If you run a business, you're legally required to:
- Keep certain records, including PAYE (Pay As You Earn) records if you have employees, and VAT records if you're VAT registered. This will involve regular bookkeeping work.
- Submit an annual tax return to HM Revenue & Customs. This will involve the preparation of financial statements.
- Appoint an auditor to carry out an annual audit of your accounts, unless the company is exempt - the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales provides details of audit exemption in Northern Ireland.
- If you're a limited company, you also have to file accounts with the Registrar of Companies - see filing company information using Companies House Webfiling.
You could decide to do some of this work yourself - but many businesses prefer to employ an accountant for at least some of it. For example, you might not have the time or necessary skills available in-house to do all the accounting work yourself.
In addition to basic accounting functions, many accountants also offer other services, such as start-up business and management systems advice. Chartered Accountants Ireland provides a directory of accountants that you can use to source the right accountant for your business.