I've been looking for a good accountant to help me out ever since I decided to take the plunge and go freelance. It hasn't been easy I can tell you that much right now! The main reason was that I didn't want just 'any accountant' to take of arguably the most important part of my business! I've read aboslutely tons of articles, books, and podcast transcripts saying that a great accountant is the key to managing your cashflow effectively and being taxed at the appropriate rate, I've also posted about it myself.
I wanted to get an accountant with experience with small businesses, particularly those in the IT industry - and one who was well known, but at the same time not crazy-expensive. A relatively tall order I know - So tweeted about it a few days ago, but unfortunately I didn't get any recommendations at all.
Success At Last
Late last night I decided that I wasn't going to find anyone through a word of mouth recommendation, so I'd just have to go on an extensive search. After about an hour of trawling through Google results I came across Nixon Williams who have a really good homepage (and some rather unfortunate SEO spam at the bottom of the page). I browsed through the site for about 20 minutes and they seemed relatively perfect, good track record, specialists in freelancers and small businesses, with a target market of people in the IT industry!
I called them up thismorning and spoke to a very nice chap called Martin who gave me the run down on what they offer, which is essentially as follows:
- You pay £60 a month
- They register you as a limited company (or other structure of your choosing)
- They complete and maintain all your books
- They register you for VAT
- They open a business bank account for you, and waive the standard minimum £5,000 opening balance
- The business account gives you free banking for up to 30 transactions a month
- They advise you on cashflow and anything else to do with your accounts
It's called their 'Premier' package and from what I can tell it's basically a "we do everything" package for a fixed monthly fee, all I have to do is send them my invoices and expenses each month.
After we got off the phone Martin sent me a full brochure describing the service above, and answered some questions which I had in plenty of detail - really good customer service.
I'm now getting together all the documents required to open my account (unfortunately they advised me to get my Natwest problems sorted prior to doing this), and then I'll be officially "good to go".
I'm going to see if I can get someone from Nixon Williams for an interview to give some advice to web designers going freelance and setting up their own business, and if I'm successful - you'll find it right here! [update: now confirmed, Alan from Nixon Williams will be providing an interview this week]