Accounts and maths, the words that fill my heart with dread. I am embarrassingly bad at anything to do with numbers 😬 which is why early on in my freelance career I decided to outsource this particular skill and I haven’t looked back.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Martin Brooks of Gold Stag Accounting this week, Martin became my accountant a few months back and I haven’t looked back.
So this week we decided to debunk some myths that surround the outsourcing of an accountant to help anyone in the throws of hiring an accountant for their small biz.
Hey Martin, first up, what common questions do you get from freelancers looking to hire you?
The biggest one is price, there’s a big misconception that accountants are expensive and your company will be too small, but 9 times out of 10 the accountant saves them so much in tax and late filing fees, that they end up paying for themselves.
Just knowing that someone else is taking care of it, giving peace of mind in that area. Because people can do it themselves, doesn’t mean they should be, they could be missing a lot of savings.
Nik: Speaking from my own experiences I did my own first off, then hired an accountant and was pleasantly surprised about the savings. It was the best thing I did.
Some people I’ve talked to are worried that their accountant won’t take their businesses seriously because they’re small
A lot of people think this, but for Martin it’s ideal as he enjoys working with smaller businesses and freelancers.
There is no such thing as someone too small.
Nik: in my own experiences, I’m tiny, so I didn’t want to go with a big corporate accountant, a small accountant firm that specialises in sole traders was exactly what I needed, I eventually switched to Martin, who specialises in smaller businesses.
Others say they’re fearful of asking what they think are stupid questions
My experience with working with Martin, he’s not afraid of silly questions because I ask a lot of em 👋
He doesn’t shy away or get annoyed by accountancy questions however silly they may seem.
I feel this is similar for other accountants too, they specialise in this, there’s no such thing as a silly question if they take what they do seriously.
One interesting one is fear of the UK accounting system if you’re from another country
He has a few clients that have been from other countries and explained that accounting systems can differ hugely in other countries, including regulations and rates but all that’s required is a conversation on how things work.
As he handles UK accounting every day, this isn’t an issue for him and the same for other accountants too.
Some have worries that they’ll get hit with an unexpected bill as they aren’t sure of the right questions to ask
This isn’t something Gold Stag do, all fees and costs are discussed up front, with full transparency — although Martin has heard about this kind of practice quite a lot and even on occasions that’s why people come over to work with him, there’s never any unexpectedness from them.
Trust with personal information
Some clients may have to give their client’s information during the accounts process and that information may be personal, but as an ICO registered company this wouldn’t be a problem.
Always check to see if the accountant you are hiring has all their registrations up together.
Martin is licensed and regulated by the accounting body AAT, has to do an Anti Money Laundering check on all clients, and has to submit CPD to show he’s keeping his skills up to date. Also has to apply for his licence on a yearly basis.
Accountancy apps will do though right?
Just like Canva for me, things like QuickBooks Self Employed are the bane of Martin’s life.
Whilst they help keep things in one place, and do part of the job, they’re not doing the whole job — “just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should be doing it”.
So, do you actually need an accountant?
Some people can do it for themselves but making sure that you’re calculating the tax and national insurance correctly, and all the allowable stuff has been claimed is sometimes overlooked — and sometimes people need more complicated accounting and don’t realise that.
So I’d say yes, because of my incredible lack of interest in anything maths related, but hopefully these debunked myths will help you make your decision.
Huge thank you to Martin for taking some time out of his busy day to talk to me, to find out more information about Gold Stag Accounts, visit their website, and to witness Martin’s amazing gif game, follow him on Twitter.
And a big thank you to the fellow freelancers via #ContentClubUK and Leapers Slack groups who helped me with the accountant fears they experienced at the beginning of their freelance journey.
Hello, I’m Nik , I specialise in Marketing & Brand Design for start-ups and small businesses. I also enjoy writing about freelancing, design, authenticity and experience-based thoughts and positive outcomes.