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Find the right accountancy solution for your requirements

When you first start your business, it can be tempting not to use an accountant.  You want to make sure you keep all your hard-earned cash to yourself and keep your outgoings as low as possible, and that is understandable.  Being able to fulfil the liabilities you have as a business owner from day one can save you time and money further down the line; it might just be an expense you can’t afford to do without.

You will have started your business because you’re good at what you do; you know you can make a success of your business because you know your stuff.  Applying the same logic to accountancy, it’s short-sighted to assume you will be able to perform all the tasks of an accountant without having any qualifications or experience in the field.  It’s fair to assume that the internet offers tonnes of information regarding tax liabilities and deadlines, and even free software to help manage your finances.

It’s also worthwhile considering the time required to research and digest all this information and how this will detract you from your fee-earning work.  Suddenly, when you’re earning potential is reduced because you’re spending your time researching how to do your accounts, the cost of an accountant no longer feels like an excessive drain on your business finances.  Engaging with an accountant who specialises in your business set-up can save you a vast amount of time and leave you to focus on the important stuff; nurturing new business and servicing your clients.

But how do you choose which accountants to use?  Our rundown below gives a summary of the best business accountancy brands for contactors or SME’s.


ClearSky Contractor Accountancy
Specialising in contractors, ClearSky Contractor Accountancy offer a range of packages to the contractor and are specifically designed to meet the needs of those engaging in contractor work.

Ranging from £125 – £245 each month, their packages offer monthly payroll, HMRC submissions, self-assessment tax return and quarterly VAT returns and management accounts as standard.  Plus, with the added advantage of unlimited face-to-face meetings they offer a personalised service which really helps to build a relationship with your accountant.  More expensive packages offer IR35 fee protection, Companies House filing fees and tax investigation cover and business insurance.


First Freelance
First freelance pride themselves in offering a large corporate-business level of service to even the smallest trading contractors; you won’t be made to feel like a small cog in a huge machine if you choose to go with First Freelance.  By offering a bespoke package, First Freelance is an attractive option if you need some accountancy support but not necessarily everything.  It’s a good way to outsource some of the more complex elements of accountancy work and retain some simpler tasks if expenditure is a worry for you; do the stuff you find simple, outsource the difficult bits.


SJD Accountancy
SJD are the UK’s largest contractor accountants, providing services for approx.. 14,000 professional contractors.  Another brand offering a range of packages, their essential, premium and elite package options let to choose the level of accountancy support for you and your business.  The bonus being that even the base-level package provides the majority of support any contractor will need.  Packages range from £120 – £195 each month (plus VAT) and by having the added bonus of being able to upgrade your accountancy package at any point, SJD is an accountancy provider you can grow with if you find your business develops quickly and you need more accountancy support than you first thought.


Nixon Williams
Nixon Williams are the ideal choice if you are just at the start of your contracting journey.  Great with start-ups and experienced with more established businesses, it’s a brand you can stay with for a long time as they work with small, medium and large businesses.  They offer a free limited company formation,  and will also provide assistance if you want to open a business banking account with one of their trusted partners.

By providing you with your own dedicated accountant, Nixon Williams ensure you quickly build a relationship with your accountant and are able to contact them by a direct line number, helping you to build a relationship with your accountant like you would if they were just down the road.  The added security a national brand can offer makes Nixon Williams an attractive option if you value working relationships but large-scale corporate brands too.  Packages start at £95 / month (plus VAT) so it’s a really affordable way to measure the benefits of having an accountant without a huge financial investment as you start your contractor journey.


ClearSky Business
ClearSky Business differ from ClearSky Contractor Accountancy in that they specialise in small businesses.  Offering a free business review to any prospective client, they advise on which services you will benefit from without any obligation or financial commitment to begin with.

From VAT returns to bookkeeping and admin, accounts support to really delve behind your numbers and business support (e.g. share restructures) etc.  ClearSky Business is a great choice if you are a small business currently but have your eye on growth.


If you’re new to contracting and would rather operate under an umbrella company, rather than operating as a limited company, there are a number of organisations which offer this service. Parasol is the market leader in the umbrella organisation industry and has worked with over 90,000 contractors in its 18 years of trading; it’s a safe pair of hands in what can be quite a complex area of finances.

The benefits of working through an umbrella company are that tax and NI calculations and HMRC payments are all done by someone else.  As a new contractor, having paperwork taken care of by someone else leaves you with more time to deliver and build your business; many consider it a no-brainer as it gives them the freedom of contracting whilst retaining some benefits of employment.

Having been set-up by a contractor who felt the process should be simpler than it was, Parasol is a business which understands the challenges of being a contractor and aims to reduce the time-consuming paperwork requirements which can take you away from running your own business.

You can find all of the recommended accountants and details of any current offers in our supplier directory.


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