure that the client has bent the rules in a way of which the accountant was not apprised by not sufficiently separating the management and control of the businesses.

    Realistically though, if both businesses stay under the VAT threshold, unlikely to be investigated as will be off VAT radar and businesses won't be linked by HMRC as under different ownership.

    Problem may surface if one business is registered and has a VAT inspection as the existence of the other business may be noted and enquired into
     
    Posted: Dec 30, 2020 By: KAC Member since: May 7, 2017
    #20