It’s conceivable you’ll need to use an accountant at every stage of your company’s life. This could be anywhere from drawing up a business plan when just starting out, to assisting with complex tax returns as an established brand name.

Whenever the need, specialised accountancy advice will keep you on the right side of the HMRC and ensure legal regulations aren’t broken – essentially allowing you to concentrate on growing the business without complex, and often monotonous, financial figures to contend with.

However, depending on your company model, there may be times when using an accountant isn’t necessary, especially full-time. If you’re unsure whether to employ one or not, we’ve listed various phases when hiring an accountant could be right for your business.

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There are two ways to look at the start-up stage. On one hand, a small number of transactions may not necessitate professional assistance, whilst on the other, you don’t want to cut corners or structure the company incorrectly. Even small mistakes now can have detrimental consequences in the long run.  

The best course of action here is to hire an accountant on an advisory, ad-hoc basis. They can instruct on such matters as the business structure, setting up accountancy software, drafting a business plan and whether to register for VAT. Many firms only charge a small amount at this early stage too.


As your company begins to expand, an accountant becomes of added value. They’ll assist with legal responsibilities in relation to copyright law, helping your brand stay free of litigation further down the line. Likewise, as more money is now coming in and out of the business, it pays to have expert cashflow advice on hand.

Many companies grow enough to start employing staff. Again, a qualified accountant is of high use in terms of payroll preparation. In the UK, employers are normally required to operate a PAYE system to collect Income Tax and National Insurance. We’d recommend using professional advice if this applies to you. In addition, UK law now requires the majority of employers to set up a pension scheme for employees. An accountant can advise you on this as well as set up the account for you and your staff.

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Tax Returns

Perhaps the biggest headache for many companies is the issue of tax. There’s a minefield of complex figures to sift through, as well as different returns dependant on your company structure. Furthermore, deadlines loom at various times in the year and costly penalties are in place should mistakes be made.

It can all get too much for some SME owners who simply want to concentrate on their business. An accountant will not only remove this hassle but also ensure you’re as tax efficient as possible. They’ll help draw up an income statement, balance sheet and director’s report along the way, meaning there’s less chance of falling foul of the HMRC.

Both start-up and established business owners are likely to require accountancy advice at some stage. Begin by hiring their service as and when needed, progressing on to a full-time accountant if your company grows significantly. You’ll save a lot of both time and money in the long-run by diverting complex financial matters to a specialist.

Do you need business advice? Check out this post covering six great sources you can turn to for help, or alternatively get in touch with us here at Neil Smith Accountancy to see what we can do for you.