Anonymous
Share this content
31

How much do you charge for VAT returns,bookkeeping

How much do you charge for VAT returns, bookkeeping, year end tax returns etc

Didn't find your answer?

Hi all,

After years of working for someone else I finally got the courage to go on my own.

I am currently doing some research into how much I should charge for my services. Any advise would be appreciated.

Majority of my working life was spent as being the finance department for other companies. Currenlty I am in charge of a multi-group company with a rather complicated structural/shares set up. I do all of the annual tax returns and run all of the financial functions for them with the help of a small team.  So it keeps me on my toes and I am up to date on all legistaltion. 

I am based in Kent (Tunbridge Wells) area, and I know people charge premium for majority of services in the area.

I will be looking at the small to medium sized Ltd companies and the self-employed (I think I would leave the more complcated larger to others at this time, as I like my life a little simpler). So I will be offering VAT returns, bookkeeping, tax returns, CIS, payroll, company secretarial but also providing services of finance department and management accounting. What other services do you offer to attract clients and which services?

Also what software do you use?

Thank you in advance for all your help. I appreciate it.

 

Replies (31)

Please login or register to join the discussion.

avatar
By Accountant A
18th Feb 2020 15:46

Search the site. These are questions that come up on a weekly basis.

Have you worked in a tax function as part of your in-house finance experience?

Thanks (0)
Replying to Accountant A:
avatar
By The non-boring accountant
18th Feb 2020 15:54

I was aiming my question at locally based people as the prices vary so much area by area and I don't want to outprice or undercut myself.

I have worked as senior accountant in a chartered practice (few years back now - hence not being up to date with charges) as well as financial controller now.

Thanks (0)
Replying to The non-boring accountant:
avatar
By Accountant A
18th Feb 2020 16:08

Quote:

I was aiming my question at locally based people as the prices vary so much area by area and I don't want to outprice or undercut myself.

I have worked as senior accountant in a chartered practice (few years back now - hence not being up to date with charges) as well as financial controller now.

So have you worked in a tax function as part of your in-house finance experience?

Obviously tax law changes dramatically over the years and the practicalities of tax compliance are almost as complicated as the tax law that underpins them. I just wondered how you were going to approach VAT, payroll and (direct) tax returns without recent practical experience. When I read things on here, it makes me realise how difficult it is to be a competent sole practitioner.

Anyway, as I said, the question of fees is a regular question on here (one on the last week, from memory) so have a look. You can also work backwards from your desired net income and costs to see what your average charge out rate would need to be. Say 230 working days x 7 hours a week (conservative) = c1,600 potential billable hours.

Thanks (0)
Replying to Accountant A:
avatar
By The non-boring accountant
18th Feb 2020 16:31

Yes, I have vast experience in the services I am proposing to offer in my own company. I have set up accountancy systems from scratch and created an accountancy related software. Apologies I didn't include all of this as part of my question, but my question wasn't aimed at other accountants to assess my abilities but to find out what people charge.

yes, I know what I need to earn per day/ hour etc.
Yet if I am to offer services I need to be competitive - hence I would like others to say what they charge.

Is there any constructive advice you would like to give me that is in line with my original post

Thanks (0)
Replying to The non-boring accountant:
avatar
By Accountant A
18th Feb 2020 17:08

Quote:

Is there any constructive advice you would like to give me that is in line with my original post

Happy to repeat the advice I've given twice:

"Search the site. These are questions that come up on a weekly basis."

And bonus advice - don't start getting aggressive when you are asking for free advice and being asked a reasonable question. I've known many financial controllers in my time and none of them would have known the first thing about tax.

Thanks (2)
Replying to Accountant A:
avatar
By The non-boring accountant
19th Feb 2020 11:08

Quote:

Quote:

Is there any constructive advice you would like to give me that is in line with my original post

Happy to repeat the advice I've given twice:

"Search the site. These are questions that come up on a weekly basis."

And bonus advice - don't start getting aggressive when you are asking for free advice and being asked a reasonable question. I've known many financial controllers in my time and none of them would have known the first thing about tax.

I am sorry if I came across as aggressive. I think I was initially offended.
Thank you for your help and time.

Being the person I am I wouldn't even think about running a business without the needed know-how and skill. So perhaps I was slightly offended by the questioning of my skill - with some taking a rather aggressive approach.

I have too often come across practice accountants, who (whilst possessing great knowledge on some subjects - lacked this in other areas), or even if they had an overall good knowledge/experience, would not know how to apply it into running a business.
So I can see understand how this might work the other way round, and why many here have taken the assumption that I might not posses the skill.

Thanks (0)
Replying to The non-boring accountant:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
18th Feb 2020 17:16

What you need to earn and what the market will bear will initially likely be miles adrift from one another, unless day one you have a significant client base.

What you charge will in part be based upon what your offer looks like, so are there offices, staff , high street day one or are you "Accountant with car, travels to clients, meets in hotels" ?

There is certainly unlikely to be a one price fits all, so what I would consider reasonable as an hourly recovery re say payroll I would not consider re tax compliance and if I was doing a tax planning exercise or bank fund raising I would in effect be charging even more per hour.

I am on here the wrong person to comment on fees, for one thing I billed on the meter , no fixed prices for me, and some of my charges were very light, but as a one man band I started with what I earned as a a salary per hour in my day job and tried to bill at minimum of 1.5 times that as self employed ranging to three times as much depending on the work. So take current salary, divide by 46 working weeks, divide by 35 or 40 hours , get an hourly rate, apply NIER and employer pension, then multiply by 1.5 and that is your bookkeeping rate, basic compliance say two times, planning etc three times.

Thanks (1)
Replying to DJKL:
avatar
By The non-boring accountant
19th Feb 2020 10:13

DJKL thank you. This is very useful and makes a lot of sense.

Thanks (0)
Replying to The non-boring accountant:
avatar
By Accountant A
18th Feb 2020 20:38

Quote:

I have set up accountancy systems from scratch and created an accountancy related software.

I've also set up accounting systems and done all sorts of sexy tax stuff but I wouldn't have a clue how to set up a PAYE scheme or complete a builder's VAT return. No-one is saying you aren't good at what you have done. We are just interested to know how you plan to upskill yourself to engage in a line of business very different from what you say you have done in the past.

Thanks (0)
Replying to Accountant A:
avatar
By The non-boring accountant
19th Feb 2020 10:16

Well I have done PAYE scheme, VAT etc from scratch many times too - I'd say these are the basics. Especially now MTD is in place.
As said previously I wouldn't offer service I cannot provide. Not sure what sort of financial controllers can't do the basics - perhaps their job title should be different.

Thanks (0)
Replying to The non-boring accountant:
avatar
By Mr_awol
19th Feb 2020 09:50

Quote:

Apologies I didn't include all of this as part of my question, but my question wasn't aimed at other accountants to assess my abilities but to find out what people charge.

To be fair, without assessing your abilities (or listing our own) nobody can advise you on what to charge and any indication of our fees is irrelevant.

I'm a little bit south of you and charge around £60 p/h for bookkeepers and at least £200 for a Tax Return. Does that mean you should charge that? Slightly less as a start up? Slightly more if you're in a particularly leafy bit of TW?

One of my former trainees moved into industry after 4-5 years. They weren't particularly good in a practice environment - not particularly efficient and struggled with deadlines. They have, however, done quite well in their current role. If they set up as s/e bookkeeper and charged £25 per hour, I'd probably be able to staff it better and compete on overall price even at charge rates around double that. They'd probably manage the easy SATR but sooner or later they'd make a real mess of one. Really they should be charging £100 max for a Tax Return, and declining anything vaguely complicated.

Another is still with us. They complete fairly complicated accounts and draft tax computations/returns for partner review. The make the odd mistake or have gaps in knowledge, but are easily charged out at £80 per hour for all services. If they went out on their own then they might look to charge £50-£60 per hour and a good £150 for a simple Tax Return and more for non-basic ones.

So those two former trainees, both of whom I am still in regular contact with for different reasons, have very different abilities and should charge completely different fees in my opinion. The one who went into industry is ACCA qualified but is very naïve in tax matters. The one who remained in practice is AAT qualified and had a decent tax knowledge built up from their continued experience in the field. I would suggest that the latter is much more valuable in practice and should charge quite a bit more if, hypothetically, they both decided to make the move you are making.

Thanks (2)
Replying to Mr_awol:
avatar
By The non-boring accountant
19th Feb 2020 11:02

Thank you for your help and time.

Being the person I am I wouldn't even think about running a business without the needed know-how and skill. So perhaps I was slightly offended by the questioning of my skill - with some taking a rather aggressive approach.

I have too often come across practice accountants, who (whilst possessing great knowledge on some subjects - lacked this in other areas), or even if they had an overall good knowledge/experience, would not know how to apply it into running a business.
So I can see understand how this might work the other way round, and why many here have taken the assumption that I might not posses the skill.

Your response is the most constructive and informative and I will be taking it all into account, thank you.

Thanks (0)
Replying to The non-boring accountant:
avatar
By JoF
18th Feb 2020 16:35

Start with your 'I wouldnt get out of bed for that' rate and go from there.

TBH I think its a bit naive to expect 'locally based folk' to respond.

How are you planning on getting the missing tax (etc) skills before you leap?

Thanks (2)
Replying to JoF:
avatar
By The non-boring accountant
18th Feb 2020 16:46

Yes, I did think that about the locals not wanting to share.

Naive would be to offer services I cannot provide

Thanks (0)
Replying to The non-boring accountant:
avatar
By atleastisoundknowledgable...
19th Feb 2020 10:04

The non-boring accountant wrote:

The non-boring accountant

On behalf of all of the boring, solid, knowledgeable accountants out there ...

Thanks (1)
Replying to atleastisoundknowledgable...:
avatar
By The non-boring accountant
19th Feb 2020 10:25

Sorry, this is how the world perceives us :)

Thanks (0)
Replying to The non-boring accountant:
avatar
By JoF
19th Feb 2020 10:46

not round here it aint!

Thanks (0)
Replying to JoF:
avatar
By The non-boring accountant
19th Feb 2020 11:09

Quote:

not round here it aint!


of course it isn't, but accountants are generally perceived as boring for a reason.
Thanks (0)
Replying to The non-boring accountant:
avatar
By atleastisoundknowledgable...
19th Feb 2020 11:27

Quote:

Sorry, this is how the world perceives us :)

I suppose that could be your handle on UKBF. On here, we think that of acturists, employment lawyers and auditors [;)]

Thanks (0)
Replying to atleastisoundknowledgable...:
avatar
By The non-boring accountant
19th Feb 2020 12:00

He he I am sure that any acturist, employment lawyer or auditor would be offended.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By atleastisoundknowledgable...
18th Feb 2020 17:45

I don’t mean to be rude, but you seem very persistent in not answering the practical tax knowledge question.

95% of your clients will only care about what their tax bill is - don’t blindly think that you’ll get loads of ‘good’ ‘interesting’ clients quickly. Unless you can afford to be super super picky in which clients you take on.

Thanks (4)
avatar
By AWeb72
18th Feb 2020 22:33

Quite an attitude and no answer on the tax knowledge. What could possibly go wrong with this new venture?

Thanks (2)
Replying to AWeb72:
avatar
By The non-boring accountant
19th Feb 2020 10:56

let me just tell you that I think that the general assumption that one would think of opening a business without the subject knowledge is rater naive.

However, having said that, I have come across accountants (in practice) who would have a good knowledge, but if it came to putting it into real life situations they were completely overwhelmed and had no idea of how to put it into running a business, so I can see how this might work the other way round, and why many here have taken the assumption that I might not posses the skill. I ahve updated my main post.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By memyself-eye
19th Feb 2020 09:48

'Non-boring' eh?
I might offer my legal services as the 'non-fleecing' lawyer..

See how that goes.

Thanks (0)
Replying to memyself-eye:
avatar
By The non-boring accountant
19th Feb 2020 10:42

I wasn't going to call my company, the non-boring accountant.
But looking at how much interest the name has generated, I might now reconsider :)

Thanks (0)
Replying to The non-boring accountant:
avatar
By The non-boring accountant
19th Feb 2020 11:16

Quote:

I wasn't going to call my company, the non-boring accountant.
But looking at how much interest the name has generated, I might now reconsider :)


looking up the domains now!
Thanks (0)
Replying to The non-boring accountant:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
19th Feb 2020 11:27

Akin to Steve "Interesting" Davis, if you are old enough to remember Spitting Image.

I always fancied a firm called:

Disaster Area's Accountants
Maximegalon House
..............
............

Thanks (0)
Replying to DJKL:
avatar
By The non-boring accountant
19th Feb 2020 11:40

Quote:

Akin to Steve "Interesting" Davis, if you are old enough to remember Spitting Image.

I always fancied a firm called:

Disaster Area's Accountants
Maximegalon House
..............
............


ohh, I like the ideas - keep them coming. Can you just imagine?
Thanks (0)
Replying to DJKL:
avatar
By The non-boring accountant
20th Feb 2020 10:01

n

Thanks (0)
By Glenn Martin
19th Feb 2020 16:01

What services are you offering are you a specialist or a generalist?

Have you done any research?

I would start with Googling accountants near me and have a look at their websites as many will quote a stock from price for varying services which would be a good start for you. But you need to do some work/research you cannot expect you potential rivals to open up with everything you need to compete against them.

Thanks (0)
Replying to Glennzy:
avatar
By The non-boring accountant
20th Feb 2020 10:02

Thank you, I will continue with what you suggest.

Thanks (0)
Share this content

Related posts