When I first went freelance about 3 years ago I had decided that I wouldn’t need an accountant. I bought a book about accounting and tax and started to read them to work out the best way to keep my books.

My boyfriend suggested I go and talk to his friend who was an accountant, and reluctantly I agreed, thinking that if I was to go this route it would cost me a lot of money. How could I justify spending £500 a year on accountancy?

Now when I look back I think how crazy I was to even contemplate sorting out everything myself. My accountant set me up with a spread sheet for my accounts. Admittedly not the easiest spreadsheet in the world (mainly down to the fact that I hate excel and keeping books and only use it every three month when I have to and by that time I have forgotton how to use it) but it contains everything he needs to sort my accounts at the end of the year and submit my tax return. Yes it costs £500 a year, but how much is your time worth? You can probably make more money in the time it would take you to prepare and submit yout tax return by doing what you know best – graphic design.

In fact I can truly say it has saved me money. I was not intending becoming VAT registered in my first year – but my acountant advised me to as I would be buying computer equipment and could then claim the VAT back. He sorted what other things I could claim for too, part of my telephone bill a small amount for the room I used at home, petrol, car usage etc etc. Althogether in the first year the amount he saved me at least covered his bill – and I knew things were being done right.

Since then he has given me further advice – switching to a flat rate VAT scheme which probably saved me at least double what I pay him.

My advice would be – do what you do best – design. Find a good accountant and let them do what they do best.