Choosing an Accountant for a franchise business

You are thinking of investing in a franchise and you want to make sure that you have the right team behind you. Your choice of accountant will affect your franchise business even before you start trading. The chances of your new business being successful can be greatly increased by he advice, knowledge and level of service you receive from your accountant.

Before signing your franchise agreement, you should appoint an accountant who has experience within the franchise industry so they are able to offer you advice on the formation of your business, any issues with HMRC, and, in particular, any contractual requirements imposed on your accounting records.

7 Simple questions to ask the accountant

  1. Will they provide a free initial consultation? If you can sort out the main issues of business formation, tax, VAT, accounting software and record keeping at a free consultation it will greatly reduce your setup costs
  2. Are they members of a recognised accounting Institute or Association (Charter or Certified)? If your accountant is a member of a recognised accounting institute or Association they will work to industry standards, giving you added peace of mind. Our article about qualified accountants explains this in more detail.
  3. Do they provide business start-up advice? How you setup and form your business (be it sole trader, partnership or limited company) can have serious implications and can affect obtaining funding for the business, future tax liabilities, and options for future growth.
  4. Do they have a dedicated franchise team that has wide experience in the franchise industry? How many franchisors (franchise companies) do they deal with? Do they have experience of franchising within your chosen franchise business and can your accountants team comply with the accounting requirements that may be stipulated in your franchise contract.
  5. Do they provide additional services such as payroll, bookkeeping, VAT accounting and stock control? Check the various services offered, as some accountants will prepare annual accounts and provide taxation advice but do not necessarily provide the additional services such as monthly management accounts, payroll, bookkeeping, VAT returns and stock control.
  6. Can they provide online accounting services? With online accounting services, you can have complete flexibility as the amount of processing you carry out and how much your accountant carries out. You log into their systems, update your own records and leave the accountants to do the technical parts such as management accounting for you.
  7. Are their fees good value and fixed where possible? If you can your should try and obtain fixed quoted fees where ever possible to avoid any unpleasant surprises at the end of the year. Often Accountants will be happy to have you pay for the services in monthly payments, this will help your cash flow as you will not have to find a large chunk of money at the end of your financial year

By asking the questions above it should help you find the right accountant and get the right advice, at the right time, at a competitive cost, and comply with all your accounting, payroll and taxation requirements.

Now that you know the questions to ask why not search for a local accountant by entering your postcode in the box at the top of this screen. Our directory lists accountants thoughout the UK so there is sure to be one near you.

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