Property businesses are crying out for reliable accountants. Not only are they able to advise you on whether or not your profit and loss account can ‘take’ your investment of another buy to let – essentially that same accountant will be able to advise you about where tax comes in to play (and what you can do to mitigate your costs).
Then, there are the relatively recent changes in landlord refurbishment expenses, not to mention the cuts to landlord mortgage interest tax relief. An accountant who specialises in property will know about the changes without having to check.
He or she may able to advise on the best type of software for a landlord to use since he or she will already have learned this from other property investor clients (and perhaps even has a compatible system to life even easier).
How to find an accountant in property
There are several means of tracking down a good accountant. But by far, the best way is to get a recommendation from a fellow property investor. Ask someone at your next monthly meet-up, for instance, if you are part of a local property investment meet-up group.
If you’re not part of a local group and don’t have many names of property investors in your current contacts book, then go online and ask a respected property forum. Alternatively, contact the National Landlords Association, the Residential Landlords Association or the Guild of Residential Landlords to ask if they have a list of recommended accountants who specialise in property.
Qualifications you’ll want your accountant to have
There are several credible qualifications an accountant may have. A chartered accountant will have an ACA. An ACCA certificate is another, and so too is a CIMA. An accountant with any of these qualifications should be more than capable to help you with property matters. Ideally though, you will want them to have worked in the property sector for a minimum of around three years.
How much should you expect to pay for an accountant in property?
The more experienced and highly-regarded the accountant, the more you will have to pay for their services. What an accountant charges depends on where they live, how complex the work is, and whether or not they regard letters and phone calls as an ‘add on’ (it’s better to get one who doesn’t). Most accountants will provide a free quote over the phone or via email.
For those who live or work outside London, rates will vary from £80 up to £160 an hour.
Ideally, you’ll want a set fee to allow you to budget accordingly. Mainly, it doesn’t pay to avoid accountant’s fees. For a start, you can often reclaim the fees by listing the cash you have paid out to your accountant as an expense! Secondly, he or she will help you master the minefield of property tax, as well as all the legislative changes of recent years (which is definitely no mean feat).