Choosing a solicitor and accountant for a Barber Shop
It may seem costly to call on business solicitors and accountants when starting a business, but, in fact, these key appointments can save time and money and give the barber shop every chance to thrive. It is better to start looking for suitable professionals well before the business needs them, so if at all possible, do not leave such crucial decisions to the last minute.
It is far easier to sort out any legal issues at the outset instead of later, when they can be more problematic and costly to solve, so approach legal issues in the right way from the start. There are a number of common legal errors made by businesses. For instance, unless proper advice is taken when signing a lease for business premises, it is easy to become vulnerable to hidden charges or unexpected rent increases. Critical errors can be made when setting up the legal structure of the business too, or when going into a partnership without allowing for the consequences if the relationship breaks down.
The Law Society, the professional body for solicitors, can put businesses in touch with solicitors in their area or with a particular specialisation and can arrange a free initial consultation. Also ask other businesses of a similar size if they can recommend a particular solicitor or firm.
Agree a Spending Limit
Try to find business solicitors who understand the nature of the barbers business and can offer explanations in clear, plain language rather than legal jargon. Solicitors usually charge on an hourly rate, but it is possible to agree a fixed spending limit to avoid going over budget. It is a good idea to ask for quotes from a number of solicitors.
It is a legal requirement for the barber shop to keep certain records, such as PAYE records if the business has employees and VAT records if the business is VAT registered. This will involve regular bookkeeping work. In addition, an annual tax return has to be submitted to HM Revenue & Customs and this will involve the preparation of financial statements.
If the barber shop is a limited company, it will also be necessary to file accounts with the Registrar of Companies. Of course, some of this work can be done in-house, but many businesses prefer to turn to an accountant for at least some of it. Weigh up the time it will take, the cost and the know-how required and consider what would be more efficiently and effectively outsourced to an accountant and what must, by law, be done by a qualified person.
Ask for Recommendations
When searching for a suitable accountant, there are several professional associations that can provide assistance. Qualified accountants will typically have the words “chartered” or “certified” attached to their title and usually belong to one of accountancy’s professional associations. Ask for recommendations from friends, family, a business consultant, the bank or a lawyer.
Select an accountant who is right for the barber shop. Sometimes smaller practices suit smaller businesses, so find out if the accountant has experience of dealing with businesses of a similar size and at a similar stage of growth to the barbers. Ask who will handle the account on a day-to-day basis, as it may be partner or someone more junior, and what response times they work to. Of course, it is vital to discuss charges, what they cover, how they are scaled and whether all-in fees are an option.
A good accountant should be happy to pass on the names of clients for references to be taken up and may be able to offer advice on how to develop the business. Ask whether the service received will be proactive, in other words whether the accountant will give reminders when accounts have to be submitted or updates when the tax law changes.