Sometimes people can feel their accountant isn’t giving them the level of service they expect. In many cases this may well be justified, and maybe a change of accountant is in order.
However sometimes it’s not the accountant’s fault. There are some exceptionally good accountants (like us!) trying to give their clients a good service, but sometimes it’s the clients who aren’t making it easy.
This is the first in a series of posts covering five ways in which you can help your accountant to provide you with the service you deserve.
Getting your records to your accountant in good time.
In most cases you have at least nine months to get your records to your accountant, so why oh why, leave it until the last minute.
I can’t think of one good reason why you should, and lots of reasons why you shouldn’t.
Let us begin!
- If there is missing information or questions your accountant needs to ask you, it gives you little time to respond, especially if you need to request copies of the missing information from third parties.
- Nobody likes to make mistakes, but we are all human, and it does happen. When your accountant is under pressure because of a looming deadline, the likelihood of them making a mistake greatly increases.
- It gives your accountant very little time to review the figures properly. An important part of our job is assessing whether the figures look right, and if not, why not? If the filing deadline is close, we have very little time to do this. Our focus will be on simply getting everything filed on time.
- Like the above point, your accountant should be reviewing ways in which you could be saving tax. Could you be claiming more for business use of home, are you claiming the maximum mileage allowance. If the filing deadline is tomorrow, there’s no time to address these areas, so the chances are they will just get put to one side.
- If your tax liability is higher than you think, it gives you very little time to work out how to raise the funds or agree a payment plan with HMRC. Also, if you are making payments on account and you complete your Self-Assessment tax return before 31 July, you could potentially reduce your July payment if your liability is lower than estimated.
Finally, remember, you may not be the only client to leave it until the last minute. So, you may think a week is plenty of time for your accountant to complete the job, but they may have another five clients who have exactly the same thought as you. This is particularly the case with Self-Assessment tax returns which all have a 31 January deadline.