When you first start working for yourself from home you might think that the last thing you need is an accountant.
When you first start working for yourself from home you might think that the last thing you need is an accountant. It is an extra expense and if you are looking for self employment ideas with a low start, the last thing you want is dead money. But it doesn’t usually take long for a business which is going somewhere, even if your intention is to keep it small and work as a sole trader, to need some financial advice and this is where a good accountancy partner is invaluable.
You will need to put aside some time to interview accountants because not all accountancy firms are the same. Probably on their website they will specify what kinds of businesses they specialise in and if yours is listed then that is a good start. But sometimes firms list things which were the speciality of a partner or associate who is no longer with the firm and so you need to know if the skill is still in house. Make a list of questions to ask and stick to it. You might like to throw in a few questions which don’t apply to your business in its current state but might in the future, such as how to apply for a business loan or what the accountant’s views are on business to business finance. In this way you will be able to find out if the person you are interviewing has the best interests of your company at heart.
As with most things in the business world, word of mouth is often the best recommendation. If you have a friend, acquaintance or family member who is working from home part time and has an accountant, ask them what they think of them. Don’t go to the same firm just because your friend is using them. Many people stick with accountants and solicitors and similar professionals not because they are any good but out of habit or misplaced loyalty. Make sure that they are doing a good job and if the person you ask sounds or looks the slightest bit dubious, ask why they seem uncertain. It may be just a personal thing, but if it is any problem with their professional conduct it is better to go elsewhere.
Once you have an accountancy partner with whom you feel comfortable, you will have someone who you can go to for advice on any aspect of the financial side of your business. They will have your wellbeing at heart and a good accountant can be quite literally worth their weight in gold. They will be able to advise you on business financing and will make sure that you go to the best provider as well as keeping an eye on best rates for your business account and which bank is currently offering the best terms. But if all your accountant does for you is your tax return, that is one job off your back and you will have more time for the work life balance which was the reason for you becoming self employed in the first place.