Do I need an Accountant for Payroll, NI, PAYE & VAT Services?
The answer is very much dependent on your temperament, skill sets and time. Preparing your own VAT returns, Insurance and PAYE has several advantages. You are in full control, can work at your own pace, and can oversee all aspects of your business. To help you there are a number of cheap software packages on the market which can assist you in preparing your returns, and HMRC now have help lines staffed by knowledgeable officers who are always ready to offer useful advice. And, of course, it is cheaper than employing an accountant.
Video interview with Barry Spencer-Higgins LL.B (Hons), MOI, Barrister-at-Law taken from our sister website www.StartingMyBusiness.Biz
However, this is not for all. Preparing these returns can be complicated, as they sometimes use terminology and language which is not always easy for the layman to understand. Relying too much on software packages can be risky as they are geared to provide standard solutions, when your own circumstances may be different. And the interpretation of results can be difficult for the untrained.
In addition, there are regular changes in legislation, and the rules, particularly for VAT, are complex in certain circumstances. Furthermore, penalties can be incurred if returns are completed incorrectly, potentially serious if HMRC believe there was fraudulent intent involved.
Using an accountant, on the other hand, means that you have a trained professional handling your situation, who is likely to be more familiar with the latest revisions in tax laws, and is used to the terminology and the forms involved. Although their services will cost money, paradoxically they could save you more than they cost, because their knowledge of the legislation means they may be able to reduce your outlay. In addition, you will be less likely to face penalties and fines if a trained professional is handling matters for you, especially if there is any direct contact required with HMRC which, for some, can be a daunting experience!
However, if using an accountant make sure you employ somebody with the right skills and experience. As there are no rules as to who can call themselves an “accountant”, make sure that whoever you use is properly qualified and belongs to an appropriate professional body. It is strongly recommended that you only employ a certified or chartered accountant, as only they are likely to have had the professional training and on the job experience to handle your business appropriately.