Take the load off: Why an accountant might be more affordable than you think

accounting Take the load off: Why an accountant might be more affordable than you think

How much do you value your time? How much would you charge someone for an hour of it?

Those are the first questions any self-employed person finds themselves asking. Well, let’s be honest, those are the bigger questions you might not have asked yourself yet. But you’ll definitely be asking yourself the smaller, daily versions of these. Things like ‘is it worth catching the tube today, so I can halve my travel time and have longer to prepare for a meeting?’ or ‘Should I call for a taxi for the sake of skipping the night buses after a long day?’ ‘Will that software upgrade mean I can do my job faster?’

When you’re switching to taking care of your own business, it can often take a few months to realise the time you can’t invoice for is still just as valuable. Consider this- you might have arranged your working week to give yourself Sunday evening off. How much would someone have to pay you to work through those hours? It’d be a fair amount, right?

If you’re busy honing your skills, you realistically won’t have time to juggle every ball. We know if we want a decent website, we need a developer to make it. If we need to understand a new social media platform, a social media expert is the best place to turn. From printers to marketers, copywriters to couriers, we’re used to handing over the parts of the project we can’t do. So it makes sense that if you’re not good at maths, pay for someone else to be. If you’re not a natural banker, or you don’t understand finance easily, it’s time to start talking to people that can.

Having an accountant means you’ll likely be given access to QuickBooks or comparable accounting software to send out all of your invoices from day one. If the idea of having your invoices labelled, with a timestamp and read status, doesn’t fill you with joy, you haven’t been freelancing long enough. When you’re certain someone owes you £100 but you have no idea how to prove that, you’ll wish they had been filed properly. What’s more, when the tax returns roll around, you don’t need to spend days trying to work through the HRC website, and probably months in the run-up worrying about it.

Now think back to those hours you keep free on Sunday evening. The fee you pay your accountant may feel like an extra, for the sake of a few hours work you don’t have to do. But think of all the extra time it saves you on top of that work. Sunday evening rolls around, and you don’t have to give it up to accounting, or worrying about accounting. Ideally, having your head as free as possible of tax returns and expenses (you do still need to do a little paperwork- that’s just called being an adult, right?) will mean you also have more energy to go after the work you actually want to do. Those Sunday evenings stay yours, as well as those Friday nights, the Monday lie-ins, and whatever else you prioritise.

What does it mean for your business? It means when it gets to 9pm and you’ve still got a load of work to get through by the next day, your invoices will only take half an hour. It means when you suddenly realise you might have made an error in how you’ve been calculating something, you actually have someone to call to talk you through it. It means you can pay someone else to do the things that don’t come naturally to you, while you focus on your talents, and giving your clients the best you’ve got.

By Ava Szajna-Hopgood

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