By Jonathan London on 21st December 2012

Accounting Software for Contractors vs Online Accountants

Whether you class yourself as a contractor, freelancer, consultant or locum, when you work through your own limited company as a director you are personally liable for any mistakes made in the preparation of your accounts. There are options out there to help with your accounting needs and having a professional to look after your accounts will minimise the risk of errors being made, also save you time to do the things you love.

We have taken a look at a few accounting options open to you whether its specific accounting software for contractors, hiring an accountant or our contractor accountant offering which combines the two.

Choosing accounting software to help manage your limited company

Accounting software for contractors (like Kashflow and SAGE) essentially take an offline bookkeeping spreadsheet and place it within a software package which you install on your PC or laptop. Innovative additional features like tax deadline alerts, end of year accounts submission, inputting expenses and invoicing also make the accounting challenge simpler and quicker.

The main benefit of using accounting software is you are solely in control of your accounts enabling you to see how your business is performing. This will potentially increase efficiency, enable insightful decisions and decrease the cost involved in hiring an accountant on a full time basis.

Accounting software is generally well designed and simple to use. Most providers offer a free trial, which is a great way to test out various systems and see which works best for you and your business.

Although there are many benefits in investing in accounting software and bringing your accounts to the 21st century, you will still need to hire an accountant to compile and submit your annual company accounts for you. The hunt for an accountant is the next challenge and can sometimes be an expensive one.

Reasons to hire an accountant to manage your limited company accounts

It goes without saying that an accountant’s expertise is extremely valuable and crucial to efficiently managing the growth of your business. Having a face to face meeting with your accountant are extremely useful, however you may feel out of touch with how your business is performing if these meetings are not conducted regularly.

A typical accountant’s monthly fixed fee has barely changed due to competition between suppliers. However typical fixed fee rates for contractors are substantially lower than the annual fees charged by many general small business accountants, largely due to the often complex nature of these types of accounts. Accountants will have in-depth knowledge of the latest changes in tax legislation, be able to advise you on tax savings and liaise with HMRC on your behalf.

The vast majority of contractors do use an accountant, as they do take care of a wide range of obligations on your behalf, leaving you free to concentrate on making the most out of your company and enjoying your leisure time.

Online Accounting Services for contractors – cloud based application AND a dedicated accountant

This is where we get a little biased! Where we think our service comes into its own is that we combine the main benefits of both of the above options.

An online accounting service includes the use of a cloud or web based application (we developed our own – you can try it for free!) – so there’s no software to download and install and you get a snapshot of your business finances in real-time. We’ve even got a mobile accounting app so you can do your accounts wherever you are, on the go.

The main benefit however is that use of the accounting application comes with having a dedicated accountant to help oversee your business finances, who is also there to complete your quarterly and annual tax obligations.

Our team of accountants offer solutions, advice and accounting procedures for contractors, freelancers and limited company directors in all industries across the UK.

Even being largely an online entity, you will be able to schedule meetings, have in-depth telephone conversations, and use our convenient web chat service and email for help and assistance whenever you need it.

For our full feature breakdown check out our accounting features or chat to our team on 0808 168 0422.

Jonathan London Written by Jonathan London

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