You might have heard about specialist accountants just for contractors, but what are the benefits of using one? We look into them here.
Contractors can almost always benefit from an accountant. The aim of being self-employed is to have control over your workday, not to spend large sections of it working out your finances. Furthermore, the more time you spend on your accounts, the less time you can spend earning money.
That’s why many contractors have turned to accountants to manage their finances, freeing up their time to market themselves and complete more paid work. However, choosing an accountant is not that simple. First and foremost, there’s the question of whether or not to opt for a specialist accountant.
This is an important decision, but hopefully we can show you that the answer is simple: opting for a specialist is a much better choice for a contractor, for a range of different reasons. These are the main benefits of using a specialist contractor accountant:
Unless you’re an accountant yourself, it’s unlikely you spend much time reading up on the changes to legislation that affect self-employed taxation. Many contractors only end up hearing about them once they are already in place, so don’t have time to prepare themselves financially for whatever new developments are implemented.
Even accountants might not be up to speed on the state of specific freelance legislation such a IR35, if they don’t have experience dealing with the finances of self-employed workers. While they can always do their research and become familiar with it over time, this is no substitute for a background working with contractors and being immersed in this area of the law.
Opting for a specialist means knowing you’re covered when it comes to legislation relevant to contractors and freelancers. A contractor accountant will keep themselves informed about any changes that are likely to be coming, and make sure your finances comply with the new rules. This gives you peace of mind and ensures you don’t fall foul of any regulations.
There’s no denying that the finances of a contractor are different from those of a business or a permanently employed individual. You might be registered as a limited company or a sole trader, have to deal with irregular income, and need to work out the most financially sound way to pay yourself a wage.
A specialist contractor accountant will be familiar with all of this. When you’re dealing with something fairly freelance-specific – such as claiming personal expenses, for example – you know you’ll be in the hands of someone who has plenty of relevant experience.
This means you’ll be able to get the right advice, as well as some that you didn’t know you needed. For example, did you know that you can claim some of your electricity bill back if you work from home? A specialist contractor accountant does, and will make sure you maximise your take-home pay.
When you work for yourself, managing expenses becomes incredibly important. Your income can vary by a surprisingly large amount from month to month, so it is usually extremely helpful if your outgoings remain the same. This makes any service with a set price very useful.
Unfortunately, many accountancy services come with hidden costs. You might end up paying an hourly rate to get financial advice, for example, or need to cough up extra for a service that you didn’t realise you needed.
It’s highly unlikely that a specialist contractor accountant would hit you with hidden charges, as they will be familiar with the needs of self-employed workers. They will likely have fixed-price packages for you to choose, so you know exactly how much will be leaving your bank account each month.
Being a contractor means sometimes working odd hours, as you have the freedom to choose how and when you start and finish each day. This lifestyle allows for a lot of flexibility and control over your schedule and workload. So why can’t you get the same thing from your accountant?
While you might not find this at a high-street firm, most contractor accountants will be well-aware of your needs regarding flexibility, and be more than happy to help you out. For example, you’ll usually find that they have a system for checking on your finances online, so you can read up on them on-the-go from a mobile phone.
Contact Brookson today to book a FREE consultation and see if our all-inclusive accountancy service will benefit you.