What does an accountant actually do?

Joe Phelan's picture
What do accountants do on a daily basis, and how could they help you?
Dictionary page with definition of tax

When you think of accountants, it’s likely the first thing that comes to your head is numbers. Numbers, and perhaps mountains of unorganised client papers and receipts that must be laboriously, yet patiently, waded through.

But how accurate is this perception? What does the average accountant do on a daily basis, and how can they help you?

Looking for a rated and reviewed accountant in your area? VouchedFor has you covered.


Preparing accounts and tax returns

This is generally the task that springs to mind when people contemplate the role of an accountant. An accountant will be able to ensure you don’t incur penalties or additional costs, and will be able to help organise your accounts in a way that is both tax-efficient and entirely accurate.

Meeting and interviewing clients

An accountant will meet with clients not only to understand their needs, but also to further understand what/who they will be dealing with. Accountants will also meet with clients to provide data, financial analysis and progress reports. Meetings will often be informal, and accountants, on the whole, fully expect clients to ask questions or to want to discuss certain elements in more depth.

Administering payrolls

Administering a payroll can be time-consuming and, if you are unsure what you are doing, costly. Taxation, auto enrolment and employee legislation can make the task of organising pay even more complicated, so an accountant can use their knowledge and expertise to do this on behalf of a client.

Providing tax planning services

Efficient tax planning can make a significant difference when it comes to both personal and business finances. It can be difficult to fully understand what you should be paying, what you are not necessarily required to pay, and what updated legislation could mean for you. Tax planning generally means an accountant will plan ahead and create a strategy that will minimise the amount of tax you are required to pay, not just now, but also in the years to come.

Analysing accounts and business plans

This is particularly important for those looking to set up their own company. Research suggests that around 400,000 new businesses are set up each year in the UK alone, but many launch fuelled more with ambition than thorough planning. Research also suggests that one in three new businesses ceases to trade within three years, but astute financial planning can minimise the risk of failure. An accountant can help with financial planning and forecasting, while they will also be able to assist when it comes to raising capital and attaining premises.

Negotiating the terms/conditions or business deals

The process of buying or selling a business can be complex, stressful, and, if handled poorly, ultimately very costly. Using an accountant can dramatically reduce the risk of falling into financial pitfalls, as they will be able to assist in the drafting of contracts, assess all potential tax implications, and evaluate the true value of the purchase. An accountant is objective, and will be able to make decisions that could otherwise be difficult for someone personally invested in the deal. 

These are by no means all of the services an accountant can offer. If you are looking for an accountant in your area, and want to further discuss how they can help you, click below to search via VouchedFor. Many accountants will offer a free initial consultation.

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