Do I Need An Accountant During The Year Or Only For Year-End Work?


When running a business, managing finances effectively is crucial for success. Whether you’re a startup entrepreneur or the owner of an established company, the question of whether to hire an accountant only for year-end financial tasks or to engage their services throughout the year is a significant one. This decision can impact not just your compliance with legal requirements but also the strategic direction and growth of your business.

As a UK-based bookkeeping and accounting company, we know firsthand how business owners can benefit from collaborating with an accountant, and what this partnership can mean for long-term business growth.

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In this article, we will explore the various factors you should consider to make an informed decision about how often you may need to work with an accountant, including your needs, the complexity of your business, your personal experience and knowledge in accounting and tax, and much more.

Understanding Your Needs: Compliance vs. Advisory

The first step in determining whether you need an accountant year-round or just for year-end tasks is to assess your own needs. Are you looking for accountant to ensure you’re complying with the law, or do you need a professional accountant who can also offer advisory services to help grow your business?

Compliance services include preparing and filing tax returns and financial statements, while advisory services could encompass strategic planning, financial forecasting, cashflow management and management consulting.

Assessing the Complexity of Your Business

The complexity of your business operations is a crucial factor. A simple sole proprietorship with a handful of transactions per month requires a different level of accounting support compared to a multi-layered business that deals with international transactions, multiple revenue streams, and a large volume of transactions. But don’t let a legal structure mislead you. You may be a sole trader with a complex accounting situation and lots of transactions. Or a small limited company with a really straightforward setup.

Your Experience and Knowledge

Your own experience and knowledge in accounting and taxation also play a significant role. If you have a strong background in these areas, you might feel comfortable handling most of the work yourself, only consulting an accountant for the final checks or complex issues. On the other hand, if you’re not confident in this field, regular support from a professional accountant can save you time and protect you from costly mistakes.

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VAT Registration and Transaction Volume

Being VAT registered introduces additional reporting requirements, such as quarterly VAT returns, making it advisable to seek an accountant’s assistance more frequently. Similarly, a higher volume of transactions increases the complexity of your financial records, necessitating more regular accounting oversight from a professional accountant to ensure accuracy and compliance.

Your Business Goals

Consider your aspirations for your business. If you’re aiming for growth, regular engagement with an accountant can provide valuable insights into your financial health and strategic advice on how to achieve your objectives. But, if you’re content with maintaining your current level, less frequent consultations might suffice.

The Timing and Frequency of Accounting Support

The necessity of accounting support doesn’t follow a strict schedule. While some businesses may do well with annual consultations, others benefit from monthly meetings. This is especially true if you require advisory services, as regular interactions with an accountant can help you stay on track towards your goals and adapt to changes quickly.

It’s also important to note that accountants have peak busy periods, typically around tax submission deadlines. Planning ahead is essential to secure their services when you need them, avoiding the stress and potential compromise in service quality that comes with last-minute requests.

Deciding whether to hire an accountant throughout the year or only for year-end financial tasks depends on a variety of factors, including your business needs, the complexity of your operations, your personal expertise, and your long-term goals. While there’s no legal mandate for continuous accounting support from an accountant, the benefits of regular consultations can extend far beyond compliance, aiding in strategic decision-making and business growth. Always consider your specific situation and plan ahead to ensure you receive the level of support that best suits your business’s needs. Engaging with an accountant, whether for periodic checks or ongoing advisory, is an investment in your business’s success and peace of mind.

At Joanna Bookkeeping, we can help support business owners of all shapes and sizes from all over the UK. If you want to avoid getting stuck in red tape and ensure you’re making savvy financial decisions, let us show you how! Book a call with our Oxford-based accountant to see how we can help.

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