There are tons of different ways to make bookkeeping for a small business easier. Accountants are a great resource, but hiring a traditional accountant isn’t suitable for every business.

This article will explain what online accountants are and how you can find online accountants to help you balance the books. We’ll look at a variety of topics, including:

  • Online accountant vs traditional accountants
  • How to find online accountants for your small business
  • Advantages of online accountants
  • How Countingup can make working with accountants easier

Online accountants vs traditional accountants

By hiring an accountant, you’re using an outside party to help you with the financial management involved in running your business. Accountants can help with general bookkeeping, though this can become very expensive. More often, people hire accountants to complete specific tasks, like filing company accounts for a limited company or helping business owners fill out their Self-Assessment tax return form.

All accountants can help with this sort of thing, whether they’re an online accountant or a traditional one. The difference between the two kinds of accountants is the methods they use to complete the tasks clients give them.

A traditional accountant will usually ask to meet with you and speak face-to-face about the financial status of your business. You’ll need to exchange your company’s financial information, which either means handing over physical documents or emailing over digital versions.

An online accountant will conduct the entire relationship between themselves and your business over the internet. There is rarely an option to meet face-to-face, but you may have the opportunity to speak with an online accountant on the phone or in a videoconference. 

You’ll still need to provide your financial information, but you’ll send all the files digitally. Online accountants will often have a software tool that makes uploading and transferring data easier. 

How to find online accountants for your small business

There are hundreds of ways of finding a traditional accountant, and finding an online accountant is no different. Search engine tools are always helpful, as you can simply type ‘good online accountants’ into Google.

If you need something more specific, consider asking your contacts in the same industry as you. They may know of an online accountant that provides services specifically to businesses in your sector. 

If you’re not in need of a specialist, speaking with friends and contacts is still a good idea. It’s wise to always let your friends know about any new business you start, because they might know a helpful contact or skilled online accountant that you can hire.

Freelance accountants can be much cheaper than hiring an accounting firm, and many will offer online accounting services. Try using freelancing sites to find them, but remember to check their qualifications carefully to ensure they’re appropriate for the job. 

PARO is a freelancing site that specialises in matching businesses with freelance accountants, so you may want to try them before using a generic freelancing site. Using PARO can be expensive, but they thoroughly vet their freelancers, so you can be safe that any accountants you find there will be experts. 

It may be that you need a very experienced accountant to help with your problems. These are known as chartered accountants and you can find them by searching these registers:

Not every chartered accountant is an online accountant, but most of the registers we’ve listed allow you to search for the keyword ‘online’ to specifically find online accountants. 

Once you find an accountant, remember to research them before you actually hire them. It’s important to know the skills, experience, and qualifications of your accountant to make sure they match your business. An inexperienced accountant might not do the best job, but even an experienced one might not be appropriate if they specialise in accounting for a different industry from yours. 

Advantages of online accountants 

More flexibility 

If you’re self-employed, it’s a good idea to continuously work on improving your time management. Online accounting greatly helps with this, as you can use the services of an online accountant from anywhere, as long as you have an internet connection and an internet-capable device. 

If you don’t have a set office space for your business or need to travel often, online accounting might be perfect for your needs. You won’t have to worry about being in a particular area so you can attend a meeting, as any contact is done online or over the phone. 

Allows you to use non-local accountants

One of the biggest advantages of working with an online accountant is that you don’t need to limit your search to your local area when you’re looking for a suitable accountant. This is because you don’t usually have to physically visit an online accountant; you’ll conduct all your business through emails or phone and video calls.

Since you don’t need to limit yourself to local accountants, you can potentially find an online accountant that’s much more appropriate for your business. This might be because they’re specialised in working for companies within your industry, or they have more experience than any of your local accountants. 

How Countingup makes working with accountants easier

Thousands of self-employed people across the UK use the Countingup app to simplify their accounting tasks and save time. 

Countingup is the business current account with built-in accounting software that allows you to manage all your financial data in one place. It makes tracking your business expenses and transactions simple, and allows you to easily share your real-time bookkeeping data with your accountant.

When you hire an accountant, sending them all your relevant financial data can be a hassle. You might find your accountant chasing you up for documents you’ve forgotten to send.

With the Countingup app, you can invite your accountant to gain direct access to your financial data – removing the chance of duplication errors, data lags or inaccuracies.

The two in one app also gives you the ability to invoice on the go, record receipts, and view cash flow insights as well as tax estimates. With Countingup, you can confidently keep on top of your business finances wherever you are. 

Find out more here.