How much do accountants charge to do tax returns and advise on tax?

(19 Posts)
LittleFrieda Wed 21-Nov-12 16:34:23

A good accountant -- probably not a cheap one -- will save you in tax more than he/she costs each year.

sausagerolemodel Mon 19-Nov-12 02:23:04

I use an online accountancy firm called Crunch and can honestly say that they have been brilliant so far. I am terrible with spreadsheets. My working knowledge of excel is quite basic and doing my accounts has always thrown me into a spin (think tesco bags full if scrunched up receipts). Crunch have an amazing interface that lets you see at a glance how the business is doing. They churn out invoices for you, and with receipts and invoices for expenses and outgoings, you can email them or take a picture of the receipt on yr phone and it will upload it and scrape the data from it automatically, so you don't even need to manually add it. For someone like me it's a godsend. They also handle vast returns and my annual tax return and my sole trader accounts. I pay something like 75 quid a month (plus 15 quid extra for them to do payroll as well) which worked out not much more than my old accountant charged to do my sole trade accounts. I think there might be a free version as well but with some limitations on the service. Worth checking out anyway. And you can call and ask daft questions anytime of the accountants. ;-) www.crunch.co.uk

Disclaimer. I am not affiliated in any way to them but they have been lifesavers

StripyShoes Thu 15-Nov-12 16:05:47

I startedd up in July and have spent a few hours today getting on top of it all. I can highly recommend the wh smiths books. Easy to use and have examples!

Oblomov Thu 15-Nov-12 16:01:33

I have spreadsheets on excel, which I was using at work today. I could e-mail you these. Or actually, they are easily obtainable by googling.
They really are basic and you could then keep on top of it yourself. If you do the donkey work , you can cut your costs by a huge amount.

MrAnchovy Thu 15-Nov-12 12:03:39

Yes, £250-£350 plus VAT should get you a decent sole practitioner, about twice that for a local firm or specialist (e.g. for entertainers, authors etc.) or twice again for a national firm.

Most sole practitioners or local firms have bookkeepers internally or associates who will take on the 'carrier bag' job. Expect to pay about £35 an hour for this; it usually takes about a day, half that if there isn't too much and it is in an OK state or twice that or more if there are a lot of transactions (e.g. domestic plumber, ebay trader).

Accountants can work quite happily on the phone or by email so can be in another city (or continent grin). A bookkeeper on the other hand needs to be local unless there are really good systems in place (for instance I can offer a remote bookkeeping service by post for £35 a month).

DorsetKnob Thu 15-Nov-12 08:18:53

I do a very basic spreadsheet of what comes in and goes out and hand it over to the accountant, she charges about £300 for both of us.

sheeplikessleep Thu 15-Nov-12 08:18:39

Mumblechum1 - are you me? grin
I've got a days grace today to sort out all of my project files. About 2 years through I want to get it sorted before Christmas.
I hate the paperwork side of it all

mumblechum1 Thu 15-Nov-12 07:59:41

I know <<wails>> I've got a lot better over the last six months so next year's isn't going to be that bad, but I'm doing the hands over ears singing la la la thing about y/e 2012.

I'm going to try to clear a day in my diary next week and just get on with it.

Then all I'll have to worry about is sorting out my wardrobe.....

Tee2072 Thu 15-Nov-12 07:53:09

I also want to strongly urge you to keep on top of it! It's a pain, but a necessary pain, to do it weekly at least in order to not have to do it all at once!

mumblechum1 Thu 15-Nov-12 07:36:12

Thanks everyone! I will go over my stuff (I'm obv. talking April 2011 to April 2012 when the business was quieter than it is now) and get the paperwork in some sort of order then try to find a bookkeeper.

Cheers

Allalonenow Belgium Wed 14-Nov-12 23:21:22

You should also be keeping a log of car use, and details of petty cash spent.

Allalonenow Belgium Wed 14-Nov-12 23:18:54

You must keep your own cash analysis book, detailing all your expenditure and income, do not give your accountant a plastic bag full of rubbish as it will cost you a lot of money for them to do something you can do for yourself.

For instance, every time you pay an invoice or buy anything for the business cross reference the invoice with your payment cheque with a number or letter scheme. Then present all records to the accountant in order.

You can buy cash analysis books in W H Smiths or from Viking. Keeping good records will help you to see how well your business is doing, what your weak spots are, where you can improve.

inmyheadimthequeen Wed 14-Nov-12 23:03:58

It helps though, if you keep your own books in order, i.e. exactly what you have billed and paid out, rather than just a bag of paper that needs ploughed through - you are paying for their time, after all. Yes, they should advise you on tax efficiency and so on but cost will depend on complexity of your other finances and also where in the country you are - at least £300 upwards is reasonable to expect but you may find the tax advice you get offsets the cost you incur.

Definitely use a bookkeeper to get the accounts sorted and then an accountant to advise on tax efficiency.

Oblomov Wed 14-Nov-12 21:21:52

You may not need an accountant to do the donkey work. I do accounts. My best friend runs a book keeping service. Find a very good book keepepr to get all your accouts in order, regularly, and then your final accountant's fee will be minimal.

sheeplikessleep Wed 14-Nov-12 21:10:07

Was going to say my sister charges me £40 each quarter to do my VAT return. She also keeps the files less slatternly than I do!

It's a limited company, so I think the tax is more involved (corporation tax, personal tax and another I can't remember!)

sheeplikessleep Wed 14-Nov-12 21:08:55

I pay £750 for mine each year.

My sister does my VAT return.

But I have quite a few receipts, turnover about £90k a year.

mumblechum1 Wed 14-Nov-12 21:05:23

Bump smile

mumblechum1 Wed 14-Nov-12 17:00:42

I'm a will writer and getting geared up to do my second year's tax return. First one wasn't too much of a headache as I was only writing about 1 will a week, but the business has now taken off and there's a lot more info to keep tabs on.

So if I get an accountant to look at my monthly spreadsheets to see what I'm billing and plough through what is basically a carrier bag of expense receipts, how much are they likely to charge? Also would they be able to give me a sort of MOT and tell me where I'm going wrong and can be more tax efficient?

If there are any self employed accountants out there without a will, maybe we could do a mutal back scratching exercise??

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