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Shopping for Accountancy services for my next company tax year

Hi All

I am a freelance contractor working through a vat registered limited company that has a year end in August. I decided to change my accountant for this tax year (2015-2016) for various reasons. I also adopted Quickfile for the current tax year. So far, Quickfile has been great and just what I wanted. I am on the free package and have not seen any need to “upgrade” as such.

With my new accountant I have only needed his services for year-end accounts and monthly payroll (RTI) filings. He has also included self assessments, though in the transition it seems I have to do my 2015-2016 return myself. So package of services are as follows:-

  1. Company accounts prepared and submitted with HMRC (annual)
  2. Company corporation tax return prepared and submitted with HMRC (annual)
  3. Self assessment return prepared for director and submitted with HMRC (annual)
  4. Payroll prepared and submitted for 2 employees (monthly, annual P60)
  5. Q&A (ad hoc)

My current accountant took an upfront lump sum payment for this year but has said he will be raising his prices in the new year and switching to a monthly format. As such, I am interested in understanding how his revised fees compare with the market.

I have tried to use the quickfile “year end comparison” feature but am a bit confused as it is showing me dropdown options for each of the last 5 years prior to my current one. I presume my current year will become an option next month. However, that is a bit too late for me cause if I was to consider a new accountant it would be now, and because of payroll/RTI requirements in September.

My current accountant has also made me aware that in a couple years (2018) HMRC is going to expect me to do 4 self assessment returns in a tax year (?!?!). As such, there is greater emphasis to use services like quickfile rather then spreadsheets in order to better automate the information transfer from the company accounts through to the tax return. That is fine but a key step for me is to bring in the information from my bank (Cater Allen) into quickfile. Unfortunately my bank does NOT have a quickfile plugin. Are there any plans for this? Also, does quickfile have plans to better support this crazy frequency of self assessment submissions?

I suppose the other thing I am curious about is if and when quickfile will be able to do my monthly payroll/RTI submissions? Or is there no plans to go beyond just an integration with the Payroll Site.

UPDATE Been advised my current accountant that he will be trying to get his clients onto a “new system” in order to be able to better handle the changes required in “making tax digital”. Looks like he may be planning on an alternative to Quickfile. I believe the changes have been very briefly discussed in this Nov 2015 forum post

Hi,

Before I start this I must admit to being an accountant on the year end service.

I would say that the 4 self assessment returns is clearly a ploy to get you to stay and you do not need to worry about that in the slightest. I would also say that you would not be best served by the year end service.

In terms of payroll you can have an accountant do it for you for a very low cost. If you have minimal transactions in your account then your accountant might be able to do the bookkeeping and place it in your Quickfile account.

If you want to talk about it further please feel free to message to me and apologies for the self promotion.

Kind regards,
Chris Vickers

This will help answer part of your question. The official UK Government proposal document states that MTD won’t happen until April 2018 for the first businesses (probably self-employed above £10k), with full roll out by 2020. Here’s the source document for further reading: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/484668/making-tax-digital.pdf

Thanks for the link. Very easy to read intro.

I note it was published in Dec 2015 and before Brexit referendum. I hear since then that timing may shift out in order to deal with outcome of Brexit first…

There is a consultation process going on right now (which ends 7th Nov 2016), so as you say, nothing is set in stone. Read this to find out more: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/making-tax-digital-consultations

If the Government are involved in the Digital Tax project it will end up like the NHS IT project which cost the taxpayer £10bn for it not to work and then be scrapped.

Returning to your original post the QuickFile Accountants year end pricing comparison only deals with the basic compliance issues rather than the tax planning and advisory service which I feel is more important than the cheapest Accountancy service you can find on the site.

I have taken over clients from other firms of Accountants who have missed the basic tax saving and income maximising schemes. The classic is the voluntary VAT registration with the use of the VAT Flat Rate Scheme for Contractors which can result in additional £2K-£3K in income.