It is difficult to define what qualifies as essential accountancy services without knowing the industry, sector and subsector(s) in which the business operates. Nevertheless, there are a few staples that all companies should be looking for in an accounting firm before partnering up with them. Let us quickly go through some of them next.
Whatever the Client Needs: Comprehensive Accounting Service
Ideally, an accounting firm should be able to provide any service that their client may require, as long as it is related to financial consultation, tax consultation, business advice and other relevant fiscal affairs. A comprehensive business accounting service could technically include everything from helping new entrepreneurs build successful start-ups, to assisting established businesses with tax savings in compliance with the HMRC mandates.
This is precisely why top accountancy firms like Azets maintain a wide connection of business experts and accountants from various fields. Azets have offices in London for meeting their clients, but businesses can also book a digital appointment, or even a doorstep visit – whichever is more convenient for them.
Depending on the accounting firm that the company is working with, they may or may not offer bookkeeping services. That being said, accounting firms should most certainly offer the following bookkeeping services:
- Recording all day-to-day business transactions and creating detailed cash flow statements
- Creating annual profit and loss reports (balancing the books) which show revenues generated, expenses incurred, and profits made by the client within the fiscal year
- Generate balance sheets to report the client’s financial position in respect to their assets, stockholder equity and liability
- Create statements of retained earnings to depict changes in the client’s financial status
- Matching and confirming the various financial details by cross-referencing the recorded data with the applicable transactional documents.
The accuracy of the bookkeeping data is of paramount importance, so it is not ideal if separate entities are handling the same company’s bookkeeping, accounting, tax calculations etc. separately. This hampers continuity which, in turn, increases the chances of there being critical errors.
Filing Statutory Accounts
Statutory or annual accounts are a specified collection of financial reports and statements, which must be prepared and filed with the HMRC every year. This applies to every operating private limited business in the United Kingdom. The two common documents which must be included in every annual filing are the balance sheet and the Profit & Loss Statement.
Filing Company Tax Returns
All British companies must file Company Tax Returns each year, even for years where they do not owe corporation tax to the HMRC. The filing must include a Profit/Loss for Corporation Tax report, (supported by the necessary documents), and corporation tax bills. Do note that this profit/loss report will be different from the one submitted while filing your business annual accounts.
Filing VAT Returns
Just like with the CTR, VAT returns must also be filed, even when the business does not owe any value added tax to the HMRC. Unlike corporate tax returns though, VAT returns must be filed every three months.
Business owners should have a solid idea regarding why they need an accounting partner, and what they should expect from the firm before getting into a contract. Aside from their offered services though, always rely on reputation and keep a tab on how accommodating they are about helping you as a business owner. It is best not to immediately sign up long-term, as a short-term contract keeps your options open to change.
Photo credits: coworkinglondon.com