Why Your Business Needs an Accountant

By Guest Author: David Colom

In these days of increasing complexity of tax and regulations, even the smallest of businesses needs an accountant. The main things that a good qualified accountant will be able to assist you with are as follows:

1. He will help you get your business started

In the early days of your business, it would be advisable for you to prepare cashflow projections and projected accounts, so that you are fully prepared for all eventualities during your first period of trading. These projections will be required by your company bankers if finance/overdraft facilities are required and your bankers and more likely to be impressed if the presentation is made by a qualified accountant, who will ensure that all relevant issues have been taken into account in your presentation.

You will also need to register yourself with the Inland Revenue and consider the important decision as to whether you should trade through a limited company, as opposed to working as a sole trader or in partnership.

A qualified accountant will also be able to advise regarding VAT registration, personal tax matters arising on your change of circumstances, bookkeeping system set up and specific business regulations/taxes which relate to your own particular business.

2. Ongoing services for your business accounts and tax

The most obvious issues which your accountant will deal with are the business accounts and tax affairs. The accounts are prepared on an annual basis and must be submitted to the Inland Revenue together with tax computations/returns.

In addition to preparing the accounts and tax computations in the correct format, your accountant will also be mindful of the time deadlines and penalties which may arise for late filing and should remind you to send him the information in order to avoid problems/costs arising.

The ongoing services which your accountant can provide during the year are as follows:
  • Accounts preparation
  • Tax returns for yourself and business
  • Payroll service (monthly payslips, calculations of PAYE/NIC to Inland Revenue and year end returns, including form P35, P60, P14, P11D)
  • Company secretarial matters (if you trade through a limited company), including Annual Return to Companies House and other forms required by the Registrar of Companies in respect of company directors, secretaries, etc.
  • VAT returns
  • Tax planning advice (see below)
3. Planning for the future

In addition to the present ongoing running issues as above, a good accountant will assist you to plan in respect of future issues which will arise in connection with your personal tax and accountancy affairs.

In particular, he would consider the follows:
  • Present and future company structure, including changes to capital structure, shareholders, family interests, remuneration/drawings planning and tax implications arising thereon
  • Capital gains tax matters and planning
  • Inheritance tax planning
  • Business consultancy
  • Financial services including pension planning, business finance and personal savings/assurance

Of course you could manage without an accountant and deal with all of the above yourself but anyone who is serious about being in business and achieving success would not consider it.

About the author:
Copyright 2005 David Colom.
David Colom is the senior partner at D J Colom & Co, a specialist firm of Chartered Accountants providing accountancy services to a variety of small businesses. See http://www.djcolom.co.uk for more information on their services.

D J Colom & Co Chartered Accountants

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