Tax controversy – a beginner’s guide to choosing an accountant

Tax controversy – a beginner’s guide to choosing an accountant


Accountancy firms have been under heightened scrutiny of late, particularly in light of the much-publicised tax avoidance case involving Jimmy Carr, one of the UK’s most successful comedians. It’s hard to ignore that it was undoubtedly his accountancy firm that delivered the finer points of the tax mitigation scheme. Jimmy Carr is not the only celebrity that was placed under the unrelenting glare of the media; 3 members of ‘Take That’ in the form of Gary Barlow, Mark Owen and Howard Donald are said to have invested £26m into a scheme which enables investors to avoid paying tax. Whilst these accountancy plans have benefited the aforementioned celebrities in the short term, being involved in such schemes have not served their best interests when considering their end-game, having produced a considerable amount of negative criticism from the public.

With this in mind, selecting the correct accountant has never been more relevant. In fact, any corporation who becomes embroiled in this controversial topic is likely to evoke hugely negative associations with terrible consequences. From personal experience searching for accountancy services in Reading, I have constructed a list of points to consider when choosing an accountant.

Tax controversy

A tailored approach – the needs of companies vary considerably; it will not benefit your company to use the assistance of an accountant who take a homogeneous approach to all of their clients.
Choose an accountant you can trust – almost anyone can refer to themselves as an accountant and promote themselves without having a single qualification. This leads me onto my next point which is
Do your research – Seek out accountancy firms who have a wide breadth of information readily available; choose a service that are a safe pair of hands and of positive repute. The last thing a business needs is to be polluted by the negative associations of their accountant.
Write up a list of your needs – If you don’t know what it is you want from your accountant then you cannot possibly measure whether they are right for your business. Understand what is most significant for you and prioritise these qualities.
Listen to referrals – Often experience with a firm provides a complete picture of their approach and competencies than the information displayed on their website.
Clear and Coherent – It’s important that you understand your accountant, it is imperative to be on the same page rather than left confused by their technical jargon.
Ask them questions – Whether in person, via email or phone, addressing any concerns or questions towards a potential accountant is a very straightforward and often effective means of measuring how beneficial they could be.
Meet them in person – many accountants offer a free consultation in which they would discuss your business. This is often really beneficial as you can easily gauge their understanding of your business, their rapport, and how they can be advantageous to you.

Accountants are often subject to a series of stereotypes, most of which are negative. However, finding the right one can help considerably develop your business and launch it into the big-time. Through careful research, analysis and forethought; the right accountant can bring you one step closer to achieving your objectives.


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