It’s a difficult decision choosing an accountant and you’ve probably got some questions you want to ask, hopefully, our frequently asked questions will help.
Below are the answers to the frequently asked questions we get asked the most (just click on the heading to see the answer). If your question isn’t here, just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you with an answer.
Not quite as we come in all shapes and sizes! However, it’s true that we all tend to do the basic accounting activities in the same way, after all, we are complying with legislation and HMRC requirements. But that is where the similarities stop, certainly here at Aldous & Saunders.
Our aim is to become your trusted business advisers, moving far beyond merely producing a set of accounts once a year. That’s why we place such great store on our close relationships with clients and work hard to achieve and maintain this, taking nothing for granted.
It depends on your experiences to date. If all your previous accountant did was basically produce a set of accounts, and often late too, then it is not surprising you think of this as a necessary expense and we probably would too. However, we do go the extra mile and always try our level best to provide a service that goes way beyond a set of accounts, becoming trusted advisers.
We all must produce accounts in a set format, as determined by HMRC with no scope for change. However, a set of accounts is only produced once a year, and the real difference is what happens the other 364 days of that year!
The advice help and guidance you receive from us will make your life easier and take away some of the hassles of running your business. We can provide an outside perspective, answer any queries and provide clear guidance before your year-end, which gives you a chance to make an informed decision which will impact how much tax you ultimately pay. So, in this sense, we are different.
It means you will deal with the same partner, who has a direct vested interest in making the relationship work. Our office team is a small tight-knit group, working in one open plan office, which means they know our clients by name. Nothing gets lost between departments.
We can allocate our time and resources according to the needs of our clients, as being small, we can react quickly if need be. If you would rather deal with a large multi-partner firm, with large expensive plush offices (and fees to match) then we aren’t right for each other.
You will deal with one of the partners throughout for your initial meeting, midterm review, before year-end to review your position and make any tax saving recommendations, and after your accounts have been produced. Plus of course, any advice needed throughout the year.
You will also be introduced to your own account manager and they will handle any day to day admin issues, payroll, VAT, Auto Enrolment, etc.
Provided you give us all the information we need to produce your accounts, we normally calculate your liability within four months of your year-end, giving you plenty of time to prepare.
Working together we can produce your accounts within four months of your year-end, although they don’t have to be produced that quickly.
What we don’t do is produce your accounts right at the last minute, just before the submission deadline – it is too stressful and gives you precious little time to make arrangements to pay HMRC any monies due.
Remember a set of accounts on its own has little practical use, as they are by nature a historical record and we are all living in the present, focussing on the future. That’s why in many ways the meeting we do just before your year end is more important, as we can look at trends and have a pretty good idea what your financial year is going to look like, meaning we can act to reduce any tax liability, if it is right for the business to do so.
It is easier for you to visit us, as we have everything to hand and being blunt it is cost effective too. It’s not that your time isn’t valuable, but as we operate on a fixed fee basis, we normally price in no travelling time or expense, keeping your investment as low as possible
We promise to deliver what we have agreed at the outset in our letter of agreement. If that takes us longer than we have planned for, then so be it and that is our problem. If we quote you a fixed fee for the year, that’s what it will be.
If you require any additional services that have not included in the initial letter of agreement, then we will come to an arrangement and let you know in advance what these costs are likely to be.
We would argue that the extra value we deliver, means you should rarely wait to change accountants, as the danger is you end up accepting second best for far too long and if not now, when? Obviously, if your current accountants are just finalising your accounts for last year, then it might be prudent to wait but our advice is let’s talk and see what’s best for you.
Apart from professional courtesy, what we need is your background data to see what has been submitted on your behalf to HMRC. The more information we can get, the better and your previous accountant will hand this over and it gives us a much better understanding of your position. Frequently the information takes some interpreting and clarifying, especially if the relationship between you hasn’t been great, but we’re not happy until everything is sorted to our satisfaction.
This is a common fear, but technology has moved on considerably in the last few years, is now very intuitive and you can’t break it either! We will train you to ensure you are comfortable, our team are very conversant with the different systems and are always on the end of the phone if you get stuck. And of course, if you want, we can take all the work away from you if you want our full bookkeeping service too. Please don’t worry on this score.