4-step checklist for choosing a property accountant
Whether you’re earning an income from a single property or building a portfolio of houses to let, finding the right accountant can be invaluable. An accountant with property expertise can help you navigate everything from the difference between capital expenses and revenue expenses, to capital gains tax and MTD for Income Tax.
But how do you actually go about finding a property accountant - and how can you make sure you’ve picked someone who suits your needs? Our handy four-step checklist will help.
1. Discover their property credentials
If you search online for ‘property accountants’, you might be surprised to find how many accounting practices list this as a service. Many generalist practices will work with some landlord clients but also with a variety of other kinds of business. A non-specialist with a bit less property experience might work well for you, depending on the practice and your needs. But if you have a more complex property setup, you might want a practice solely focused on property accounting.
We don’t need to tell you that property tax can be complicated - and getting it right (or wrong!) can have big financial implications. Before you sign up with an accountant, do your due diligence - ask about their property experience, whether they have dealt with portfolios like yours before and if they have any other relevant credentials.
You might want to meet with a few different practices and get the lay of the land before you settle on one. You could also investigate whether they have any online reviews or ask if they can provide testimonials that can give you even more peace of mind. For more tips on checking a practice’s credentials, check out our guide to finding an accountant here.
2. Suss out how savvy they are
Some accountants may still favour filing cabinets and faxes over software and digital solutions. So it’s worth checking whether a potential new accountant is tech-savvy enough to help guide you through the continuing modernisation and digitisation of the UK tax system, otherwise known as Making Tax Digital.
It’s important that you pick an accountant who can help you understand and adapt to these continuing technological advances. If you’re looking for an accountant who uses award-winning, MTD-compliant software like FreeAgent, check out our directory of FreeAgent-friendly accountants now.
3. Check that the price is right
Before you sign on the dotted line with a new accountant, make sure to get a full breakdown of all the costs and fees you’re likely to encounter. Make sure these costs align with where you are in your journey as a landlord, and don’t bite off more than you can chew. However much you end up paying your property accountant, remember that their expert advice could end up saving you money in the long run - and they’re an expert in their field for a reason.
4. Make sure you get along
Last but by no means least, it’s crucial that you and your new property accountant get along well. When it comes to something as complex as property tax, you need to be working with someone that’s speaking the same language as you. You want to make sure they will cut through the jargon and help you understand what’s happening with your property tax and you need to know that you have someone you really trust on your team.
FreeAgent for Landlords
Once you’ve chosen an accountant, you might find that they already have a favoured accounting software that they recommend to you. If your accountant is a FreeAgent Partner, they’ll have access to FreeAgent for Landlords, a new version of our award-winning software specifically designed for clients who earn income from property.
Available to individual users soon, FreeAgent for Landlords will help you manage your property finances and submit Self Assessment to HMRC from January 2024.
You can find out more about FreeAgent for Landlords and sign up to register your interest to be the first to know when it’s ready.
Disclaimer: The content included in this blog post is based on our understanding of tax law at the time of publication. It may be subject to change and may not be applicable to your circumstances, so should not be relied upon. You are responsible for complying with tax law and should seek independent advice if you require further information about the content included in this blog post. If you don't have an accountant, take a look at our directory to find a FreeAgent Practice Partner based in your local area.