Make a CA your trusted business adviser

A Chartered Accountant (CA) can do much more than just prepare accounts. Whether you are setting up a new venture or growing your existing business, a CA can provide expert advice to help you navigate today's complex business environment.

Legally, anyone can call themselves an ‘accountant’ - they don’t need any qualifications, training or experience. Would you trust anyone with your affairs?

Discover the benefits of using a CA

Why use a CA

The CA badge is a mark of quality demonstrating the highest professional standard. CAs who work in a practice and offer services to the public are professionally qualified through rigorous training and practical work experience. They are required to undertake continuous professional development to keep up-to-date with the latest business issues, regulations and technical skills. CAs are bound by a code of ethics to uphold the highest professional standards, they are monitored by quality reviews of their professional practices and regulated by their membership body. They also have professional indemnity insurance in place which helps to protect you against professional negligence.

This combination of comprehensive training, experience and rigorous process are critical to ensure the high standards CAs offer and that they have the commercial acumen and professional judgement needed to become your trusted business adviser.

Read our guide to understand the services a CA firm can provide and the benefits to you and your business.

Download a Guide to Choosing a Chartered Accountant

Benefits to your business

A CA can help you manage your business with confidence no matter what stage it's at, from examining your business idea to growth and beyond. A CA can provide advice on:

  • Starting up: turning your idea into a business
  • Helping your business become more profitable
  • Growing your business
  • Succession planning
  • Personal tax and finances
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Starting a business? Turn your idea into reality with the help of a CA

If you are thinking of starting a business, getting the right advice can make the difference between success and failure. A CA has the knowledge and expertise to help you set up your new business. They can provide advice and guidance on writing business plans; accessing finance, including grants, bank loans and venture capital; and helping you to meet your legal requirements relating to personal and corporation tax.

See a CA when you need help with …

Writing a business plan

Creating a business plan is essential for any venture as it sets out the goals of your business, how you plan to reach those goals and your financial targets, budget and forecasts. Whether you are looking to secure finance, or want to benchmark the performance of your business, a CA can review your idea and evaluate its profit potential so you can create a realistic business plan.

Your company’s legal structure

Every business has legal obligations which it must comply with. This varies depending on the size and type of business and could include a Self Assessment or Company Tax Return, statutory accounts, VAT Returns, payroll, employment and property tax. If you’re unsure about whether to run your business as a sole-trader, partnership or limited company, a CA can help you to decide which company structure will work best for you.

Raising finance

A CA can help you assess what form of finance, or combination of finance options, is right for your business and help you prepare a convincing business plan to persuade a lender or investor to offer finance. Finance can be in the form of personal funds or private investments by friends and family; bank loans; business overdraft facilities; government grants and tax concessions; or venture capital investments. Funding options change over time so it’s important to meet regularly with your CA to review what options are available and which are best for your business. "39% of SME employers cited obtaining finance as an obstacle to the success of their business" (Source: 2014 Small Business Survey – Employers Report, Department for Business Innovation & Skills)

Applying for a grant

A grant could help you cover some costs involved in starting your business, however the process can be complex, time-consuming and competitive. A CA can help you identify suitable grants and provide guidance on ensuring your business meets the conditions of the scheme; writing the grant proposal; developing a work plan and costing; and completing your application.

Applying for a business loan or overdraft

Before you approach your bank about finance you’ll need to do some preparatory work. A CA can help you prepare your application and pull together the supporting information lenders will look for including a business plan, financial records and projections, repayment plan and any additional security. Using a CA will also give the lender confidence in you and your plans.

Taking on a franchise

A franchise can take some of the risk out of starting up in business. You can be your own boss and the franchise company will support you with brand marketing, sales and product supply in return for a share of the revenue or business equity. However you will have less commercial freedom and increased overheads, because some of your income will go to the franchise parent company. It can be hard to know whether it's worth taking on a franchise. A CA can help by reviewing the franchise contract to find out the fees and percentages charged and help you estimate your likely income after those costs have been deducted.

Your business finances

Healthy finances are critical to a successful business and that's where a CA’s professional help is essential. Keeping accurate financial records is an essential part of running a successful business. The needs of businesses vary depending upon their size, type and industry sector, and a CA can help with the preparation of accounts including profit and loss statements, balance sheet preparation, detailed ledger listings, and cash flow statements.

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Grow your business with the help of a CA

A CA can give you expert advice to help you manage your business with confidence no matter what stage it's at.

Staying ahead of your competitors requires having lean and efficient business processes in place to support effective decision making. A CA can help your business reduce costs, mitigate risk and improve efficiency.

You’ll need an accountant …

To help with your business finances

Planning for the future and setting realistic profit and cash flow forecasts is essential to ensure the financial health of your business. Whether you require accounts to assess past performance, to plan future growth strategies or for tax reasons, a CA can provide a full range of account preparation services, including book keeping, management accounts, and audit and assurance.

Having an up to date view of your finances, business performance and budgets enables you to make informed business decisions. The commercial acumen and professional judgement of a CA can help you with cash flow forecasting and management, enabling you to plan how much and when to borrow capital while reducing the time between expenditure and payment of invoices by customers. "42% of SME employers cited cash flow as an obstacle to the success of their business" (Source: 2014 Small Business Survey – Employers Report, Department for Business Innovation & Skills).

To ensure your business is compliant

All limited companies must file a set of annual accounts at Companies House. CAs can provide a secure e-filing service with Companies House and help you maintain your statutory books. Even if your business is audit exempt, engaging a CA to conduct an independent review of your annual reports can add credibility to your accounts with third parties and it gives you the confidence to make investment decisions based on your figures.

To help with tax

Efficient tax planning can have a significant impact on your financial security and requires the in-depth knowledge of an expert. A CA can help ensure your finances are as tax efficient as possible by providing advice on Capital allowances, Capital Gains Tax, Corporation tax, Income tax, Trust and inheritance tax, and Research and development tax credits. “48% of SME employers felt taxation was an obstacle to their business' success” (Source: 2014 Small Business Survey – Employers Report, Department for Business Innovation & Skills).

Limited companies, and some organisations, based in the UK are subject to Corporation Tax on their taxable income and capital gains from profits made in the UK and across the world. Working with a CA on long term corporate tax planning could make a difference to your company's profitability and ensure you avoid unintended or unnecessary tax consequences. If your business is not subject to Corporation Tax you may still need to complete a self-assessment return. A CA can also help you with payroll services and employment taxes.

To help you comply with regulation

VAT planning can have a big impact on the cash flow and profitability of your business but it is often overlooked. CAs who specialise in VAT for business can help you with: VAT compliance – including registration, record keeping advice and returns submissions; VAT liability advice for goods and services; VAT planning to help minimise costs and maximise recovery; preparation for VAT inspections and investigations; and HMRC assessments and tribunal appeals.

If you need an audit

Independent, objective assurance and advice could help improve your business' risk management, internal control and governance activities. Engaging a CA specialising in internal audit will help your business mitigate risk and encourages continual improvement through objective analysis.

When you apply for a business loan or overdraft

An overdraft can help you manage your cash flow and day-to-day spending, whereas loans are helpful for funding specific investments. Before you approach your bank about finance you’ll need to do some preparatory work. A CA can help you prepare your application and pull together the supporting information lenders will look for including a business plan, financial records and projections, repayment plan and any additional security. Using a CA will also give the lender confidence in you and your plans.

Before you buy or sell a business

A CA can help you value a business to ensure you are not paying over market value and assess the risks involved in buying it. Once you have agreed a price and terms with the seller your CA will be able to conduct a financial due diligence review of the business' books and records to ensure there are no hidden surprises before you take ownership.

If you are planning on selling your business, a CA can provide invaluable advice and support throughout the process to ensure you get the best possible.

Even if you are not planning on selling your business, having a true and fair valuation of your company can help you with any investment or management decisions you need to make. Whether you are looking to raise capital through the sale of shares or raise finance, a CA will be able to provide you with a fair value for your business.

If you’re going global

Expanding into overseas markets could open up new opportunities for your business but there are considerations that you need to be aware of which can make the difference between success and failure. A CA can provide expert advice on import and export controls; UK tax implications; local market laws and tax requirements; and Corporate structure.

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Professional tax and financial advice

Need help with your personal tax and finances? A CA can give you expert advice on all tax matters.

See a CA about …

Your personal tax

A CA can provide personal tax services which help with the preparation and filing of tax returns with HMRC, minimising liabilities to make sure you receive the exemptions you are entitled to. In addition they can provide advice on Capital Gains Tax, investing in property and Inheritance Tax planning.

If you are self-employed, a CA can help you complete your self-assessment tax return and review your personal tax situation to ensure you are claiming all of your allowable expenses. Their expert knowledge could help you take advantage of income tax allowances and relief to reduce your income tax liability.

Inheritance tax

Planning ahead to maximise Inheritance Tax relief and exemptions can make a difference to your estate if it is over the Inheritance Tax threshold. A CA can help you with Inheritance Tax planning, providing advice on exemptions, liabilities and reductions through gifts, establishing a trust, charitable donations and Inheritance Tax relief for businesses.

Capital gains tax

With the right advice and careful planning it is often possible to reduce or eliminate your Capital Gains Tax liability. A CA can assess your exposure to Capital Gains Tax liability and help you prepare through early planning, establishing efficient tax structures and providing advice on: relief and exemption options; timing of gains and losses; and sale of a business.

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Find a CA

A CA can do much more than just prepare accounts. Finding the right CA can set you up for success by helping you get the best out of your business. When selecting which CA firm you want to work with, check the range of services they offer by calling or visiting their website and always remember to check for the title 'chartered accountant'.

Ready to find a CA who can help your business?

Find a CA near you

Read our guide to understand the services a CA firm can provide and the benefits to you and your business.

Download a Guide to Choosing a Chartered Accountant
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