How much does your accountant charge?

Probably a great hunk of cash that goes straight against your bottom line & with low profits & difficult cash flow; small businesses in the UK need to remember they don’t need their accounts audited. They can actually submit their accounts to Companies House themselves, although they still need to be accurate and conform to all aspects of the Companies Acts. If you do need an accountant, get them to quote for the whole service you have applied for including phone calls & e-mails… That way you can compare like with like and there will be no surprises .

In my capacity as Franchise Auditor, I do come across some exorbitant accounting fees being charged by accountancy firms to carry out basic year end accounting. Small franchisees and other small businesses are being exploited by professional firms. It does not take long to analyse a set of accounts, especially a computerised set. With on-line submission to companies house, once the draft documents are available the process of submitting is straight-forward and as most of these smaller firms can claim exemption from full filing of accounts. There is no excuse for over-charging with over complicated analysis and cross-referencing with prior years, trends etc.

Of course, with different industries and business types there is no way you can put a maximum figure to how much you should be paying. Some manufacturing businesses, for example may consider a £5k spend on year end accounting good value, whereas a retail shop, with point of sales tills and computerised stock listings may consider £1k a more likely maximum. The best advice is to look at what you are getting and then shop around.

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