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With the coronavirus placing much of the world on lockdown, an online accountant is more vital than ever for many small businesses. In today's article, we'll explain how to go about finding and hiring one.
For many small businesses, an online accountant is a crucial cog in the machine. Is your business is big enough to need help with its finances, but not big enough to need a full time, in house accountant? If so, this article will help you hire the right individual or firm.
What Can Online Accountants Do?
Accounting is now a cloud industry! An online accountant can do anything that an in house employee can do. As long as you choose the right firm or individual, your finances will be well organised without the cost and hassle of hiring in-person staff.
At Key Business Consultants, we can help with:
- Sage One
- Annual Accounts
We have also been helping our clients navigate the complicated areas of finance and tax law since the coronavirus outbreak. We are experts in handling statutory sick pay, furlough compliance and applying for small business grants. Check out our article on how to furlough employees for more information.
What's The Best Online Software To Use?
We recommend Xero to our clients. It has a number of features which make it a superb option for small and medium sized businesses, whether you use an external accountant or not:
- Cloud accounting - stay up to date with your finances at any time, anywhere from any device
- Fewer errors - Xero can pull data directly from your bank account, eliminating human error
- Less stress - the software radically simplifies bank reconciliations, paying bills and filing VAT
- Ease of use - Xero is so intuitive and user friendly, the whole team can get involved
- Value & flexibility - pay on a simple subscription basis and only upgrade when you need to
If you plan to use Xero for your accounting and bookkeeping, make sure the firm you hire is an expert in the software. Key Business Consultants have been awarded Gold Partner status by Xero themselves and we've even built our own project management system via the Xero partner app scheme.
How To Find An Online Accountant
A lot of people will find their online account via a personal recommendation. If you work with other small businesses, as them who they use. You can always ask to look at case studies to make sure your prospective accountant has helped businesses in the past.
You can also use social media as a tool to identify and check potential firms. make sure the accountant has a social media presence (no social media profiles would be a red flag!). Do they engage with readers and clients? Do they post and share interesting articles? From what you can see, do they seem professional and knowledgeable?
Finally, think carefully what your business really needs. If you are a small business, look for an accountant who has experience with similar sized individuals and companies. Accountants like Key Business Consultants have a huge amount of experience working with sole traders, start-ups, small and medium sized limited companies.
A big firm may well not be up to date on all the ways you can run your business in the most efficient way possible.
10 Questions To Ask A Potential Online Accountant
- Why should I hire you?
- Which online accounting software do you recommend?
- Are you chartered? From which professional body? Can you prove it?
- Do you have any testimonials, reviews or case studies?
- Do you offer anything beyond bookkeeping and tax compliance?
- What are your specialities? Can you help me with EIS/SEIS or R&D schemes?
- How do you communicate with clients? Are you tech savvy? Is my data safe?
- Can I contact you without incurring additional fees?
- Will you deal with HMRC on my behalf?
- Are you staying on top of the financial changes around coronavirus? Do you understand furlough accounting?