This is a quick checklist of a few things that you, as a new business, should expect to ask your accountant (or potential accountant).
1. What will you do to help my business?
2. What guarantees do you offer?
3. Do you offer fixed prices?
4. How long will it take you to prepare a set of accounts?
5. Can I expect to have a tax planning meeting before my year end?
6. Will you recommend my business to others?
7. Can you show me some testimonials / case studies from existing customers?
8. How often can I expect to see / hear from you?
9. Can you refer other people who can help my business?
10. Can I expect to receive proactive advice?
Answers / explanations - what you should hear when you ask these questions.
1. They should list a number of things, possibly even answering some of the other questions. A good response would include, introducing you to other professionals, potential customers and networking groups; referring your business to other customers of theirs; proactive advice and support - recognising that you might not know the right question to ask, so they shouldn't wait until you ask to offer advice where relevant.
2. Again expect several, around services standards, turnaround time for work etc.
4. 30 days (60 max)
5. Yes, as standard (and included in fee)
6. Yes, its our policy to do so.
7. Yes, they should have a selection. (The fact that they ask for them will also tell you something about the type of firm they are ie forward thinking, proactive)
8. This should be more than once a year! You should at least expect newsletters, occasional invitations or recommendations even if you don't have any work done during the year.
9. Yes, they should have a network of reliable professionals who can help you.
Julia McDaid is a business coach and author, specialising in helping business start ups. For more information on these issues or on coaching for new business owners, see www.startupright.co.uk">http://www.startupright.co.uk or enrol on Julia's unique Start Up 101 ecourse, where you can go into each question in a lot more depth.
Julia also publishes a free ezine 'Secrets of the Successful Entrepreneur' - to sign up just send an email to email@example.com
Our correspondent Rebecca Ratcliffe has spoken to British citizen Nick, who is a teacher in Wuhan and who is among up to 200 people waiting to be evacuated.
He called the Foreign and Commonwealth Office crisis line earlier this morning and was asked if he would be prepared to leave his wife behind, because she is Indonesian and doesn‚Äôt currently have a UK visa. They have two children, aged nine and 12, also in Wuhan.
AFP reports that the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in China reached 5,974 on Wednesday, overtaking the number of people infected in the mainland by the Sars epidemic in 2002-3.
There were 5,327 confirmed cases in mainland China during the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome epidemic.
Trump‚Äôs defense team and his Republican allies have argued against the inclusion of witnesses at impeachment trial
Republicans do not yet have the needed votes to block witnesses from appearing at the Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump, the majority leader, Mitch McConnell, told his caucus in a meeting on Tuesday night, according to multiplereports.
With an unknown number of Republican senators still undecided on the question of calling witnesses, McConnell could still get the votes he needs to block witnesses and stop the trial from reeling off into unpredictable ‚Äď and potentially hazardous ‚Äď territory for the president. At least four Republicans would need to join Democrats to force witness testimony.
Donald Trump has unveiled his vision for Middle East peace in a White House launch that gifted Israel a wishlist of its long-held demands while promising Palestinians a potential ‚Äústate‚ÄĚ, but with severe restrictions.
Standing next to the smiling Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump announced details of the 181-page plan to cheers and applause. Palestinian leaders were absent from the launch, having pre-emptively rejected his proposal, citing flagrant bias.
Bibi, freed last year and now in Canada, will release her autobiography on Wednesday
Asia Bibi, the Christian woman who spent eight years on death row in Pakistan for blasphemy, has released two photographs taken in exile, as she prepares for the launch of her autobiography on Wednesday.
The former farm labourer, whose case became one of the most high-profile human rights campaigns in the world, was freed last year and flew to Canada, where she was reunited with her family. They are all believed to be living under assumed identities, at a secret location, as they still receive death threats from extremists.
Paper says it regrets speaking publicly about suspension
Following an internal revolt from hundreds of journalists, the Washington Post said on Tuesday afternoon that a reporter it suspended had not violated the company social media policy by tweeting an article about Kobe Bryant‚Äôs historical rape accusation hours after his death.
The Washington Post‚Äôs managing editor, Tracy Grant, also said the newspaper regretted speaking publicly about suspending Felicia Sonmez, a national politics reporter, for the tweets, which Post management had initially said ‚Äúundermined the work of her colleagues‚ÄĚ.
Warplanes dropped 7,423 bombs and other munitions, the most since Pentagon began keeping track in 2006
The US dropped more bombs on Afghanistan in 2019 than any other year since the Pentagon began keeping a tally in 2006, reflecting an apparent effort to force concessions from the Taliban at the negotiating table.
According to new figures released by US central command, US warplanes dropped 7,423 bombs and other munitions on Afghanistan, a nearly eightfold increase from 2015.
Trump and other officials initially said 8 January attack on Iraq airbase had not killed or injured any US service members
The Pentagon said on Tuesday 50 US service members were now diagnosed with traumatic brain injury after missile strikes by Iran on a base in Iraq earlier this month, 16 more than the military had previously announced.
Donald Trump and other top officials initially said Iran‚Äôs 8 January attack had not killed or injured any US service members.
Officials say that between 10 and 30 people were killed in the northern Soum province
Dozens of people are feared dead following an attack by Islamic militants on a village in Burkina Faso, the latest bloody incident in an unprecedented surge of violence across the restive Sahel region.
Details of the attack, which occurred on Saturday and targeted the village of Silgadji in the northern Soum province, were still unclear on Tuesday but a security official said casualties in the assault totalled between ‚Äú10 and 30 dead‚ÄĚ.
MPs call for inquiry into case of Errol Graham, 57, who weighed 28.5kg when he was found dead
MPs and campaigners have called for an independent inquiry after it emerged a disabled man with a long history of mental illness starved to death just months after welfare officials stopped his out-of-work and housing benefits.
Errol Graham, a 57-year-old grandfather, and in his younger days a keen amateur footballer, weighed just four and a half stone (28.5kg) when his emaciated body was discovered by bailiffs who had broken down his front door to evict him for non-payment of rent.
The Senakw development aims to ease the city‚Äôs chronic housing crisis ‚Äď and to challenge the mindset that indigeneity and urbanity are incompatible
The scrubby, vacant patch beneath the Burrard Street Bridge in Vancouver looks at first glance like a typical example of the type of derelict nook common to all cities: 11.7 acres of former railway lands, over which tens of thousands of people drive every day.
This is not any old swath of underused space, however. It‚Äôs one of Canada‚Äôs smallest First Nations reserves, where dozens of Squamish families once lived. The village was destroyed by provincial authorities more than a century ago.
Amazon have arrived in force in rapidly expanding Hyderabad, with designs on the currently almost non-existent Indian e-commence market
The futuristic lobby of the new Amazon building in Hyderabad feels as though it should have a permanent orchestra blasting out Also Sprach Zarathustra. The scale is intended to awe. A large slogan on a wall suggests the company is ‚ÄúDelivering smiles‚ÄĚ. The only sound that rises above the hush is a synthesised beep, coming from a giant screen playing a video of the campus at various stages of its construction.
Built on nine acres in this Indian city‚Äôs financial district, it is Amazon‚Äôs single largest building globally and the only Amazon-owned campus outside the US. It can house over 15,000 employees, but its size is its main architectural feature: it resembles the same cube of glass steel and chrome seen in corporate offices across Hyderabad, though a flash of magenta reflected in one of the top floor windows, from a billowing sari across the road, is a nice Indian touch.
Minibuses that run on Friday evenings and Saturdays buck state‚Äôs religious restrictions
Tel Aviv is one of Israel‚Äôs most dynamic cities, but the latest local craze could appear fairly humdrum to outsiders ‚Äď a bus service that runs at weekends.
Packed 19-seat minibuses fill up fast with passengers, who excitedly gossip about the new routes. People patiently queue at bus stops, knowing they might have to wait for two or three buses to pass before there is a space. Still, they are upbeat. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs a pleasure,‚ÄĚ said Ben Uzan, a 30-year-old electronic engineer. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs a blessed initiative.‚ÄĚ
The Garbage Cafe in Ambikapur, India, is helping to tackle the country‚Äôs plastic waste problem ‚Äď and their novel idea is catching on
On bad days, when his employer made some excuse for not paying him his paltry daily wage, Ram Yadav‚Äôs main meal used to be dry chapatis, with salt and raw onion for flavour. Sometimes he just went hungry. For a ragpicker like him, one of the thousands of Indians who make a living bringing in plastic waste for recycling, eating in a cafe or restaurant was the stuff of fairytales.
But last week, Yadav was sitting at a table at the Garbage Cafe in Ambikapur, in the state of Chhattisgarh, over a piping hot meal of dal, aloo gobi, poppadoms and rice. He earned the food in exchange for bringing in 1kg of plastic waste. ‚ÄúThe hot meal I get here lasts me all day. And it feels good to sit at a table like everyone else,‚ÄĚ he said.
The plethora of dating apps has bolstered society‚Äôs obsession with sex, but many people find that a period of abstinence makes them happier and healthier
In a world where you can get a sexual partner faster than a pizza delivery, it has never been easier to play the field. Yet, despite all that swiping right, a surprising number of people are not having sex at all ‚Äď not for religious reasons, or because they can‚Äôt get a date, but because they find that celibacy makes them happier.
Some have never had much interest in sex, while others are taking a break to address personal problems, recover from bad dating experiences or change the way they approach relationships.
European assembly says WikiLeaks founder‚Äôs detention ‚Äėsets dangerous precedent‚Äô
Julian Assange‚Äôs detention ‚Äúsets a dangerous precedent for journalists‚ÄĚ, according to politicians from the Council of Europe‚Äôs parliamentary arm, who voted on Tuesday to oppose the WikiLeaks founder‚Äôs extradition to the US.
The words of support for Assange and implicit criticism of the UK government will be contained in a final report produced by the Labour peer Lord Foulkes for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, which focuses on upholding human rights across the continent.
Huge fires to the south smother city with smoke amid weather forecast for heatwave and searing temperatures as Scott Morrison prepares to address National Press Club today. Follow live news and latest updates
Morrison points to the use of Australian Defence Force reservists as evidence the government has responded to the crisis, but says before the next bushfire season he will look at legislative changes including giving the commonwealth the power to declare a national state of emergency.
He also flags changes to the ‚Äúlegal interface‚ÄĚ between the commonwealth and states and territories on responsibilities when it comes to preparation for and response to natural disasters and emergencies on a national scale.
He says that before the events of this summer the role of the Commonwealth in responding to natural disasters ‚Äúhas been limited to responding to requests for assistance for state governments‚ÄĚ.
‚ÄúThe scale of the bushfires this season, not least their simultaneous reach across many borders, has demonstrated to me the limits of these arrangements,‚ÄĚ he says.
Climate emergency is fuelling drought, food poverty and disaster in the global south but humanitarian crises under-reported
The African continent is a ‚Äúblind spot‚ÄĚ for coverage of the humanitarian crises that are being fuelled by the climate emergency, according to a new analysis [pdf].
Madagascar‚Äôs chronic food crisis, where 2.6 million people were affected by drought in 2019, came top of the list of 10 of the most under-reported crises last year, Care International‚Äôs annual survey found.
In one of the poorest countries in the world, Burkina Faso, a very special school gives new hope to orphaned or disadvantaged girls
In Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso in west Africa, a school and training programme is combating entrenched attitudes and gender stereotypes that confine women to low-paid unskilled labour, or worse. At the CFIAM, girls and young women, often from disadvantaged backgrounds, can train to be car mechanics, a trade that offers them the skills necessary to enable them to pursue independent lives and achieve a measure of socio-economic progress. Such is the success of CFIAM and its students that it has been the subject of an award-winning documentary Ouaga Girls
Forced from their homes by floods and fighting, 800,000 people have crammed into informal settlements in the Somali capital. Now efforts are afoot to bolster local resources
The number of Somalis being pushed out of the countryside and into the capital Mogadishu has reached an unprecedented high, putting pressure on the city‚Äôs already poor infrastructure and threatening its faltering recovery from three decades of conflict.
More than 800,000 internally displaced people dwell in informal settlements across Mogadishu, according to the office of the mayor. They are crammed into makeshift shelters with little or no sanitation and limited access to the most basic services. There are ‚Äúcritical‚ÄĚ levels of malnutrition, according to an assessment by Somalia‚Äôs food security and nutrition analysis unit.
Winston Peters has been a kingmaker for years but faces a National backlash after helping Labour into office
Winston Peters is a colossus of New Zealand politics, and his New Zealand First party is, once again, poised to be the lynchpin in this year‚Äôs election campaign. But so much hinges on whether his party makes it over the electoral system‚Äôs all-important 5% threshold.
Being the only centre party in parliament has made NZ First incredibly powerful. It can, and does, pivot between the left and right blocs of Labour-Greens and National-Act. Since 1996 when New Zealand adopted the mixed-member proportional electoral system, NZ First has decided the government three times ‚Äď throwing its lot in with National once and Labour twice.
For much of the last 70 years the cause of Palestine stirred the Arab street. From Yemen to Morocco and all points in between, laments were sung in song and enshrined in poetry as the decades mounted without a Palestinian state. Regional statesmen built careers by standing by a people without a land. Wars were fought and lost in their name.
After the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, that slowly began to change and by the time Iran became the preoccupation of the US and its allies in the region, the Palestinians were cast into the unfamiliar role of playing second fiddle. Then came Donald Trump, and ever since the once-overarching cause of the region has barely been given a seat in the orchestra pit.
It is a novel coronavirus ‚Äď that is to say, a member of the coronavirus family that has never been encountered before. Like other coronaviruses, it has come from animals. Many of those infected either worked or frequently shopped in the Huanan seafood wholesale market in the centre of the Chinese city, which also sold live and newly slaughtered animals. New and troubling viruses usually originate in animal hosts. Ebola and flu are examples.
Left‚Äôs win in Emilia-Romagna averts threat of snap elections but could prove a brief reprieve
Matteo Salvini‚Äôs failure to overturn decades of leftwing rule in the northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna will bring some respite to the embattled national government, staving off the risk of snap elections.
The leader of the far-right League campaigned vigorously across the region in his attempt to use elections on Sunday as a platform for his return to power. But a high turnout ensured the Democratic party (PD), which rules nationally alongside the Five Star Movement (M5S), maintained control.
Donald Trump's defence team has urged senators to acquit the president as they wrapped up their arguments in his impeachment trial. Dismissing objections to Trump‚Äôs conduct towards Ukraine as 'policy disagreements', Trump's lawyers also sought to marginalise former national security adviser John Bolton's explosive allegations about Trump's conduct as 'inadmissible' in the proceedings
The US president launches his plan for peace in the Middle East, saying the 80-page proposal offers a 'realistic two-state solution' that has already been agreed to by Israel as the basis for negotiations. Despite the absence of a Palestinian presence at the launch, Trump says the US will support Palestine if the president, Mahmoud Abbas, 'chooses the path to peace'
Police have used teargas and water cannon on protesting firefighters in Paris. Thousands of firefighters attended the demonstration in the French capital, asking for an increase in their hazard bonus, which has not changed since 1990
Footage has emerged appearing to show a man being forcibly removed from the Guangzhou metro by security staff for not wearing a face mask, after the South China province implemented a mandatory order to wear them amid the coronavirus crisis.
Chinese companies are working overtime to produce masks amid soaring demand caused by the country‚Äôs coronavirus outbreak.
Guardian US health reporter Jessica Glenza speaks to anti-abortion activists at the 2020 March for Life in Washington, to discuss their views on abortion and women's rights ‚Äď and what they think liberals get wrong about the issue
Shouts of 'jińĀy√≥u' can be heard echoing between Wuhan's high-rise apartment blocks as people take to their balconies to shout what translates literally as "add oil", meaning 'keep up the fight', to their neighbours. It is day six of life under lockdown for the Chinese city's 11 million residents, who have found themselves at the centre of the outbreak of coronavirus.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces the next general election will be held on 19 September and promises a transparent campaign free of misinformation. She says Labour has signed up to Facebook's advertising transparency tool, adding: 'New Zealanders deserve freedom from misinformation and some of the negative style of campaigning that we have seen take place overseas in the past.' Ardern says Labour will also have its major policy costings independently verified.
She says Labour has run 'a strong economy with low unemployment and growth rates that others look to with envy, outstripping countries we often compare ourselves to, like Australia and the UK while making critical investments in health and education and reducing child poverty.'
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