Accountant vs accounting software for freelancers
There are loads of accounting tools out there, all making it easier for you to manage your books, keep track of cash flow, and prepare your accounts.
Usually, you can sign up for a free trial for 2 weeks, sometimes even a month or more. There’s a bit of a catch though. While software makes life easier and does the sums automatically, you still have to do the majority of the work yourself if you don’t have an accountant.
The accounting software will prepare your accounts and communicate with HMRC, but you still have to manage the process yourself. If your time could be better spent working, or you’re likely to need specific guidance, you could benefit from hiring an accountant.
Minimise your tax bill
Software can track your incomings, expenses and maintains your books for you. This makes submitting your own accounts simpler.
However, it doesn’t submit your accounts for you or help you take advantage of any tax reliefs. It’s up to you to keep on top of taxation rules and regulations, so there’s a good chance you’ll pay more tax than you have to.
Accountants go through your bookkeeping with a fine tooth comb and use their superior regulatory knowledge and experience to prepare your accounts.
The upside to this is a lower tax bill. There’s nothing illegal about it - your accountant will make proper use of allowable expenses, personal allowance and payment structure, such as PAYE and dividends, so you pay less tax.
Growing your business
You’ll stay in the loop with your finances and perfectly balance your income and expenses as a result.
By simply being in the know, you’ll be in a good position to make financial decisions and scale up if that’s what you want to do. This won’t necessarily help you grow your business with guidance or planning, however.
Accountants know exactly how to help businesses grow and save.
One of the things you’ve got to remember as a freelancer is you may be your own worst enemy when it comes to financial control. An accountant will ensure you avoid common issues, such as over-trading, and put in place the mechanisms you need to keeping growing.
Software keeps your books organised and well-structured. For this reason alone, it’ll save you significant time when filing your own accounts.
You’ll also be able to cut down on admin, such as the process of receiving and verifying bills and requisitions. But the same issue remains - you’ve still got to file your own accounts and manually verify everything you submit.
While software makes it easier to do all these tasks, accountants do it all for you.
An accountant will look at your records and expenses, then do it all for you. The whole process is hassle and stress-free.
Keeping on top of ever-changing tax legislation isn’t the easiest.
As a busy freelancer, you don’t have time to do that. Software might be convenient, but it offers no guarantee of compliance when it comes to following proper procedure.
It’s an accountant’s responsibility to keep up to date with tax legislation and to make sure you stay on the right side of HMRC.
Another benefit of using a Chartered Accountant is their letterhead. HMRC are less likely to flag up and investigate those who use Chartered accountants. The reason is simple - Chartered accountants know what they’re doing. This should give you peace of mind.
The bottom line
Accounting software is invaluable for good financial control. It’ll help you practice good bookkeeping and handle day-to-day financial tasks with ease.
On the other hand, an accountant can offer experience, advice and convenience. Their know-how can always prepare your accounts more efficiently and thoroughly than you can.
You can get value from both. Use software to keep a tab on your accounts and use an accountant to refine and submit them. This way, your financial world will be in good hands at all stages of the tax year.
Now you know how to manage your accounts, keep on top of your invoices. Solna tracks invoices for you and even sends out automated reminders when they’re late. This skips the awkward conversations, keeps everyone sweet and saves you time.