Do I need a bookkeeper or an accountant?
A common query from business owners is, who do I need to help me? An accountant or a bookkeeper? Most accountants do offer bookkeeping services, but this will likely be at a higher charge than a bookkeeper, and may only be carried out when compiling your records for taxes and annual reporting.
A bookkeeper can work as regularly as you need them to, so you can have the information you need, when you need it. They can work alongside you and be available when you need them, to ease your workload, and reduce the time your accountant needs to spend on processing your accounts records, by having everything up to date and ready for them.
A bookkeeper will record and organise financial data accurately, to provide reliable accounting records to assist you in running and growing your business, and to assist your accountants in creating your financial statements and annual accounts.
In general, a sole trader or partnership would only need to use a bookkeeper, but an accountant can always be used for completing your self assessment returns if preferred. A limited company would need to use an accountant for submitting their annual accounts to Companies House and the corporation tax return to HMRC.
Services a bookkeeper can provide include:
· Processing sales and purchase invoices
· Maintaining the sales and purchase ledgers
· Credit control
· Recording bank transactions and reconciling bank accounts
· Processing payroll
· Preparing and filing VAT returns
· Preparing and filing CIS returns
· Prepare financial reports as required
· Preparing cashflow statements and forecasts
A bookkeeper can provide the information and explanations to help you understand how your business is performing, where you can make improvements and support you in growing your business, by keeping you up to date with the latest figures.
An accountant will be responsible for overseeing the accounts, producing annual accounts and tax returns for filing and ensuring the business is fully compliant with the law. They will have in depth knowledge of a company’s tax and legal obligations, so will be able to provide advice and guidance to assist you in planning for the future of your business and making important decisions.
Services an accountant can provide include:
· Preparing financial statements and annual company accounts
· Preparing corporation tax returns
· Preparing income tax returns
· Financial management advice
· Tax planning
· Analysing business performance
As a business grows, an accountant can provide the knowledge, advice and guidance to taking the right steps towards sustainable growth and achieving your business goals.
For limited companies in particular, using both a bookkeeper and an accountant can be the perfect combination to give you all the support and advice you need when running a successful business, whilst offering the flexibility you need and to suit your budget.