Some accountants now offer bookkeeping services alongside accountancy and other compliance services. A one-stop shop for all your accounts needs. But is this the best solution for your business? Can accountants really offer the same service as a dedicated bookkeeper and how does the service you receive compare? Unless you have used a good bookkeeper - whether in house or outsourced - you really can't compare.
Day to day bookkeeping
When I look at some of the work we do for the businesses we work with I wonder whether accountants can, or even want, to offer the same level of service. For example, for one business we raise and send out 2,000+ invoices every year and deal with the subsequent emails, amendments, credit notes, allocating receipts, and banking cheques (there are still some organisations that send cheques!). For other businesses we pay their suppliers and manage their cash flow.
Whilst most of the businesses we work with do their own customer invoicing and pay their suppliers, there other other finance tasks which bookkeepers will do to make sure your accounting records are accurate, the paperwork to support your payments and VAT claims is easily accessible, and most importantly provide you with prompt and regular reports to keep you aware of your financial situation.
We offer bookkeeping on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis, whichever works best for the business. Some business owners only want to put together their paperwork once a quarter and if that works for them we work with that. Others like to have their bank account reconciled weekly and as long as the paperwork is available we will do that too. Most businesses, though, are happy with monthly accounts. They send paperwork electronically as and when they receive it and they know that on the date we have planned to the do their accounts they will receive and respond to any queries. We believe this is best use of time for them and for us.
Are you too busy?
A bookkeeper will take away that overwhelming feeling you get when your business is flying and there is no time to keep the accounts up to date or even to work out how to simplify what you are doing.
Another missed deadline?
Not if you have a bookkeeper! As long as we receive paperwork every month we will keep you informed of the VAT due each month so it doesn't come as a shock the day before you have to pay it. Your VAT return will be filed long before the deadline and keeping your accounts up to date means you can plan for the payment.
Need to find a receipt to return a purchase?
No problem. If it is not attached to the transaction in your accounts software we will find it for you because, if you have given it to us, we will easily be able to find it.
Do you think a bookkeeper is an expense you can't afford?
We are working with businesses whose bookkeeping costs have reduced by half or two thirds of what they were paying before coming to us. Of course if you haven't used a bookkeeper before the cost will be more than doing it yourself. But to make a fair comparison take a note of the time you spend on your accounts, price it up at the rate you charge to do your job and then when you get a quote from a bookkeeper you have something to compare it to. What is the value to you and your business of having up to date, compliant, accurate accounts with the bonus of someone to talk through any accounts related issues with? Value isn't just about cost.
How about a bookkeeper AND an accountant?
It is always worth checking out the costs of having both a bookkeeper and an accountant because you may be pleasantly surprised that the cost is not what you might have expected. I think it is important that a business has both a bookkeeper supporting them and an accountant advising them and providing compliance services because each have knowledge and experience in their own fields. This doesn't mean that you will pay double costs. When you are obtaining quotes for bookkeeping and accountancy services it is worth asking an accountant for the split between bookkeeping (including VAT returns) and accountancy so that you can compare like with like. And always consider having your accounts done remotely as this can work out more cost effective for your business. An accountant who knows your bookkeeper will provide accounts which are accurately presented to them promptly soon after year end will most likely give you a much better price than you would get if you were doing it yourself and they had to rework the figures.
Are you ready to find out more about outsourcing your bookkeeping?
If so, give us a call and talk to one of our bookkeepers to see how we can help you.