Poll reveals common complaints about contractor accountants
Posted Aug 8, 2011
A recent survey by an online contractor accountancy firm suggests that many accountants have no, or little understanding of the IR35 rules. Common gripes include rising fees, poor communication, and late filing of important documents.
The poll, carried out by Crunch.co.uk, asked over 250 small businesses how they interacted with their accountants, and which areas were causing them the most concern. Just under two thirds of those who took part were limited company owners, and 38% were sole traders.
Some of the most commonly cited problems included: rising fees (15% said this was a concern), the use of jargon, and charging for time spent writing emails or making phone calls.
20% of respondents said that they were unhappy with the levels of communication they were experiencing with their current provider, and almost 10% had suffered late payment penalties from HMRC as a result of late filing by their accountants.
Perhaps most concerning of all is how many small business owners (58%) felt that their accountant had little or no understanding of IR35 - the single most relevant piece of tax legislation within the contracting industry. A still worrying 16% of those surveyed had not been given any advice on how best to remunerate themselves.
Reflecting the rapid growth in the availability of web-based accountancy options, 65% said they preferred to use an online accountant, compared to just 14% who favoured a completely 'old fashioned' service.
Darren Fell, MD of Crunch.co.uk, commented:
"The number of small businesses experiencing a lack of advice about tax efficiency and penalties for late filing from accountants is worrying.
"While some of our survey results provide an amusing snapshot, we also wanted to gauge feeling among the UK's small business community about the levels of service and whether they are getting a good deal. The accounting industry needs to give companies complete confidence they are getting the best advice and service; ensuring they can fully concentrate on their business."
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