Rising Accountancy Fees Anger Small firms

A new study has revealed that more than one in ten small businesses in the UK are not happy with the rising fees charged by their accountants.

Online accounting software provider Crunch carried out a survey of 269 businesses last month, questioning their attitudes to and experiences of accountants .

They found that rising fees is the biggest accounting gripe for 15 per cent of small firms, followed by jargon, or ‘accountant-speak’, and charging for communication such as phone calls and emails.

Of the 183 businesses that said they used an accountant, 18 per cent felt they were boring, while a fifth of respondents rated levels of communication from their accountant as ok or poor.

One in ten said they had incurred penalties from HMRC as a result of late filing by accountants at least once, while 16 per cent said their accountant hadn’t given them advice on the most tax-efficient way to pay themselves.

A further 42 per cent said they did not understand or recognise IR35 – HMRC’s controversial freelancing tax legislation.

Commenting on the findings, Darren Fell, Managing Director at Crunch.co.uk, said: “The number of small businesses experiencing a lack of advice about tax efficiency and penalties for late filing from accountants is worrying.”

“While some of our survey results provide an amusing snapshot, we also wanted to gauge feeling among the UK’s small business community about the levels of service and whether they are getting a good deal.”

“The accounting industry needs to give companies complete confidence they are getting the best advice and service; ensuring they can fully concentrate on their business.”