Small Business Advice

Are accountants in London worth it?

24 Apr 2015

Businesses across the UK often keep their search for an accountant local, mostly for convenience but also because they can be cheaper than city accountants. But nowadays, when everything can be done remotely, and with more standard pricing, might hiring an accountant in London be better for your business?

Now it would be churlish to claim all accountants outside of London are out of touch. Smart, savvy accountants outside of the capital do their research, offer high-quality services, and often have to spread their attention between fewer clients. But things are just that bit easier for accountants in London.

Competitive pressures

London is head-to-head with New York for the title of ‘financial centre of the world’. London accountants have greater access to international business, tend to work with a higher volume and greater diversity of clients, and sometimes have links with those making tax and accounting legislation. They are exposed to the fierce competition within clients’ industries, between accounting firms, and for their own jobs. Their commercial insight is honed by their very environment. Very quickly, they can amass a high level of experience and insight.

Price points

All entrepreneurs know pricing is a marketing tool. Undercutting your competitors can tempt away their customers, and pricing high can look like a stamp of quality. But entrepreneurs also know pricing is not fully within their control.

London is bursting with accountants, and it’s a fundamental law of economics that competition, or high supply, drives prices down, yet in London increased costs push prices up. There is a point below which profits aren’t possible, and loss-making prices can’t be sustained for long. As a rule, accountants in London have relatively low margins.

Digital age

Accountants in London come at a range of different prices, and you still need to do your research to make sure you’re getting a good small business accountant, not one with unrealistically low prices, or one overcharging because they have prestige. But we would suggest that if they’re slightly pricier than your local accountant, they might still be worth considering. The digital age means proximity is less important, while it also means your business might have to compete on a global scale.

Keir Wright-Whyte

photo

Managing Director

0207 043 4000

About the author

Originally graduating with a degree in geography from Edinburgh University, Keir claims that he was then tricked into becoming an accountant by one of the UK's top 5 accountancy practices.The deception extended to the usual training in audit and associated activities.

Keir subsequently worked in a number of advisory roles with clients including in the energy trading, pharmaceuticals and financial services sectors.

He loves working at Accounts & Legal because of the variety of work and clients, the excellent team ethos and morale, the importance placed on genuinely helping and being useful for clients and because he believes what he does matters to clients and helps the firm.

Keir's primary role is to ensure that new clients with complex businesses or needs are on-boarded in the best way and he is a "trouble shooter" both for clients and where complex issues arise internally. He also helps the accounting teams strive to improve what we do for clients, whether processes or services.

When not debiting or crediting, Keir has a penchant for fixing old buildings, skiing, surfing and cycling.

  

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