How to choose a Locum Optometrist Accountant

June 23rd, 2019 Business | Locum Optometry No Comments

Are you thinking of hiring a locum optometrist accountant to help with your finances? My Locum Choice is here with the low down on how to choose the right locum accountant for you.

Working for yourself will always involve an admin overhead including bookkeeping and tax returns. Maintaining a spreadsheet of your hours worked and money earned is relatively simple. However, being tax-efficient or understanding the complexities of tax law is more complicated.

So, whether you are a locum optometrist or mobile hairdresser, you may decide that an accountant can help you get the most from your earnings.

Do I need a Locum Optometrist Accountant?

The first step in choosing an accountant is deciding whether you need one. Your personal circumstances and your locum workload may affect whether using an accountant is right for you. Consider:

  • Are you a full or part-time locum optometrist?
  • Do you have additional income other than your locum work?
  • Can you absorb the admin into you working hours?
  • Do you run your locum business as a sole trader or limited company?
  • What do I want from an accountant?

If you’re comfortable with the whole tax thing and just want some admin support, try hiring a virtual assistant. A VA will probably be more cost-effective than a fully-qualified accountant.

Choosing a Locum Optometrist Account

Great! You’ve decided you want an accountant. So here is how to go about choosing the right accountancy professional or practice for you.

Find an accountant by asking for recommendations

Use your network of locums or optometry business owners for a recommendation. Whilst you may not get responses where people sing the praises of their accountant, you will hopefully get a few recommendations of solid and competent accountancy professionals.

What certifications do they have?

Anyone can call themselves an accountant so make sure you choose one who is qualified and the member of a regulating body. In the UK, look for accountants with one of the following acronyms after their name:

  • ACA (Associate Chartered Accountant)
  • ACCA (Associate Chartered Certified Accountant)

There is also the CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountant) qualification. However, the CIMA is usually associated with professionals working in the finance departments of businesses rather than in specialist accountancy firms.

Does the accountant specialise in locum optometry?

The chances that a potential accountant specialises as a locum optometrist accountant is low (that would be really niche).

However, they may concentrate on locum clients from across the healthcare sector. So look for accountants who have experience with locum pharmacists, GPs or even vets.

Can you process your finances online?

Being able to process your finances online is a basic requirement for any locum. It’s easy, convenient and efficient. But the software used to process your finances needs to be compliant with HMRC’s Making Tax Digital (MTD) initiative.

MTD is slowly eliminating paper and spreadsheet bookkeeping. All businesses will need to use software from HMRC’s list of approved suppliers. So make sure your accountant is using software from this list.

Popular and compliant software options for accountants include FreeAgent and Xero.

As a sole locum, your business may not be making enough money to meet the current minimum threshold for this new law. However, as with most things HMRC, you don’t know how far the legislation will eventually reach so it’s a good idea to start now and potentially future-proof your accounting procedure.

Check them out on LinkedIn

Having engaging posts on LinkedIn doesn’t make someone a good accountant. However, the type of content they post or the discussions they get involved in may tell you more about their level of expertise and how they choose to conduct business.

An accountant who seems non-plussed about their reputation on LinkedIn may not be right for you. But someone who regularly gives advice is already demonstrating their value to you before you’ve even said hello.

Speak to them

The best way to work out if they really are a suitable locum optometrist accountant is to speak to them directly. Reach out on LinkedIn or email and set up a face to face conversation.

What is their rate?

Find out what their monthly rate is plus the exact services this covers. How does this amount compare with other accountants or how much money they think they can save you each year?

Do they understand your concerns or specific needs?

If your situation is more complicated than a straight forward locum day job, discuss this with them. Get an insight into how they would handle your finances so you know that they’re on your side.

Are they easy to communicate with?

Everyday communication with your accountant will probably is over email. However, you need to know you can communicate with them easily should you need them urgently.

Are they proactive in saving you money?

Accountants don’t just complete your yearly tax return. Accountants should be advising you on good accountancy habits. This includes how much to put aside for tax bills and also what expenses you can or cannot claim.

My Locum Choice is here to help you on your locum journey. Whether you are thinking about locum work or you’re a seasoned pro, My Locum Choice is the friendly locum optom agency for you. We offer great advice and trusted service. So, check out the best locum shifts available through the MLC app today.

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