As the deadline date for your self-assessment submission is fast approaching, you may find yourself asking the age old question ‘Should I Hire a Bookkeeper for my Self-Assessment?’
Well, that all depends on your particular situation as to whether or not this is a viable option or if it is even needed.
Start by asking yourself a few questions:
How are you with keeping your records?
Have you been recording your receipts and invoices as you go along? Do you have copies of all of your receipts and invoices?
Or, is keeping records not one of your strong points? Do you have a pile of papers that you have just been putting in a drawer?
Are you confident enough to do this by yourself?
How do you feel when it comes to important things like dealing with HMRC? Are you quite confident with keeping records and filling out forms?
Would you rather not fill out forms? Do you worry whether you’re ticking the right boxes or giving the right information?
Are you confident that you have enough understanding of other aspects that may apply to you? Such as Capital Gains Tax, Pensions, AIA and Depreciation? These can be quite complex sections, so it is really important to make sure that you understand if these are applicable to you and what figures need to be inputted.
Probably the most important question is ‘Do you have the time needed to make sure that this is done correctly?’
What is your workload like at the moment? Are you rushed off your feet? Are you in a position that you will be able to block out some time to sit and make sure that everything is correct?
When you have answers to these questions you need to sit down and weigh up the pros and cons of hiring a bookkeeper.
You’ve decided that you’re all up to date and your bookkeeping is in good order. Should you hire a bookkeeper? If you are confident that your figures are correct, you’ve taken all of your allowable expenses into account, you know exactly which sections of the self-assessment apply to you and you have enough time to focus on completing your self-assessment then no, it sounds as though you have it all under control and don’t need to hire a bookkeeper.
If you’ve decided that you’re not great at keeping your records and that you’re very behind then definitely, the sensible thing to do would be to hire a bookkeeper. It can be really hard to backtrack and make sense of 12 months of paperwork! It will also work out more cost efficient for you. The time it would take you to complete a whole year of bookkeeping will no doubt take you away from earning money by running your business.
Have you decided that your bookkeeping is in good order but you’re just not 100% confident? Again, yes, you should hire a bookkeeper. A bookkeeper can take your books, check them all over for you and then make the final submission to HMRC. This would leave you with the peace of mind that everything is in order and that HMRC have the correct figures.
Most importantly, have you decided if you’re going to have enough time to do this? If work has started slowing down a little for Christmas and you are definitely going to have time then great. No need to hire a bookkeeper. However, if you’re very busy and can’t see things slowing down, then seriously consider it. This is not a job that can be rushed and needs to be given enough time.
It may be that you records are great, you’re confident enough to do it and have the time but it’s a job that you just don’t like doing. Again, yes we would recommend you hire a bookkeeper. If you’re hearts not in it and you’re doing it because you have to and to get it out of the way, then this is where mistakes can be made.
If after reading this, it has helped you decide that you would like to hire a bookkeeper then we would recommend that you do this sooner rather than later as the deadline is now just over a month away.
You also need to bear in mind that it’s important to choose the right bookkeeper for you. The best way is to have somebody recommended to you. That way you will know that they have a good reputation.
If you have to find one, then do an internet search. Find somebody that is local to you in case you need to drop or collect any paperwork. Make sure that they regulated by a governing body and fully insured. Most importantly of all find somebody that you like. You are entrusting this company with your business finances so it is important that you can trust them.
Hiring a bookkeeper in a lot of situations can be the most sensible and cost efficient thing to do. A good bookkeeper will work closely with you to meet with your requirements. That way even though you’re not actually doing it yourself you will still have that feeling of being in control. Have a look at our self-assessment services page to give you an idea of the different options that could be available to you.
Just imagine the feeling of just being able to run your business without having to worry about things that may not be your expertise. Sometimes you just have to think about your peace of mind and what you need to do to achieve that!