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chrmzn
20th March 2013, 12:15
Hi All!

So I just secured my first contract and have to go through the process of setting up a Ltd company, sorting out monthly accounting service, insurance and all that jazz.
I have done some research (I used the league tables from freelancesupermarket, though does anyone know how independent these actually are?) and read through the forums here and I think I feel more confused than before I set out....

To start I would be interested in knowing whether people have put stock in using professional IR35 review services? Some accountants seem to include it either through Qdos or Bauer & Cottrell but do people think that it's actually worth it?
(My contract is with a large bank so I would imagine that they are pretty savvy on the wording of the contract to make suer I fall outside of it...)

Also I have called up and done research on the following accountants and these are my thoughts...
After reading through the site I feel hyper aware that selecting the cheapest isn't necessarily the best option as they might not be up to speed tax wise...

K&B Accountancy - Low initial costs as they include professional IR35 reviews, insurances and Ltd Compant setup into the monthly accountancy costs. They also use FreeAgent (Which I assume to be an improvement over spreadsheets). Unsure how easy it is to speak to accountant or their experience with IT Contracting...Also don't seem to be liked too much in the forums here...

Crunch - Cheapest overall costs, very nice pretty looking book keeping software (Ohhh the shiny lights...). Unsure how easy it is to speak to accountant or their experience with IT Contracting...

planIT Services - Seemed to have the best knowledge of the lot, stepped me through exactly what options I would have with dividend payments even pointing out the ability to supplement my wifes income with div's up to 42k. This is possibly just common knowledge but the only company to go so in-depth with me on the phone. The are on the higher end of the costs scale when I factor in insurance costs on top. Also use FreeAgent

Nixon Williams - On the cheaper side of my options (but not the cheapest). From reading the forums here many people use NW and are quite happy with their service. Website seems pretty up to speed on all the tax law and what I would need to do. Seem to tick all the boxes but not sure if book keeping entails spreadsheets or specialist software.

SJD Accountancy - Reading the forums here it seems popular and with happy users. Higher on the overall costs scale and would have to use spreadsheets. Website seems up to speed on tax law and seem to tick all the boxes.

Any advice that people have would be greatly appreciated!

bless 'em all
20th March 2013, 12:58
(My contract is with a large bank so I would imagine that they are pretty savvy on the wording of the contract to make suer I fall outside of it...)

What makes you think they actually give two-hoots about YOUR tax affairs?

Get your contract reviewed.

stek
20th March 2013, 13:01
The contract will be between you and the agent, not the bank

Nathan SJD Accountancy
20th March 2013, 13:11
Hi There,

Have you called all of them or just a few?

Give them all a call, ask what they can do for you and take it from there. Everyone has different requirements and only by actually speaking to them all, asking the same questioins, will you possibly get a feel for what is best for you.

The ones that don't have minimum term periods etc are possibly more attractive. Then if you are not happy with them, you can simply change if you are not happy, instead of being tied in with them for a period of time.

Support Monkey
20th March 2013, 13:11
same as them, the bank will not give a monkey's your deal is between your co and agent get it revued for peace of mind.

Nixon Williams, never had a problem in many a year

chrmzn
20th March 2013, 13:25
Thanks guys! Sounds like its just best to get the contract reviewed anyway...

I have spoken to all of the accountants on my list just hard to pick between them on anything but money because it's hard to get a read on their tax knowledge!!

northernladuk
20th March 2013, 13:34
SJD will accept freeagent as well..

Crunch, FreeAgent Central and Clear Books - Accountants UK - SJD Accountancy (http://www.sjdaccountancy.com/about/crunch_accounting_clearbooks_freeagent_central.htm l)

I am with SJD as are at least 5 guys within earshot of me and they are all very happy with the spreadsheet. I would also recommend NW personally as well. They approach to advice on here (as well as SJD) has been spot on.

I would also suggest you try InTouch. They also post on here regularly with good solid advice as well as have happy customers here.

I would assume being large and recommended accoutants their tax knowledge is perfectly acceptable so I think you will have trouble trying to find one that doesn't know enough and you not knowing anything is going to make it even hard to spot. The ones I mentioned have demostrated their knowledge over and over again for a start. I would drop that criteria if you are looking at the big guys.

chrmzn
20th March 2013, 14:05
SJD will accept freeagent as well..

Crunch, FreeAgent Central and Clear Books - Accountants UK - SJD Accountancy (http://www.sjdaccountancy.com/about/crunch_accounting_clearbooks_freeagent_central.htm l)

I am with SJD as are at least 5 guys within earshot of me and they are all very happy with the spreadsheet. I would also recommend NW personally as well. They approach to advice on here (as well as SJD) has been spot on.

I would also suggest you try InTouch. They also post on here regularly with good solid advice as well as have happy customers here.

I would assume being large and recommended accoutants their tax knowledge is perfectly acceptable so I think you will have trouble trying to find one that doesn't know enough and you not knowing anything is going to make it even hard to spot. The ones I mentioned have demostrated their knowledge over and over again for a start. I would drop that criteria if you are looking at the big guys.

Cool, thanks!

Waldorf
20th March 2013, 23:49
A satisfied Nixon Williams client here, but chat to a few and see who fits what you are looking for.

Andy Hallett
21st March 2013, 00:13
From that list, a lot of our contractors use SJD and are very happy.

mudskipper
21st March 2013, 06:57
I've used SJD and InTouch.

Happy with both.

kaiser78
21st March 2013, 09:44
I have always used a local accountant(s) specialising in contractor clients - have you considered this as an option ?

chrmzn
21st March 2013, 11:07
I have always used a local accountant(s) specialising in contractor clients - have you considered this as an option ?

Yea, I had considered it but tracking down reviews for them was a bit hard and I don't know any other contractors that I could get a word of mouth recommendation from...

Or would you just recommend tracking some down and getting them to step me through their existing clients and services they offer?

northernladuk
21st March 2013, 11:16
Yea, I had considered it but tracking down reviews for them was a bit hard and I don't know any other contractors that I could get a word of mouth recommendation from...

Or would you just recommend tracking some down and getting them to step me through their existing clients and services they offer?

If you can't find a local one that deals with contractors specifically I would sack the idea. I had a local guy and he was utter crap. I went to SJD (who have a branch in Manchester where I am) and I haven't met them or been in to their office in 4 years. SJD have branches all over the place so with a bit of luck they will be local and are specialists.

I would never suggest going one man band or small accountants anymore.

Contreras
21st March 2013, 12:19
Yea, I had considered it but tracking down reviews for them was a bit hard and I don't know any other contractors that I could get a word of mouth recommendation from...

Or would you just recommend tracking some down and getting them to step me through their existing clients and services they offer?Definitely worth the effort if you can find time to arrange meetings with 2 or 3 local firms to discuss your plans.

Do the same with the online guys.

Ask what they will do for you, what they will need from you, and how much it will cost.

Also ask how many contractors they have on their books, and make a judgement of their views are on best salary/dividends ratio, allowable expenses, IR35, and how much you can handle for yourself e.g. VAT/PAYE if you wanted to. At the end of you'll be much better informed about what you want personally and which way is best for you.

Fwiw, I use a local accountant. I still take some comfort in knowing that I can be at his office in 10-minutes to sort out any 'issues' best handled in person but but since the initial meeting it's been email all the way.