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What is the difference between Accountants and Financial Advisers, and do I need both?

By Mary Green

We get asked this question a lot, particularly by small business owners, so if you are not sure on the differences between the two, you’re not alone!

An Accountant is invaluable for the everyday and ongoing regulatory requirements. For example, an Accountant can help you with:

  • filling in a self-assessment tax return
  • preparing year end accounts for your limited company
  • completing a tax reclaim or resolving any ongoing issues calculation issues with HMRC
  • making sure you do not fall foul of any deadlines which would result in a fine
  • helping you to optimise the efficiency of your business structure, for example what you can deduct as costs for working from home, travelling etc.

They can also advise you on business forms, registering for VAT, how to provide information to HMRC and how to record your transactions in and out of the business.

Some can also run payroll, and many will provide consultancy services to help you set up your sales and purchases ledgers and invoicing processes.

These are all services that a Financial Adviser could not help you with. However, if what you need is to look at the wider picture of your life and future, and how your financial planning can help to meet those goals, then a Financial Adviser will be essential. The areas we cover with our clients are:

  • We can advise you on suitable investments, pensions, and insurance to protect your income and your business.
  • We are experts in pensions and can advise you on which type is most suitable for your circumstances and can also help you consolidate old workplace pensions.
  • For business owners, setting up pensions for you and your employees, mitigating future corporation tax via appropriate contributions.
  • Cash flow planning and exploring ‘What if’ scenarios to find to provide a holistic overview of your whole financial circumstances and which options are most likely to meet your goals and aspirations.
  • Putting in place investment strategies that match your attitude, tolerance and capacity for risk whilst considering the length of time until you require the money and monitoring the ongoing performance.
  • Planning for future generations of your family with inheritance tax and legacy planning for your family
  • Annual financial planning meeting and ongoing ad-hoc meetings to help you make the important financial planning decisions.
  • An accountability partner
  • Someone who cares as much about your financial future as you do.

The ideal situation as a business owner is to have both an accountant and a financial adviser who are happy to work together to help you achieve the best outcomes for you, your family and your business. We often find that it is in our Client’s best interests to co-ordinate directly with Accountants to make sure we are all on the same page, and achieving the best overall outcomes for each client.

Inheritance Tax Advice and Cash and Flow Planning Advice  are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority


The value of units can fall as well as rise, and you may not get back all of your original investment.

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