These are the things to consider when choosing a contractor accountant:

COST v QUALITY:  You get what you pay for.  There are a lot of firms competing for your business and they all have different offerings at different costs.  Our observation is that the market leader charges the highest monthly fees, doesn’t use cutting edge technology and is a bit of a mass production machine (they have >10,000 clients).  I have contractor friends who use cheaper offerings but admit they get a fairly light touch.  If you pay £60 pcm plus vat you should expect a very light touch and be prepared to do the work yourself.  The market leader charges £110 cpm but still expects you to fill out spreadsheets!  AT PDS we charge a fair price for the services we provide and are very transparent about what that is.  We’re inclined to be a little over generous on “extras” as we believe you reap what you sew.

ARE THEY A REGULATED FIRM: There is no law which givers the use of the description “accountant”.  We have come across unregulated, unqualified accountants giving poor advice as well as over charging.  Also using an unregulated accountant may expose you to tax risks care of the Managed Service Company regulations.  A regulated accountant is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales or the The Chartered Association of Certified Accountants.  Qualified is not the same as regulated.  An individual may be ATT (Association of TAx Technicians) or AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) qualified but not working for a regulated firm.  Choose an accountant with the right “badge”

TECHNOLOGY:  You don’t need fancy technology to do tax and accounts.  Those that use it, such as PDS, can be more efficient and cost effective.  We have a partnership with Xero, a market leading online technology platform, to our contractor clients, but you don’t have to use it if you don’t want to.

HOW WILL THEY WORK WITH YOU?:  We believe that we will work with clients as they wish to be worked with.  At PDS we meet some of our client face-to-face or do business entirely by electronic means or telephone depending on what the client wants.


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