Calculator, pen and paper signifying accounting for self employed

Newly self-employed: Time to get an accountant?

Amid the buzz of being your own boss, chasing new opportunities and deciding what day rate you should charge, you’ll likely have a nagging feeling that you should be more on top of your finances.

Do I have to have an accountant?

No. You don’t. Just like you don’t need to have a marketing expert helping you out, nor an SEO specialist to get you visible on the web.

Would an accountant be useful? Undoubtedly. They’ll be able to not only make you aware of your responsibilities (some of which might surprise you), but also advise you on how to be as tax-efficient as possible.

But I’m not making much money yet!

Clearly if it’s early days an you’re only bringing in a small amount, hiring an expensive accountant probably isn’t the best course of action. What you can do, however, is get in touch with a local accountant for a free consultation. They’ll be able to tell you what they can offer and (if they’re reputable), whether enlisting their services is likely to be cost effective.

Is there an alternative?

No matter how little you’re earning, you have responsibilities when you’re self-employed. You’ll need to register with HMRC, fill out an annual Self Assessment, keep track of all your expenses… the list goes on.

While an accountant will help you with this and more, there’s plenty of free advice available online. Be aware, though, that it’s not always easy to digest, and it’s easy to draw the wrong conclusions when it comes to things like knowing what you can and can’t claim as a legitimate business expense.

To find out how to register as self employed, take a peek at this video from HMRC…

How much does an accountant cost?

As you might expect, accountancy costs vary wildly – and so does their level of service.

If you’re operating as a sole trader, expect to pay around £250 per year for accountancy advice (this should also include some form of accounting software).

If you’ve set up your own limited company, things get a bit more expensive. Expect to pay upwards of £700 per year.

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