There are many wonderful aspects to working as a contractor. You’ve got the freedom to work the hours that suit you. You can select projects that you are genuinely interested in without having to deal with office politics. If this is a career step you are considering taking, then you have to bear in mind that you’ll also have responsibility for managing all of your tax and administrative matters.
However, if you’re busy tendering for and working on projects (remember that it’s up to you to source contracts) you might well find you don’t have as much time and energy to dedicate to doing all the paperwork as you would like.
As such, it is worth enlisting the help of an accountant to assist you with completing personal tax returns. Even if you’re fairly confident when it comes to filling out forms and calculating how much tax you need to pay, I certainly recommend you seek out expert help. Doing so means you can be sure of meeting all your financial obligations and, as you don’t have to do all your paperwork by yourself, it could free up more time for you to spend with your loved ones or indeed sourcing other contract work.
Hiring an accountant to help file your tax returns ought to make the process simpler and less time-consuming; however, I think it’d be a mistake to automatically select the first company you find in the phonebook or after doing a search online. In much the same way as you would choose a car insurance provider, it’s important to spend time looking at a range of accountants so you are in a position to select one that offers the services you require for a competitive price.
One vital thing that needs considering is the manner in which an organisation charges for their services. Whether it is done on a weekly or monthly basis, I always advise you enquire about this, so you can keep on top of money management. It’s also worth finding out if there are any entry or exit fees attached to their services.
To make sure the organisation that you wish to handle your tax accounts is reputable, you might also want to look to see what, if any, industry accreditations and awards they have.
In addition, I suggest you find out if a payroll and accountancy services provider is approved by organisations such as Investors in People and Customer Service Excellence. Contractors should also check to see if an accountant has links with leading recruitment bodies like the Association of Professional Staffing Companies and Professional Passport.
Other steps worth taking include visiting a company’s testimonial page to read feedback left by previous customers and confirming whether payroll services like invoicing and bank entries are offered.
Whichever adviser or accountant you choose, you ought to bear in mind that you will need to provide them with written permission that permits them to deal directly with HMRC when managing tax affairs. This can be done by completing the tax authority’s 64-8 Authorising Your Agent form, which can be downloaded for free from its website.