What does an Accounting Consultant do?
- 27 Jul 2022
- 6 minutes read
Businesses expand and evolve to stay ahead of the competition and become profitable. The accounting department is one of the most important aspects of any business. It is responsible for several crucial functions and is critical to the organisation's overall performance. As a result, accounting consulting has become popular among many organisations and corporations.
Accounting consultants London, UK assist clients, such as businesses and individuals, in analysing financial data to make essential business decisions. Some of their responsibilities are preparing and analysing financial papers, recognising expansion opportunities in the financial business, optimising accounting systems, and estimating future earnings.
In this blog, we will explore what an accountant does, how to become one, how much to charge and much more.
Table of contents
- What is an accounting consultant?
- What do accounting consultants do?
- What's the difference between accounting and consulting?
- How to know if you have a great consultant?
- How much should you charge as an accounting consultant?
- Steps to start an accounting consultancy in the UK
- Final thoughts
What is an accounting consultant?
An accounting consultant can cover a wide range of services that help your clients enhance their financial situation and improve their organisational procedures and processes to optimise their accounting operations. Accounting consultant jobs may include the following tasks:
- Assisting your clients' businesses in maintaining effective and accurate accounting procedures
- Using your knowledge to assist clients in understanding the meaning of their financial data and how it affects their business
- Examining the profitability of your clients
- Executing & Developing Consistent accounting procedures for your clients
What do accounting consultants do?
Accounting consultants assist with a variety of accounting-related duties, which includes:
- Forecasting financial data
- Financial statement analysis
- Calculating company's financial performance
- Examining accounts payable to identify tax saving opportunities
- Figuring out what accounting services you require
What's the difference between accounting and consulting?
Accountancy has traditionally been defined as collecting and reporting recorded facts and information. You can take your expertise further when working as an accounting consultant.
While providing accounting consulting services, you do more than ensure the numbers add up. You give additional analysis or insight beyond the compliance transaction, typically by being hired to solve a specific problem (though some consulting can look like advisory services and be more open-ended and wide-ranging).
As an accountant consultant, you examine figures and trends and give careful, detailed advice on how to help your client's firm succeed in the future. If you can lay the foundations for your client's success, you'll have a solid base to engage with them as a long-term business associate and advisor.
Another key difference between working as a typical accountant and an accounting consultant is how you get compensated. Accountants often bill hourly, whereas consultants typically provide upfront pricing for consulting engagements and hourly charges for compliance and tech services.
How to know if you have a great consultant?
For an accounting consultant to be a helpful partner to his clients, he must offer excellent services. Some of the following are mentioned below:
Financial data management
Financial data must be gathered, stored, and analysed to identify financial data sources, and the consultant must interact closely with the client. Defining and applying best practices for collecting and analysing financial data in the initial stage is critical.
In addition, the consultant must be able to process and store data correctly. This will assist the client in meeting their financial commitments. The client may also require assistance with financial control process development, implementation, and maintenance.
Specialised advice provision
Consultants must give reliable and accurate financial advice. The client's relationship with their full-time in-house accountants will be influenced by the quality of the advice they receive.
Providing specialised advice will encourage clients to continue working with the consultant since they can see the value they provide to their business.
Accounting systems development
Due to the rise of lean business processes, businesses are implementing lean procedures in their accounting department. As a result, modern accounting systems are becoming increasingly essential to meet the organisation's needs. A consultant is frequently employed for this purpose.
A thorough analysis of the client's industry structure and business strategy is required to construct a modern accounting system. The consultant must identify and prepare for any future changes in accounting processes that may arise.
The information acquired can be used to develop an accounting system, which should be tested and updated before being delivered to the client. The system must be constantly monitored to address any difficulties that arise.
Financial compliance enforcement
Financial compliance is critical as it has the potential to harm an organisation's existence. Accounting consulting firms should make it a point to assist and guide their clients in complying with the applicable accounting standards.
For instance, Financial declarations must be submitted regularly, and due diligence must be done when appointing board members.
Annually, consultants should examine each client's financial results, determine tax dues, and file the necessary tax returns. They can also assist the client's accounting department in preparing periodic financial statements.
How much should you charge as an accounting consultant?
There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding how much you should charge as an accounting consultant. There are a few things to remember:
- What will your working location be?
- Will you have to travel every day?
- Do you require an office setting?
- Will you invest in specialised software or other tools?
- How much time will you spend on each engagement?
- Would you want to charge per hour plus out-of-pocket expenses for consulting assignments or have fixed fees?
If you're wondering if an accounting consultant's hourly rate or set charge has a ballpark figure, keep in mind that rates vary by geographic region and the factors mentioned above. So you should charge accordingly by taking into consideration the points mentioned above.
Steps to start an accounting consultancy in the UK
Define your aims and objectives
If you're considering starting your accounting firm, sharing your goals with your partners is critical if you do it as a partnership. Forming an accounting consultancy firm with your partners is pointless if your long-term goals are different. Having identical goals and timescale to assist you in focusing on the task ahead is critical.
However, if you plan to manage your business as a sole owner, you should put out your objectives and where you want to see the company in a few years.
Acquire the right accounting consultancy qualifications
If you're starting from scratch, you don't need a degree to become an accounting consultant; an accountancy degree will provide you with valuable theoretical understanding.
The following professional bodies should be considered for your accounting qualifications:
- The AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) certification is the minimum requirement for a job in accounting.
- The ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is a qualification that allows you to work as an accountant. It implies you'll be able to provide a wide range of accounting services like accounting consultants.
Aside from the two certifications mentioned above, you can also look into the ICAEW, CIMA, and AIA qualifications to help you start your accounting consultancy in the UK.
Choose your area of specialisation
Concentrating in a specific area of accounting can help you stand out from the competition and give value to your company. You might think about what size of accounting you'd like to work in and what clients you'd like to deal with while getting work experience.
You may specialise in a specific accounting field, such as management accounting, corporate accounting, or auditing, or you could concentrate on gaining industry-specific knowledge.
You may be able to modify your training to match the real-world work you're expecting to do to better prepare yourself for the specialised knowledge and experience required.
Engage in professional development
Continuing professional development (commonly known as CPD) is essential for maintaining your accounting certification and keeping your business and finance knowledge up to date throughout your career. Accountancy professional bodies in the United Kingdom frequently impose annual CPD requirements on their members, ranging from 20 to 30 hours of learning per year.
CPD allows you to keep your accountancy certifications up to date while also allowing you to gain new technical abilities regularly. CPD for accountants can take the form of online courses, training seminars, and conferences, among other things.
It's critical to ensure that what you're studying applies to your current position and future professional goals. CPD for accountants isn't simply about updating technical knowledge and keeping up with legislative developments. It also includes practice management and professional skills training, which are critical to running a successful accounting consultancy.
Grow your network
Years ago, an accounting firm could have relied on a stable set of core customers, but today, business owners can switch accountants more efficiently than ever.
It presents both a challenge and an opportunity for new businesses to break into the market; it means you can't always rely on repeat clients, but as a startup, you may gain new customers by being proactive.
Rather than handling a single company's finances, accounting consultants are more likely to work for specialised accounting firms, finance firms, and businesses that serve many clients. Accounting consultants carefully review financial data to provide businesses with financial consulting services because each organisation has unique accounting demands.
They'll get to work as soon as they figure out the company's financial situation and any accounting services currently provided by a third-party accounting firm or in-house. The consultant will then examine the company's financial data, determine current profitability, and forecast the company's future financial state. The consultant may also recommend improvements to the company's current accounting practices to improve accounting and financial efficiency.