Is it mandatory to hire an accountant when you’re self-employed?
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To cut a long story short: no. As a self-employed person, there’s no obligation to work with an accountant. However, maintaining accurate accounts is a legal requirement. As long as you can present correct figures and the necessary supporting documents for your self-employed activity at any time, you’re basically fine. Some entrepreneurs like to do that with an accountant by their side, while others do it entirely on their own (with or without the help of software). The choice is entirely up to you.
Accounting: more than a legal obligation
Hopefully, you’re not only keeping track of your accounts because the law says you have to. Clear bookkeeping gives you vital insights into your financial situation. How else can you know whether you’re generating enough turnover to cover costs? Or how much to keep aside for VAT and taxes? Or whether that new piece of equipment (which practically cost you an arm and a leg) really is helping your business grow?
Single-entry or double-entry bookkeeping?
As a self-employed person, should you keep single-entry or double-entry accounts? Depending on the answer to this question, it may be worth hiring an accountant even if you’re not obliged to.
👉 Single-entry, or simplified accounts
Sole traders or natural persons, general partnerships (SNC/VOF), limited partnerships and unincorporated organisations (ASBL/VZW) are allowed to keep simple accounts. This is provided that the annual turnover remains below €500,000. This doesn’t apply to companies in the financial or insurance sector – these companies keep double-entry accounts irrespective of their turnover.
Simplified accounting is easy to do yourself. Basically, it comes down to keeping all records correctly: your sales invoices and expenses, any stock you have, your financial transactions, and possibly your day-to-day receipts.
You can keep your simple bookkeeping in an Excel sheet, for example, but if you have little bookkeeping knowledge yourself, it’s better to use the services of an accountant or a digital bookkeeping platform. That way, everything is taken care of for you, and you avoid mistakes.
💡 Accountable tip: we happen to know a good app that can support you with your accounting, tax and VAT returns 😉 Click here to try it for free.
👉 Double-entry bookkeeping
For other company forms (SRL/BV, SC/CV, SA/NV, SE, SCE), double-entry bookkeeping is mandatory.
Double-entry bookkeeping gives you an even deeper insight into your finances and is a useful tool for helping you reach your business goals. However, this kind of bookkeeping is slightly more complex. As the name suggests, every transaction is recorded in two accounts. You also have to maintain a balance sheet and file the annual accounts with the National Bank of Belgium, which adds a public element.
Even if you do double-entry bookkeeping, you’re not required to work with an accountant. That said, the larger the company, the greater the need for an accountant’s expertise.
More than just bookkeeping
Having an accountant is by no means compulsory, although it’s highly recommended in some cases. In addition to maintaining accurate records, an accountant can help you file your (annual) client list and your (quarterly) monthly VAT returns, and you can turn to them for tax advice and other questions.
A safe and secure feeling
Many self-employed people are happy to hand over all their financial admin to their accountant. Then, if a mistake is made in their accounts or tax return, for example, it’s their accountant that is responsible – provided you have forwarded everything correctly and on time, that is! Working with an accountant, therefore, makes most self-employed people feel safe and secure.
Because the cost of an accountant can sometimes be high, more and more people are opting for digital accounting solutions. For example, did you know that Accountable also guarantees the accuracy of your returns? If you input everything in the app correctly and on time, Accountable accepts responsibility for any fines from the tax authorities. Because if your input is complete, then your return is completely correct. Guaranteed.
For those who like the reassurance of working with an accountant, but also want to take a hands-on approach, it’s possible to opt for a ‘hybrid’ solution where both and your accountant work in the same accounting software. Accountable lets you invite your accountant into the app for free. This way, you both save precious time and effort – which you’d probably rather put into your business itself. 😉
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