Discovery Call - What to Know
First of all, it's great to know that you are thinking about working with us as your accounting partner. This post (a c. 3 minute read) is suggested reading ahead of our call and briefly covers:
- The structure of a Discovery Call
- The questions we would typically ask you
- The questions we typically get asked
1. Structure and purpose of the call
The purpose of the Discovery Call is for us to get to know you, your business, its challenges, and any pain points it faces, and likewise for you to get to know us and how we would work together. Our mission to you is to remove as much time and stress from the accounting and bookkeeping side of things so that you can focus on what matters more to you. On the call we'll walk you through how we achieve this, but you can also read about it in the FAQ below.
2. The questions we typically ask you
By the end of the call we should be able to tell you exactly which services you need to be compliant and when you will need them, i.e. your upcoming deadlines. To do this we'll grab details about how your business is structured and run.
What, where, and how are you selling, and who are you selling to?
What? The type of product you are selling will have an impact on your accounting and VAT / Sales Tax treatment. We'll check for example if you are selling digital products, standard or zero VAT rated goods, etc. or a mix.
Where? Are you selling on Amazon, Shopify, Etsy, eBay, Magento, WooCommerce, ... ? Using Stripe, Paypal, GoCardless, iZettle, etc. ? Do you have a physical store as well as an online presence? If you want us to handle your bookkeeping we'll typically ask for an estimate of the average number of orders monthly per seller platform, but we also need to know so that we can provide guidance on best practice and point on common pitfalls to avoid.
How? Are you dropshipping, private label, retail arbitrage? We need to know, for example, where goods are stored (particularly relevant for dropshippers) as it affects your accounting treatment.
What is the business structure?
Type? Are you a Limited Company, Sole Trader, Partnership, etc.? The type of accounts filed vary based on your company structure: Sole Trader accounts are simpler and quicker to prepare for example, hence accountants charge less for preparing Sole Trader accounts vs. Limited Companies. We can help you make a decision on company structure, and can also incorporate an existing Sole Trade or new business for you.
Location? Where is the company based? If you're based in the UK we can provide the full-suite of accounting services. If you are based outside of the UK, we can help you with your UK VAT obligations.
What are your business goals?
We want to know where you want to take your business, and make sure that we can be helpful in getting you there. We are experts in accounting and bookkeeping for ecommerce sellers but more importantly we are experts in saving time and stress for ecommerce sellers. By the end of the call we should have a good idea if our services are well aligned with your business goals. As long as this is the case, we'll send you a proposal for services, which you can sign to get started.
3. The questions we typically get asked
What kind of service level do I receive?
If you are an ecommerce seller, you are getting the highest service level available in the market:
Do you get my sales data for me?
Yes. We know Amazon, Shopify, eBay, Stripe, Paypal, inside out. One of the ways we differ from other accountants is that we grab the relevant data for you from each platform / payment gateway so you don't have to worry about finding the right reports, downloading, and sending. It's all done without you having to lift a finger.
Will you go on as my Agent with HMRC?
Yes. For all the services we provide for you, we will go on as your Agent. This means we handle any HMRC correspondence, can monitor deadlines, and shield you from as much accounting work as possible.
Do I get a dedicated accountant / bookkeeper?
Yes. You'll have one point of contact for your accounting and for your bookkeeping. From time to time, for example when your accountant is on leave, someone else in the team may respond on their behalf.
How do you save me time?
Every process and touch-point is optimised to save you time: we get sales data directly for you, we use Receipt Bank to handle your expenses efficiently, when we need you to do something or share a document we provide an electronic checklist so you get clear bite-size instructions and a simple way to upload, we're fully digital so you can speak to us from anywhere, and most importantly, our business is focused purely on ecommerce sellers so your queries are quickly and competently answered by highly experienced accountants.
How much will it cost?
Once we have a sense of which services you need and the scope of help you want, your accountant will provide you with a quote. You can get an indication of what you might pay using our Instant Quote feature.
I've just started selling. Do I need an accountant straight away?
No. There are many scenarios where it makes sense to delay appointing an accountant. Regardless, there are a few things you should know about your obligations so you stay compliant.
Can you set up my company for me?
Yes. We'd be happy to. Our fees for helping you form a company is currently £75 + VAT.
If you're unsure if you should be a Limited company or Sole Trader, we can help you work this out. Your decision will depend on a lot of factors such as tax, earnings, responsibilities and personal liability. Please read a few articles and blogs online such as this one to help you decide whether you want to sell as a limited company or sole trader: https://smallbusiness.co.uk/structure-sole-trader-limited-company-2543815/.
How do you charge?
We invoice you monthly for whichever services you have engaged us for. This improves cashflow, and is appropriate as we start monitoring your deadlines, responding to queries, and proactively provide advice as soon as you become a client. If you approach us after your year end, then before we start preparing your accounts we would ensure that we have charged a full year's worth of fees.
What software do you use?
To handle your bookkeeping we use Xero and Receipt Bank. This is a great combo for ecommerce sellers since Xero integrates with Paypal, Stripe, Payoneer, business bank accounts, etc. easily, while Receipt Bank massively saves you time on collecting receipts and invoices.
For cashflow forecasting we use Futrli which is intuitive and gives you greater insight into your business' cash.
Lastly, for interacting with you we use a service called Karbon. This is a very simple bit of kit that lets us manage our internal workflows and issue you tasks / request for documents in the form of electronic checklists.
How quickly do you respond to queries?
For anything urgent, same day. For anything else, normally 1-3 working days. This lets us be efficient and be responsive enough to ensure that any urgent queries that come in can be dealt with right away.