A top rule for running a small business is never spend more than you need on support services. There comes a point, though, when paying for both a bookkeeper and an accountant may save you money. Also, contrary to popular belief we’re not in competition! We actually work really well together. So what do accountants and bookkeepers do and how can you get the best support for your business?

Accountants have to train for longer to be qualified and they charge higher fees than bookkeepers, because they provide the final checks and audits on your business’s financial records and returns, particularly your annual company accounts and your corporate tax returns.

Bookkeepers work on the meticulous detail of those business records: recording purchases, receipts, sales and payments. In our case, this includes managing your payroll which can get complex when you throw in staff benefits, PAYE and pension contributions. We also advise on systems you can set up to manage this yourself or to make it all easier to manage as it happens.

If you have detailed records entered and updated regularly you’ll have a clear view on your finances to help you manage:

  • credit relationships – what credit terms to offer your clients and chasing bad debts quickly
  • expenditure – plan equipment upgrades and keep track of supplier costs and your margins using accurate cash flow data
  • payroll & pensions – review the most tax efficient payroll & pensions options for your business

In our experience, a business employing more than one person will eventually need both bookkeeping services and accounting services to keep things on track. We do our best work when we’re getting our clients’ financial data in really good order by setting up simple, transparent systems that suit their business and working closely with our clients’ accountants to supply data they can easily work with and so do their best work.

We’re not in competition with your accountant and the proof is that we have excellent relationships with many highly regarded accountancy firms. Having the right finance solution then frees up your time by taking care of the basics so you can be out there doing your best work, developing your business.

The other business rule here is: ‘focus on your superpower and you’ll do your best work’. So here’s your thought for 2017 – are you focusing your efforts on your best work and would you benefit from rethinking your support services?