Amateur accountants feeling the pressure of doing their own accounts

Amateur accountants feeling the pressure of doing their own accounts

A recent survey has found that 72% of self-employed contractors do their own accounts without any assistance from a professional

As accountants, we all know how much work goes into completing each set of accounts for our clients. So we at SJD Accountancy were surprised when a recent survey we conducted showed that 72% of self-employed contractors do their own accounts without any assistance from a professional.

With the self-employed being the fastest growing section of the UK workforce, and accounts being a key consideration when starting up on your own, the survey aimed to discover how the self-employed find doing their accounts; what they enjoy, what they don’t and how they would prefer to spend their time.

The results from the 359 self-employed contractors discovered that almost three quarters (72%) did their own accounts, with only the remaining 28% getting some level of assistance:

  • 18% employ a general accountancy firm
  • 7% employ a specialist accountant
  • 2% get help from family and friends
  • 1% get help from another person

It is no surprise then, with so many amateurs taking on their own accounts each month that seven in 10 of those surveyed said they find doing their accounts stressful.

When contractors were asked what the most stressful thing about doing their accounts is, over a third (35%) flagged worry about making mistakes, 15% how long it takes, 13% the complexity of the process and one in 20 (5%) were worried about being hit with financial penalties.

The amateur accountants’ concerns appear well founded too: 17% said they had lost receipts, 11% had paid too much tax, 8% had made a late or incorrect payment to HMRC and 7% had missed a deadline to pay their taxes, which as we all know means being hit with a penalty of at least £100.

On top of this, more than a third of contractors said that doing their accounts is causing them personal problems:

  • One in 10 (11%) have lost sleep due to doing their accounts
  • 6% said their accounts have led to arguments with family and friends
  • 5% said they have had to turn down paid work due to accounting commitments
  • 3% even said it has even made them ill

The reasons behind these contractors choosing to do their own accounts is unclear, however with 35% describing doing their own accounts a “necessary evil”, it’s safe to assume they would be better off finding an alternative to help put an end to their accounting woes.

One of the many positives that working for yourself can bring is the ability to be more flexible with your time. Contractors have the opportunity to choose when – and where – they work, meaning that their careers can fit seamlessly alongside other aspects of their lives. Having a specialist accountant can also free up time for contractors to focus on the things that matter to them like growing their business or spending time with family.

SJD Accountancy provides accountancy services to more than 15,000 contractors and freelancers and can cover all company needs and personal tax affairs including company insurance needs for a single fixed fee, with unlimited face-to-face meetings and 24/7 online account access at no extra cost.

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