I recently got into a discussion about why bookkeeping fees were more than the accountants fees.
I have worked both sides of the divide and even I sometimes look at my fees and try to compare the two.
So I thought it would be good to outline the difference.
The accountant is generally there for you once or twice a year and really charges for a snap shot of a particular time of the year, and then gives you tax advice on top of that. This will be called your year end. They will produce accounts from the accounting records you give to them, whether a bookkeeper or the owner of the business has put them together.
Assuming that your books are in reasonable order they will tend to charge a flat starting fee and maybe charge for extras like tidying up the mess the books are in, wages, payroll and tax returns.
A bookkeeper is there all year round getting invoices into order, processing bank transactions and invoices. Taking multiple snap shots of your accounts and reporting them to you regularly to make sure your business figures are not missing anything that is important. The level of work is more intense and a greater volume is done. To be honest you cannot compare the two side by side as they are a completely different beast. The only thing they really have in common is that they are both there helping you look after your business figures.
- Tip 1 do you have a good bookkeeper? Have you tried to negotiate on your accounts fees? My 6 point health check covers all the areas that will slow an accountant down. See what they say, it doesn’t hurt to ask
- Tip 2 a bookkeepers charge out rate is generally half of the charge out rate of a bookkeeper in an accounts office. Food for thought really.
- Tip 3 accountants may charge less for them to do the bookkeeping as they will make up the difference when charging for the accounts.
- Tip 4 this is maybe more of a personal opinion, but I am always a little more keen to do a little extra to help my clients out as it’s my own business giving that little extra value. I’m not an employee who turns up to work because I have to.