Frequently Asked Questions

I already have an accountant- why bother with you?

Well, where do we start with that?

When you contact your firm, do you always get a Partner?

You do with us. We believe the relationship we start off with is the one to continue. Too many small clients are given a raw deal.

Your current firm has Offices- what’s in it for you?

Accountants need Offices most of the time- bigger clients expect it and staff have to be accommodated. The downside is that these offices cost and all clients bear the brunt of this. So, if you are happy for us to visit you at your place then your costs will decrease. Lately there’s been a “shift” towards plush premises on Business Parks. Think about it- these places cost a mint to run, and cost you time running back and to for meetings, etc. These Offices are impressive for the bigger clients, but do you need that? Whichever way, you’re bearing a share of the costs.

Your current firm only works business hours

OK- they have staff working arrangements to cope with. But the small businessman usually prefers to do paperwork early evening. We can arrange evening meetings with you. We can also be available Saturday mornings. Emails are always accepted 24/7 and get the quickest possible answer even at weekend.

How long before you hear from your accountant?

Your books go in. Then what? Does it take weeks before you hear anything back? That’s not good. We aim to turn round your work within 30 days. In fact, if we haven’t completed within that time we’ll do the work for half the rate. (There’s a bit of a condition here- we’ll explain it)

How often do you meet with your accountant?

Some traders can’t see any benefit from a meeting, but most do. Done properly, meetings have benefits for the client- and for the disbelievers, just try us and see how different we are. By being a small firm ourselves we are on the same wavelength- we share common problems. So when we meet with Clients we want to hear their problems- even if not accountancy-related. Here’s a definition:- “A problem is a solution looking for somewhere to happen”.

We feel we should meet at least once a year. We’ve over 50 years experience of typical small firm problems. We can share stories and offer potential solutions- or just a shoulder to cry on!

Are your books “challenged” by your accountant?

Sounds bad, but it makes sense. Are you sure you are claiming for everything when you are unsure what to claim for? Our method is to work through your books and then “challenge” any items which may be missing. No, it’s not a nuisance- it saves you paying excess tax. If you don’t get this “feedback” from your current accountant then you should. You’re only human and you can forget things.

Are you still a sole trader/partnership?

In many circumstances (not all) a Limited Company is better. Has this been fully explained to you?

Are you a Limited Company?

OK- you did it. But there are “terms and conditions” from the Government. Have these been fully explained to you? (It’s your responsibility, not your accountant). And are you aware of the best way to be paid from your Limited Company? Done properly, there are huge savings for you.

Do you get a bill after you contact your Accountant?

Well, nobody works for free, (do you?) but many firms have staff who have to “log” time to clients and this is chargeable. It’s their way. But we’re more flexible. Why upset a client with a bill for about £22 a 15 minute phone call? (Charge rates of £90 per hour are quite commonplace)

Rest assured that if something crops up which does involve an additional charge, we’ll sit and talk it through with you.

I’ve got a big business- 7 Directors and 50 staff.

No offence, but look elsewhere. Our heart and soul is in supporting smaller businesses. Those with different needs.

What are your costs like?

Our initial meeting is no cost. Our annual fees must vary according to what we do and the expertise, but we are very competitive and can probably work for less.

My business is not VAT Registered

Neither are we. And we aim to keep it that way. So you don’t pay tax on our accountancy fees.

I don’t know how to keep books. My Accountant tells me off.

OK- we’ll show you. There’s no “mystery” and no misery either. We explain in simple terminology and get you on the right track. If you want us to keep your books, we will. If you want us to do your VAT we will. If, though, you want to do them yourself and have us check them annually we will. In reality, only very few people find bookkeeping too difficult. It’s the terminology that’s scary- so we won’t use it if you don’t like it.

You haven’t mentioned Sage or Computerised Books.

Naturally we know about Sage, and Quickbooks and all the rest. We advise on bookkeeping. Don’t let the software box fool you- these products DO require accountancy knowledge. We can train you on Sage but maybe you’d prefer a customised Excel at a fraction of the cost? Or even a weekly sheet to write on? We’ll advise and guide you. Oh- and keep it simple.

My Accountant works on my books and sends me the result. I leave him to it. No problems for me.

Each to their own. You do your books as best you can. But there will be many items you are likely to forget. You are not an expert And you will lose the Tax Relief. Our method involves double checking with small clients. In many cases the tax (legitimately) saved has covered most of our fees. You still think you have no problems?

So will my Accountancy fees drop?

We can’t promise, but comparing us you’ll find you should get a better service. And if you disagree, we’ll leave you alone until you contact us. We don’t do “hard sell”.

I don’t understand Books VAT and Tax. I don’t understand Accountants.

We do understand Books VAT and Tax. We are Qualified Accountants and Business Advisers. We wrote these FAQs. Read them again- we speak understandably for small businesses. And after so many years, you’ll be surprised at what we know about your business.