With hundreds of prospective accountancy firms to choose from, this table lists the monthly fees charged by some of the UK’s leading specialist accountants.
|Partner Firms||Monthly Fees||Notes|
|Aardvark Accounting||£69||All-inclusive tailored contractor accountancy service. Personal service, no tie in periods.
View Further Details.
|Bluebird Accountancy||£75||Free company formation, no leaving/joining fees, free personal tax return. Find out more.|
|Clever Accounts||£84.50||End-to-end IR35 solutions, your own dedicated accountant, no hidden costs, 6 months free insurance when you sign up.
View 2 Price Plans.
|Intouch Accounting||£105||Full monthly service, free IR35 risk assessments, company formation, registered office address.
View Further Details.
|SG Accounting||£99||Full monthly service. SG will come to you for a face-to-face tax planning meeting. IR35 advice, business insurances included.
View 3 Price Plans.
|SJD Accountancy||£120||The UK’s largest contractor accountants. Essential package including face-to-face meetings across the UK. View 3 Price Plans.|
For more details on our partner contractor accountants, please visit our directory.
Scroll down for specific information on finding a London / City based accountant. And we ask – is location really that important anyway?
|Other Firms||Monthly Fees||Notes|
|ADVANCE||£120||‘Premium’ package. Includes company insurances and company incorporation. Unlimited phone support and online portal access.|
|BI Accountancy||£90||‘Solo’ accounting package – includes company formation, and the first month is currently free.|
|Boox||£90||Smart online accounting. Unlimited support from a dedicated team. Experience full accounting service for 60 days free of charge.|
|Carrington Accountancy||£110||Dedicated accountancy support and advice for contractors. Specialists for over 20 years.|
|Churchill Knight||£120||Thousands of IT contractors helped since 1998. One month free when you sign for a year. 2 Price Plans.|
|Clearsky Accounting||£120||‘Freedom’ accounting package. First month is free currently for all 3 available packages.|
|Elver Consultancy||£80||Package includes FreeAgent accounting software. Bookkeeping available for an additional fee.|
|Exchequer Accountancy||£95||This is the ‘Personal’ package. £59/month ‘Online’ package also available with less support.|
|Freestyle Accounting||£210||Truly all-inclusive service includes unlimited IR35 contract reviews and tax advice. Online portal.|
|FW Accounting||£95||‘Standard’ Package. Fully automated invoicing and bank feeds. Registered Office Address.|
|ICS||£125||‘Plus’ Package. Invoices raised and chased. Online portal. Co. Formation – £40 (one-off fee).|
|Integro Accounting||£100||5* Client reviews on Google. Dedicated qualified accountant. FreeAgent licence. All-inclusive accountancy package.|
|Maslins||£99||Helping contractors since 2009, all-inclusive FreeAgent package, free personal tax return filing, no tie-ins.|
|Nixon Williams||£95||Vantage Gold package includes bespoke free online accounting portal and free company formation.|
|PaperRocket Accounting||£85||4 monthly packages available, all include tax enquiry insurance, tax planning, and two IR35 reviews.|
|QAccounting||£95||Complete accounting & unrivalled IR35 expertise. Cost-effective & tax-efficient accounting solution.|
|Sail Business Solutions||£83||Full limited company solution. Free initial consultation, incl. company formation. Dedicated advisor|
|Simple Accounting||£104||All inclusive fee. Reduced to £84 for businesses based in Yorkshire and Lancashire.|
|Tax Compute||£90||Fully comprehensive service, includes tax returns for up to 2 directors. Free Co. Formation.|
|Taxevo||£65||Fully monthly service. Free company formation, FreeAgent, bank account set-up. 3 packages|
Notes on Fees / Costs
- The table above compares ‘standard’ monthly accountancy packages which must include as a minimum: Preparation of your company’s Annual Accounts, filing of quarterly VAT returns, and payroll processing for the director. We’ve covered the typical duties of a contractor accountant here.
- All companies must file a ‘Confirmation Statement’ each year to Companies House. This replaced the ‘Annual Return’ from June 2016 onwards. The standard submission fee is £13. You may have to pay this additional fee.
- All the prices listed above are subject to VAT at 20%.
- Please do email us if you’d like us to include your company here, or to change/update any of the costs displayed in the table.
Things to consider when comparing contractor accountants
- Does your accountant charge to incorporate your company (and set you up as a client), or is this included in the monthly fee? Although the actual company formation costs a mere £13 (via software filing), you will also need to be registered for VAT, registered as an employer with HMRC, and have your payroll set up. Your accountant will also need to set up your share structure and attend to further administrative tasks.
- Due to the nature of online accounting, and the limited time you’d ever need to spend face-to-face with your accountant, for most contractors location isn’t an important factor when choosing an accountant. However, if you would prefer to hire an accountant based nearby, have a browse of the websites above for location information. Several of the larger firms have offices (or satellite offices) in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, Liverpool, and other major cities. Others will offer to pay you an initial visit, wherever you live.
- In some cases, particularly with ‘online’ accountants, you will be expected to do a fair amount of bookkeeping legwork yourself. Without a more complex table, it isn’t possible to show exactly which tasks each firm will carry out on your behalf, although for a number of providers, ‘bookkeeping’ (entering your transactions into an accounts system) is a chargeable extra.
- A director’s self-assessment return fee cannot be claimed against your company, as this is a personal cost. Some accountants will complete one director’s return for free, whereas others will charge a one-off fee.
- IR35 contract reviews – some accountants provide a ‘free’ review service (subject to 1 or 2 reviews per year), whereas others charge a fixed fee for an in-house or third-party review. However, you may prefer to pay an employment status specialist to undertake this service.
- If you change accountants, you may incur additional costs to bring your accounts up-to-date.
- Make sure you compare like for like when comparing the most popular monthly packages, as although the ‘core’ accounting requirements for all companies must be met, no two packages are exactly the same.
- Price is just one factor you should consider when comparing contractor accountants. Customer service is arguably more important, given the similarity in fees charged by the leading accountants.
Are many contractor accountants based in London / The City?
With at least half of all IT contracting roles based in the capital, how important is it for those working in the capital to have an accountant who works nearby?
From our experience, most of the leading contractor accountancy firms are not based in the capital at all – with many headquartered in the Home Counties, the North West (Manchester and Warrington), and South West. However, many have satellite offices in Central London and/or The City – or are happy to travel to meet contractors, particularly if they have just signed up as clients.
How often will you meet your accountant face-to-face?
In the ‘frontier’ days of contracting – the 80s and 90s, in particular, almost all accounting-related paperwork was submitted via the postal system. There was no internet or email – so almost all communication was done via the post, telephone, or in person.
In those days, you would typically meet your contractor accountant when you signed up, and periodically over time. This wasn’t always the case, but there was often more face-to-face contact in the days before web technology revolutionised communications.
Nowadays, the need to communicate directly with your accountant is probably less than ever. All paperwork can be transmitted electronically – via online accounting software. Occasionally, you may need hard copies sent to your home – for example, if you need a copy of your signed accounts for a mortgage lender.
Also, most contractor’s company accounts are very simple – typically with one or two directors, a small number of clients, and minimal expense claims.
So, if you’re working in the capital, the South-East, Midlands, or North, does it matter if your contractor accountant is London-based, or working hundreds of miles away?
Here are some typical instances of when a face-to-face meeting might be preferable for some contractors:
- When you first sign up to a contractor accountancy firm, you may want to meet your account manager.
- You may want to discuss your initial company set-up, including share structure, and salary/dividend levels.
- Occasionally your accountant may offer a tax review.
Many contractors never meet their accountants or feel the need to. But others prefer the personal touch – especially as your accountant is likely to be your most trusted professional adviser during your contracting career. It really is a personal choice.
And finally, don’t forget – location is just one of many factors you should consider when choosing an accountant.
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