The pros and cons of working with an independent accountant in Lichfield image

I went from working at a top 10 accountancy firm with 7,500 employees to setting up a practice with 0 employees. Here are the pros and cons of working with an independent accountant in Lichfield.

I have seen both sides for clients.

If you’re looking for an accountant in Lichfield, is it better to work with a bigger accountancy practice or are you going to get more value working with an independent accountant?

That’s the question on everybody’s lips.

There is no right and wrong decision, this is my ‘objective’ perspective. Well, it’s probably biased, but I will try and be as non-bias as possible.

Plenty of accountants in Lichfield

With a quick google there are over 20 accountants in Lichfield and chances are you’re trying to choose which one to go with.

When deciding on a service the rule of three is popular, you shop around and get quotes from three service providers.

There are national practices, smaller firms with a team of 5-20 and individual independent accountants in Lichfield, like me.

So here are the pros and cons of working with an independent accountant in Lichfield.

4 pros of working with an independent accountant

  1. Contactable

The bigger the accountancy practice, the more departmental it gets. Your original contact was the partner as they carry out business development, you then work with a manager, a junior is running your VAT returns, you have a payroll contact, before you know it you have a 5 a side football team. When a query pops in your head, who do you contact?… CC everyone.

When you’re working with an independent accountant, you just have one point of contact, so you can email, or phone and it will be me who answers.

  1. High quality work

Most accountancy practices have apprentices training, that’s how I started, it’s a fantastic way to learn. Often tasks like VAT and bookkeeping a less experienced trainee will be doing the work, which can lead to mistakes. You know who will be carrying out the work and you can bank on it being correct.

  1. Good customer service

It’s my practice, I care about my clients and it’s important to me that you receive good customer service. It sends me bonkers when a business doesn’t get back to me or are unhelpful and I won’t let that happen to you. I am proud of my reviews on Google so far. Other practices I am sure have great customer service as well, but my name is above the door and it’s crucial I practice what I preach.

  1. Personal relationship

We will speak regularly and with that I will get to know you. If you’re a dog person, I may send you the odd puppy pic, I apologise in advance. I know all my client’s names, business names, year ends and a lot more. To really be able to help you, you need that level of personalisation.

If you’re working with lots of contacts in a firm, or they have clients stacked high, you’re probably not going to get that personal relationship.

4 Cons of working with an independent accountant

  1. Capacity

When you’re working with one accountant, there’s a finite amount of time I have, so that capacity could fill up. If you’re working with a bigger firm, it’s easier for the work to be passed onto another team member. To combat this, I try and work to 80% capacity and then put a waiting list in place.

  1. Holidays

A man needs to take a holiday now and again, so for those periods of time your accountancy work won’t be getting done whilst I am sipping Piña Colada’s on the beach dreaming about tax. If you were working with a bigger firm, someone most likely could help you. There are rarely any emergencies in the accountant world, so with good planning we can meet deadlines months before we need to.

  1. Run over by a bus

Who would do your work if anything was to happen to me? It’s a valid question and it wouldn’t be such an issue if you’re working with a bigger firm. As part of my licence, I have continuity of practice cover for this very reason. So, if anything was to ever happen, the work would be handled, and deadlines met from a fellow accountant for the same fees.

I will stay away from Lichfield bus depot, but the continuity agreement is in place, so you don’t have to worry.

  1. Fancy office

I would love to say I am writing this from my ivory tower in Lichfield, but sadly it’s much less glamourous, I am working from my spare bedroom. You’re welcome to meet here or at a local coffee shop, there is no fancy office.

If you want to visit your accountant’s office, sit around a board room table, and for the receptionist to make you a drink, sadly I can’t do that. But I can buy you a large iced, oat milk decaf latte with a cherry on top from your favourite café.

Accountant practice size preference

A lot comes down to personal preference and what’s important to you. There’s a reason large practices in the top 4 have billions of pounds of annual turnover. But what might be right for Tesco, may not be right for your business.

Helpful next step: >>

9 questions to ask to find a great accountant in Lichfield

If you would like to work with an independent Lichfield accountant who will care, communicate and offer a proactive service find out more about how I can help you or book a call here.