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Why People Don’t Understand Accountant’s Regulation

accountancy regulations able accountants walsallAn article from Chartered Accountants in Ireland earlier this year highlighted that 8 out of 10 people believe that accountants must be regulated in order to legally practice. As a consequence, 88% of people say that there is an issue of “consumer protection” without such regulation. This helps identify four conclusions:

1. People expect regulation of accountants. They’re professional advisors, and like say solicitors and doctors surely they need to be regulated by some body before they can practice their expertise. This is all about perception, accountants already assumed to be this that and the other simply by being an accountant which can all be reinforced by good presentation.

2. People probably don’t realise that you don’t necessarily need regulation. This is often confused with legislation which is the law of the land meaning you have to do certain accounts and taxes in a certain way and submitted to various authorities. This does not always say who has to do this though, hence a non-regulated accountant or even worse a non-accountant could theoretically do this.

3. People suspect there will problems from non-regulation. As the reality hits that regulation is not always needed, then quite rightly suspicions set in. If there is no way to control the practice of accountants then consumers and clients could be at risk, so logically, the first criteria is to make sure a firm is regulated by some body, for example The Institute of Chartered Accountants or Chartered Certified Accountant (ACCA). Secondly though, even if a firms says they are regulated, then check this out – ask for the specific regulatory body, and contact them direct to not only check membership but if there are any issues.

4. People probably don’t understand the implications of regulation. So you find a firm which is regulated, but what does it actually mean. There are codes of conducts, ethical benchmarks, insurance requirements, complaints procedures, qualifications, and adherence to certain legislation expected. Check the theory with the regulatory body, and then check that the firm of accountants actually know and realise this, including individuals dealing with your case rather than just the firm’s status generally.

When it comes to selecting an accountant in Walsall, the trick is to sift through the small print and understand what is actually being claimed, and then do whatever checks you need in order to make sure you know this is happening in reality.

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3 Reasons Why Accountants Want to Move Abroad

accountancy career abroad able accountantsA survey we came across at the end of last year had questioned 200 UK-based accountants and revealed that 77% of them want to flit abroad in order to ‘further their careers’. As we now enter another British winter then these kind of opportunities become more and more appealing, will nearly three quarters of accountants apparently thinking the same (North America & Western Europe being the two popular destinations). An accountant’s likf is apparently not all about numbers on a piece of paper or computer screen, but the wider life experience.

Delving deeper, three top reasons for this were identified. The first is all to do with the economy and job prospects, with an expectation of greater opportunities and stability abroad rather than here in the UK at this time.

Secondly, the cost of living would expected to be be lower abroad, particularly when compared against the south-east and London costs I suspect, and the perception that they will get more for their money in foreign quarters.

The third reason is an obvious one, a warmer and more pleasant environment in other countries, with greater possibilities for recreation, social, and family times outside work – actually an important factor that can have a positive re-energised and focused perspective and productivity with work. What is linked with this as well is an accountant’s value of immediate and extended family, including the role of grandparents, and how this does play an important part in any decision to move to another culture. There will be varying degrees of risk perceived with these various options, and being able to ‘chance’ things working out.

Practically, accountancy is actually a good career to offer this flexibility of working abroad. Obviously there will be the issues of different accounting legislation and procedures in different countries, but subject to this being learnt there are opportunities to easily transfer these skills.

On one extreme you can be an employee of a large international accountancy firm who can easily offer opportunities in one of their other international offices. On the other extreme you can be a sole trader doing accountancy and book keeping still for UK-based clients, and by using all the technology of the internet and cloud-based software systems you can still do this while located in hotter climates abroad.

Even communication can be easy with free phone and video calls, and shared workload documents. There can also be the opportunity to work with other businesses to help with practical things back in the UK, whether it’s virtual office space and secretarial services, another accountant, or business-development contact to develop existing and new client relationships.

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3 Ways To Stop Your Accountant Nagging For Invoices

accountant nagging incoives able accountants walsallOh the joy of invoices. Every accountant will want bags of them, with every penny being justified by an invoice somewhere. Completely understandable as the whole point of accounting and bookkeeping is to have an accurate paper (or data) trail of money movements which can be clearly explained.

To the non-accounting person this can be a nightmare and a seemingly pointless exercise, and although a nice idea to keep on top of throughout the year, in reality it results in a mad rush at the year-end accounts and audit when the accountant lists all kinds of transactions that need invoice back-ups.

So here’s 3 tips to help out. No necessarily a magic wand to end the need for invoices, but little tricks to help make it easier:

1. Online transactions can mean easier invoices. In today’s modern virtual world this will actually include the majority of suppliers and customers, whether they are directly internet related or are proper brick-and-mortar businesses who have an online account on their website or through software where you keep track of orders and transactions.

You can even be using mainstream ones like Amazon and Bay which allow access to invoices there and then. You just have to remember that each one can have a different layout and style and will take a few minutes to get the hang of, but once you do it can be easy to get hold of online rather than request offline.

2. Get used to keeping PDF copies of invoices. So rather than instinctively printing hard copies of every invoice, you can save them on your computer as a digital PDF version. Not only can this mean less fath by then printing them all off at the same time at say year end, but you may even find that you don’t need to print off and can simply copy all these digital files straight to your accountant (you can also attach to any email to ping across).

All you need is a place to store them, maybe an ‘invoices’ folder on your computer or USB stick, and then a quick way to convert any document such as an excel spreadsheet or Word document or even an email straight into PDF format. A lot of new software allows you to save as this PDF format from a drop down list when you get the save-as pop-up menu, or you can install software like Primo PDF which acts as another printer setting (sounds strange, but go to print your document but list this as the printer type and it will dump it as a PDF on your computer screen).

3. Get everything written down. Often too easy to be true, but just jot everything down. So even if it’s a small transaction, maybe just using cash, and for whatever reason you don’t get a formal invoice then simply scribble it down on a piece of paper to make note. Ideally it can be signed by everybody, correctly described on headed paper etc., but even just on a piece of paper will help (even just send a quick email instead).

A good example is a taxi where some don’t provide one and you need to ask them to jot down the cost on a business card or something as this can an allowable expense for you.

For help finding the right accountants in Walsall then contact us today for immediate help and advice.

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4 Aspects Of The Accountancy Career

accountancy career able accountantsA career in accountancy is worth looking into. It is a solid profession to be in, with options to train without any directly related qualifications, it has opportunities away from pure numbers, and offers good rewards. It’s a good option, no matter what age or stage of your career or working life you’re at – whether still at school looking into, or already well into a different career.

So here are a few pointers if you’re looking into accountancy as a career:

1. You really need a nack for numbers. Sound obvious I know, but an important distinction to make at the start. We’re all wired-up different, so for some people they have to really strive for numbers to ‘make sense’, whereas say pictures and images can make complete sense. It’s not so much as a love for numbers, but rather a tolerance of them – you don’t mind them, you can work them, and the shear thought of them does not send you into panic attacks.

2. Be able to also think out of the numbers-box.  So yes you need to get the numbers right, but the expertise is then being able to present, manipulate, communicate, and interpret them. To be able to see patterns, determine strategies, and help solve problems. The processing side of numbers is actually getting easier with technology and software, both in and out the ‘cloud’, therefore there is a greater need to be able to make sense of these and apply to real life situations.

3. Training can be flexible. Surprisingly you can easily accommodate training around other life happenings as well as traditional full-time study before employment. Infact I’d recommend gaining experience in actually doing accounting before you even decide to do training as the practice can be a lot different to the theory. You then can not only mould the training around your life through say distance learning or online means, but you know it has a purpose at the end of it with real work afterwards.

4. Get all kinds of experience under your belt. As above, gaining actual experience in accountancy early on is essential, as with any other profession. Here in the UK we’re geared to choose a career without this, spend years training for it before then actually doing it. Personally I’d do this the other way around – try it, decide you like it, then train for it. And milk every kind of experience possible – menial admin jobs in your local firm of accountants free of choice, shadowing other accountants, offering to help people with related tasks like book keeping and taxes, or go through a set of accounts and ask qualified people questions about it.

Just go for it. 

Looking for accountants Walsall? Contact us today for more help and advice.

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Personal Debt & Finance Survey

personal debt finance able accountants walsallA survey by R2, an organisation working with those facing insolvency, has been conducted in the West Midlands that sheds light on levels of personal debt and opinions on this. With the economy being what it is and living on credit becoming the norm for a lot of people the survey has revealed interesting viewpoints. The main findings are summarised below.

1. At least 50% of those interviewed are concerned about their levels of debt. The types of debt include mortgages, credit cards, loans and overdrafts. It is important to note that among this figure a lot of them will be adults with a low amount of debt but a high fear factor. Conversely there may be a lot of adults also interviewed that have a high level of personal debt but not much concern over it.

2. At least 25% of the adults interviewed forecast a worsening situation over the next 6 months (from the date they were interviewed) for their personal finances - a worrying situation. Clearly there are many that not only see no clear way to alleviating their debt but they also believe they will be adding to it.

3. Almost 50% of the adults interviewed have trouble surviving on the money they earn and making their salary stretch to the next payday. In tight situations the usual advice of simply taking extra care over the monthly budget is not enough for a lot of people, no matter how efficiently they plan.

4. Over 50% of those fighting an on-going battle to cover their bills from month to month believe that their struggle is due to rising food and energy costs. It would have been conceivable that the number one cause of such struggles would be one-off, unexpected expenditures such as car repairs.

5. Possibly due to falling inflation it is professionals and the younger in society who are more positive. Unskilled, older members of society are less hopeful that they have time in which to learn new skills to get through the competitive job market and stay afloat in these difficult times.

Budgeting and planning are still valid and important pieces of advice. The better one can plan and budget the more able one will be to absorb any unexpected costs and adhere to strict budgets.

With sites such as Moneysavingexpert.com you can use the experiences of others and access help. Alternatively make use of local debt advisors to help sort through this confusing field. Whatever you do make sure you do not just go to your current bank, loan or mortgage advisor because they are familiar with them. Make sure you get some independent advice from people who are not looking to simply earn commission.  Instead make use of all your options and get a better overview of what is available to you.

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