Ed’s Top Tips – Tip 9 – Make Friends With An Accountant

Tip 9: Make Friends With An Accountant

Ed Goodman, business mentor, author and co-founder of Cambridge Business Lounge, presents Ed’s Top Tips – a series of short and useful guides for starting and running a business. This week’s topic: make friends with an accountant.

When you start out with your business, the last thing you think you need to do is speak to an accountant. You might think that because you’re only a sole trader that seeking expert accountancy advice isn’t necessary at this stage. You’d be wrong. Everyone needs to submit a tax return and HMRC aren’t the easiest people to communicate with.

The finance side of the business might actually be the hardest to deal with. You are an expert in your own field but the major point is you a not an expert at every part of your business. This is why seeking expertness of accountants, marketing professionals or designers is going to give your business the edge over the competition.

If your like myself and find anything to do with numbers or finance is dealt with burying your head in the sand, then your business isn’t going to have the success you dream it to be. Watch this video where Ed emphasises the importance of seeking out an accountants advice:


Action Point:

Go make friends with an accountant. This will broaden your network and you’ll have professional expertise about a subject you are not an expert in.

Have you met any accountants at networking events or Twitter chats? Why not mention to them your starting out in business and find out if they do offer a free consultation and book it! This will allow you to ask as many questions about how you go about doing your tax return, how to process your expenses. This is then a relationship which will help you in the future as your business grows.

Tell us how you found your accountant and how you’ve found them beneficial to your business. Leave us a comment below or Tweet us using the hashtag #EdsTopTips

Why You Need An Accountant When Starting a Business


a imageTo kick start our new A-Z series for anybody who has recently started a business, or is thinking of doing so, we look at A for Accountants…

The focus for many, when starting a business, is to bring their passion, skill or product to market and then find the customers to buy into it. The thought of talking to an accountant often doesn’t even come up at the start up stage, let alone worry about finding the right one. However, the right support can so often make a difference between a successful and unsuccessful business, and an accountant is one the most valuable ports of call that you have. But why? And how can they help?

Why Does My Start-Up Business Need An Accountant?

Will you start trading as a limited company or sole trader? Should you be VAT registered? What taxes will you be liable for? What documentation should you keep track of and how? And, what do you need to know to set up your business that you don’t know now? It is these questions that you will need answers to and, as Elaine Clark, MD of the award-winning Cheap Accounting states “not seeking advice from the offset can often prove to be a false economy

What Else Will An Accountant Do For Me?

Accountants are known for being tax experts and supporting both businesses and individuals on Self-Assessment, VAT, PAYE, Year End and more. In my opinion, an accountant should be a professional friend and confidante for a business. Elaine goes on to state that, like a friend, an accountant will stand with you throughout “It’s not just about today and what needs to be done at start up. A good accountant will be around for all key events during the life time of the business.” she adds “An accountant should listen to the objectives for the business including the aspirations for the future and advise the owner on the best way to structure the business & set up the system of accounting both now and for the future, explaining this in language that the business owner can understand of course.

How Do I Find A Good Accountant?

A qualified account is a great starting point with ACCA, ICAEW, CIMA and AAT helping you here, but as Elaine says “having letters after a name is not always a sign of quality” she goes on to advise “Ask the accountant what professional body they belong to, do they have professional indemnity insurance and what is their complaints procedure. Failure to provide any of these details should start an alarm bell ringing – listen to it.” Remember that if something does go wrong, you can refer back to a professional body. A option not available if you work with an unqualified accountant.

However, like a decorator, motor garage or website designer, one of the best places to find an accountant is by asking a trusted friend or advisor. Find out what the accountant has done for them and what impact they think it would have had on their business without one. Many accountants will also offer a free initial consultation period, usually around an hour. Use this to find out what the personalities of the people you may be working with are like and understand how genuinely interested in your business they are.

Finally, finding the right accountant could save your business a lot of hassle, time and money. Look for one as early as possible as “Starting a business is like learning to ride a bike” says Lance Uttridge, owner of Cambridgeshire based Uttridge AccountingSome will take to it very quickly others will take longer, but to succeed everyone needs advice, encouragement and support. That is what a start-up needs and what an accountant will give