How Much Does an Accountant Cost?

Business accounting costs can start at around £59 to £200, depending on turnover. Payroll services are around £200 per month for 10 to 50 employees, and VAT returns cost from £75 to £100.

Keep reading as we explore the factors associated with accounting costs, plus affordable alternatives.

If you'd like to find out exactly how much accounting services will cost for you, try our free quote-finding tool. Just give us a few brief details about your business, and we'll do the rest, matching you up with trusted accounting firms that can meet your needs. You'll then receive tailored, no-obligation quotes, so you can compare and save.

What services do accountants provide?

The standard services accountants offer include:

  • Bookkeeping
  • Tax returns
  • Payroll
  • Bank reconciliation
  • Accounts payable/receivable
  • Regular advice

The services a business needs will depend on its size and business structure. The above services will typically be included in most accounting packages for businesses. These kind of packages can usually be paid for monthly.

The best accountants for businesses will typically be able to save you money, as they can give you advice about business planning and long-term plans with their insight into your business. Your accountant will also prevent your business from facing fines or penalties for misfiling or missing deadlines. The money you spend on outsourcing your accounting will often be much less than the cost of facing fines, or making mistakes on your books.

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How much do accountants cost?

Starting out with the basics, one-off accounting will cost around £25 to £50 an hour, and more specialist accounting costs around £125 to £150 an hour.

More comprehensive accounting can cost around £60 to £250 per month, depending on the size of your business. For large businesses, this number will be higher as they have a higher number of employees and a bigger turnover – factors that can impact the cost of your accounting.

A one-off self-assessment or tax return completion can cost around £150 to £250. The cost of a tax return can be higher, especially if your income is inconsistent. In these cases tax returns will be more complicated for your accountant to record, increasing the amount they'll charge.

Accountants can be paid annually, monthly, or hourly, depending on the number and type of accounting services you need from them. You can pay them by the hour, if you need an accountant for one-off services. If you need regular accountancy services and advice, you can opt for a package, which you pay for monthly or annually.

There are a few factors that impact pricing, including:

The size of the business

This is determined by your annual turnover. The higher this is, the more you can expect to pay, as the tax and accounting workload will typically increase.

Being a limited company

If you're registered as a sole trader, your accounting costs will be lower than those of a limited company. Limited companies have more complex needs and have to comply with harsher accounting rules. Bookkeeping is much more stringent and comprehensive, so the cost of having to taken care of is typically higher.

Limited companies will also need other services, such as tax accounting.

One-off or continuous service

The price for one-off services will be fairly different to hiring an accountant on an ongoing basis.

How much do accounting services cost?

We break down how much the different accounting services will cost your business, depending on factors such as size and turnover:

Service Turnover/Employees Cost 
Business accounts £10,000 – £30,000£59 – £200
£30,000 – £80,000£79 – £300
Payroll 10 – 50 employees From £200 p/m
VAT returns £0 – £100,000£75 – £100

These costs are typical one-off fees for businesses. However, you might find it more useful to opt for a package with an accountancy firm that includes all these services. This pricing is harder to pin down, as it tends to be bespoke.

If you run a start-up or small business, you may not need regular accountancy services. But as your business grows, your tax and accountancy needs will grow too, and become more complicated. You can then choose to scale up to a regular monthly package.

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Can you get accounting services for free?

The short answer is yes. You can access accounting services for free through DIY methods, or free software. Cloud-based software has evolved to produce efficient and helpful tools to assist you with services such as bookkeeping and payroll.

Payroll can be complex, but software can make the process a lot easier with reporting and automations. You can access free payroll software when you have relatively few employees, however as your business grows and your employee numbers increase, there will usually be a cost attached.

DIY accounting can be complicated, but it's suitable if you're a start-up or a very small business. It's important to open up a business bank account so you can accurately separate your personal and business records to make things easier to document.

You also want to develop a bookkeeping system – this can be done using a spreadsheet or accounting software. When doing your own books, you want to ensure you keep track of every expense, and choose the right accounting method for your business. There are two methods you can choose from: the first is traditional accounting, which records income and expenses on the date of the invoice. The second is cash accounting, which records income and expenses on the date it's received or the money is paid. Cash accounting is only available if your turnover is less than £83,000 per year. If this is your business, cash accounting is typically a better option, as it means there's less chance your business has to pay tax on money it has not yet received.

When DIY-ing accounting, you want to generate monthly reports that show a profit and loss statement and a balance sheet, so you can accurately track the financial health of your business.

As your business grows and develops, it may be difficult to stay on top of your accounting yourself, and outsourcing may be your best option. Staying compliant is vital, and the bigger your business is the harder it can be to manage, especially without any specialised advice.

Outsourcing accounting services ensures your business stays compliant and, in the long run, it'll save your business money, as professional accountants will have tailored and useful advice to offer.

Verdict

The cost of an accountant will depend on your business size and turnover. Small businesses can expect to pay around £59 to £400 a month, depending on the services they need.

Outsourcing accounting services saves on time, resources, and money. When you outsource, you can rely on a professional accountant to offer advice and guidance on typically complex issues. If your purse strings are a little tight, you can opt for a lower-cost method through free software or DIY methods. But these are only suitable for start-ups and small businesses, as it can become less manageable as your business grows.

Need Help Finding an Accountant?

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FAQs

What are the benefits of getting an accountant?
Getting an accountant gives you access to professional advice and expertise. Plus, you can be confident that complex tax and accountancy tasks are being dealt with efficiently, keeping your business compliant.

When you hire an accountant, you can save on time, money, and resource, giving you more flexibility and energy to pour into other parts of your business.

Is it worth me getting an accountant?
Hiring an accountant will free up time, money, and resource, making it a good decisions for many businesses. You'll also get access to advice and expertise. It may not be the best option if you're a start-up or small business with a limited budget. In this case, you can get by with free accounting software or DIY methods, such as keeping financial records in spreadsheets.

Although these two options are not suitable for larger businesses with more complex tax and accountancy needs, the smaller your business is, the easier it will be for you to keep accounting in-house and keep costs down.

You can also opt to hire an accountant for one-off important tasks, such as payroll, and keep the rest in-house. This way you won't have to fork out payments regularly, but you can be confident that important and complex areas such as tax returns are being dealt with by a professional.

Zara is a law grad with a penchant for wordsmithing. As Expert Market’s CRM and payroll expert, she relishes researching and writing expert content.