18 Apr Should I hire an accountant or get accountancy software?
Whether or not you should hire an accountant or use accountancy software is a big question a lot of people ask in business, especially when they’re just starting out and trying to minimise costs. Here we run through the benefits of both to help you decide.
Using accounting software…
There’s no getting around the fact that software comes with a price tag, and it’s usually less than you would pay to hire a professional accountant. Bookkeeping and tax preparation software range in price. There is usually an upfront saving to using software, as even a monthly subscription will generally cost you less than the monthly (or annual) fee you would pay a pro. This is one of the most attractive bonuses of software, especially for start-ups and businesses with a low profit margin.
Once you have everything you need, completing your bookkeeping and taxes with software is straightforward and simple, provided you know what you’re doing. You can usually do it yourself in a few hours, whereas an accountant will take days or weeks to process your files and paperwork. The key here is the ‘if you know what you’re doing’ part. Software can be tricky to master, and you still need to know exactly what documentation you need, how to classify your expenses, what’s allowable and what isn’t, and a host of other information that you simply may not know.
Good software tends to be intuitive, and most come with at least basic tutorials to get you started. This will help you when it comes to figuring out how to do everything you need to, and may even offer guidance on what paperwork you need, along with various other factors.
Hiring a professional accountant…
Access to the pros’ tools
Accountants tend to have their own software, and it’s a lot more sophisticated than the versions you can get. They can usually also provide you with access to bookkeeping software for a significant discount thanks to their accountant status. This gives you the benefits of a real professional, as well as the software you need to handle certain elements yourself. You might have your accountant handle your tax return and do everything else yourself. This is a happy middle ground – you pay a little more for the professional help but a little less for the software – which evens out, especially when you take into account the expertise you’re gaining.
The human touch
A good accountant will cultivate a relationship with you. They will understand your finances, your background, and any goals or threats you are currently facing. As such they can advise you on your very specific situation, meaning you don’t have to rely on generic advice or your best guess.
Accountants can provide year-round answers to your questions
In business, it’s not only tax season that results in questions. Business owners often have queries all year round. A professional accountant can answer your questions whatever time of year it is and ensure you’re always on top of your finances and getting the most out of your business.
Whether you’re better off with an accountant or software is entirely dependent upon your specific situation. If you’d like some advice on what’s best for you and your business, get in touch with us at SQK Accounting, we’re happy to help…