Do I really need an accountant? | An Honest Assessment

At Quay Accountants, we always see this is question pop up on most social media platforms. Do you legally need one? No, so why do so many businesses have an accountant?

What does an accountant do?

First of all – let us define what an accountant is. An accountant’s role generally is to help a business file and report specific tax returns/accounts to the relevant bodies by a specific date to avoid you receiving a late penalty.

Typical duties an accountant undertakes are:

  • preparing accounts and tax returns
  • auditing financial information
  • compiling and presenting plans, statements, budgets, and reports
  • analysis of current efficiency, plans, forecasts, and risk
  • documenting financial transactions
  • reviewing financial documents to resolve any discrepancies and irregularities
  • recommending financial actions
  • providing guidance for financial efficiency and balancing

Why should I have an accountant? 

It is important here to consider why so many people go through accountancy training and spend years gaining the relevant qualifications if anyone can complete an accurate set of accounts.

Accounts must be prepared in line with the financial reporting standards, which is a whole rule book that accountants learn. It would be very rare for a business owner to know and understand the above rules and update that knowledge on a regular basis.

Also, in general, a business owners would only look at their books when they have to, thus not taking care in the preparation of the returns and potentially missing expenses they are able to claim.

None of the above is considering tax rules that change often, and trust me; tax is a complicated game.

Benefits of having an accountant

  • They help your business grow with the advice and guidance they give you.
  • Saves you time (and stress), leaving you to concentrate on what matters most in your business
  • Saves you money by claiming everything you are able to, but more importantly, not letting you claim for things that could land you in trouble with HMRC – just because Dave down at the pub said you could claim for it doesn’t mean you can claim for it.
  • Assists in business planning and goal setting
  • Helps to expand your network by introducing you to relevant contacts to really help your business expand
  • Someone to listen to you; being in business can sometimes be a lonely place, but having the right accountant means you’ll never have to feel that way.
  • An accountant knows what they are doing.
  • If you use an accountant who is regulated, you can rest assured that the work they complete for you is to the highest level and comply with professional standards.
  • An accountant doesn’t just crunch numbers; they also offer expert advice on things from determining your pricing strategy to how to sell your business.

Disadvantages of having an accountant

  • An accountant’s services are not free
  • Some accountants use jargon which does not help you understand what is going on in your business, and they do not take the time to explain what the figures mean
  • If you use an accountant that isn’t regulated, you have no comeback if they mess up your figures
  • Depending on the accountant you choose, for example, if you chose a one man band, if they are on annual leave or sick, you may not be able to get hold of them.

Contact Quay Accountants today!

Whether you’re setting up a new business and looking at accountancy services for the first time or are unhappy with the service your existing accountant is providing, we’d love to discuss your requirements in more detail. Contact us today.

Picture of Liz Ridley

Liz Ridley

Liz is the managing director at Quay Accountants. She set up this firm of certified chartered accountants in Greater Manchester, believing that clients deserve the highest level of service.