Now more than ever, firms and accountancy practices in the UK are turning to Freelance Accountants when it comes time to hire staff. And with remote working also on the rise for Accountants across both industry and practice, you’re no longer necessarily restricted by geography. Here we take a look at some of the options for recruiting Freelance Accountants for your business – and how much they might cost.
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Upwork is one of the most popular websites in the world for hiring freelancers of all varieties. Whatever you’re looking for, you’re almost certain to find it on Upwork. There are various ways to work together with freelancers through the site. This might involve money being held in escrow to be released once a project or contract is finished, or working on a time-tracker basis where the freelancer uses software that takes periodic screenshots of what they’re working on. These then get sent to the client for review and the fee is calculated based on the hours and minutes tracked by the app.
The most common way to find a Freelance Accountant via Upwork is to list a project explaining what it is you’re looking for and your expectations for the arrangement. Freelancers will then bid for the project with the rate they’ll charge if they win. Alternatively, you can make it a fixed-price listing, stating from the outset how much you’re willing to pay. This probably isn’t practical if you’re looking for a longer-term arrangement, however. You can also set restrictions on who can bid – for example, a minimum number of hours worked through Upwork or a certain rating level – to save sifting through lots of unsuitable freelancers.
Freelancer works in much the same way as Upwork. You can list a project and freelancers will bid on it or, if you prefer, you can browse the profiles of suitable freelancers instead and invite them to bid. You can then consider the different Freelance Accountants who have put themselves forward and choose the one who best suits your requirements.
Again, there is a time-tracking option for calculating the fee you pay or you can set up milestone payments – also a feature on Upwork – which enables you to release payments at different times, usually when a specific goal has been achieved. You can also choose to pay upon completion of the project if it is a one-off or fixed piece of work. If you’re looking for an ongoing arrangement, though, time-tracking is probably the way to go.
People Per Hour helps match clients with freelancers who meet their requirements. PPH has more of a stringent sign-up process for freelancers than Upwork and Freelancer, but broadly it works in a similar way. You list a project and then PPH’s AI system will match your project with the most suitable freelancers. They will then get in touch with those freelancers to let them know about your project.
Any freelancers who are interested will then put together a proposal for you. You can review these proposals and choose the person you want to work with. When it comes to payment, you’ll need to let PPH have a deposit when you award a project. They will then hold this in escrow until the work is completed and you release it. PPH also has an Offers feature. This is where a freelancer puts together a pre-set bundle – for example, a certain number of self-assessment returns – for a set price. As with Upwork and Freelancer, you can also browse profiles to look for suitable candidates.
Gumtree is a classified ads website where people can advertise various goods and services for sale. Freelance Accountants will often post a short listing outlining their qualifications and experience along with the services they offer. You can then get in touch with them to find out if they’re a good fit for you.
While this option is not as organised as freelancer websites – for example, there’s no profile to look at or reviews to read – there could be an advantage in terms of cost. Websites such as Upwork, Freelancer, and PPH tend to charge their freelancers quite hefty fees – as much as 20% – which in turn often bumps up the rate they pass on to clients.
The premise of Toptal is that they provide the top 3% of freelancers globally, which means theoretically you’re getting the best of the best when it comes to hiring a Freelance Accountant through them. They boast a quality guarantee, very low failure rate, and unlike many freelancer websites, they pre-screen their candidates.
Toptal offer a no-risk trial period of up to a fortnight. If you’re happy at the end of it and want to continue using the services of the person you’ve hired, they’ll bill you for the two weeks. Otherwise, you can choose to terminate the arrangement at no cost or engage in a further two no-risk trials for each position you’re looking to fill. To find a Freelance Accountant through Toptal, you’ll need to pay an upfront deposit which will be credited against your first invoice – or refunded in full if you don’t find anyone suitable.
Worksome is a site that operates in the same vein as Upwork and Freelancer. You can post a role or project on the site and the website’s artificial intelligence will identify the most suitable candidates. You can then consider all the interested freelancers and their bids, get in touch to find out any additional information you might want to know, and choose the best candidate for you.
You can choose to pay hourly, monthly, or upon completion of the project, and Worksome will create contracts so you don’t have to. All of the billing takes place through the site too, and you should start receiving bids for your projects almost straight away – at least five within the first 24 hours.
Bark is a website that works to match professionals with potential clients. If you’re on the lookout for a Freelance Accountant, you can search for those in your area in a few easy steps. Bark will ask a series of questions – for example, whether you need someone to prepare accounts or complete tax returns – and then determine which professionals are the best fit for you.
You then have the opportunity to take a look at the profiles of your matches, as well as their websites if applicable, and reviews from previous clients. The freelancer will be charged a one-off fee for the leads they contact and then once you’re in touch, the rates and payment terms are between you and them. The only other thing Bark ask is that you leave a review for any professionals you use on the website.
As the name suggests, Fiverr’s gimmick is that you can find freelancers to carry out work for as little as a fiver. Of course, projects aren’t limited to that, and you can find freelancers across a wide range of fields and industries, including Freelance Accountants. Fiverr has provided freelancers for more than 11,000,000 clients worldwide, making it one of the biggest freelancer platforms out there.
There are two ways you can find a freelancer on Fiverr. You can browse the profiles on offer – these usually include samples of the freelancer’s work along with feedback from previous clients – and then get in touch for more information. Alternatively, you can specify what you’re looking for in a listing and then wait for the offers to arrive in your inbox.
10. Job Boards
Another method you can use for finding a Freelance Accountant is by listing a vacancy on one of the job boards available. Websites such as Reed and Indeed enable you to create detailed and tailored vacancy advertisements where you can explain exactly what you’re looking for and how much you’re willing to pay. The website will then get in touch with candidates who provisionally match the criteria and notify them of the vacancy. It will also be visible for those browsing for a new role.
Applications will be emailed direct to your inbox along with a copy of the candidate’s CV. This allows you to review their qualifications and experience and then get in touch if they seem like a good fit. This is a more traditional way of finding a Freelance Accountant, but it can be costly in terms of listing fees, and sifting through the dozens if not hundreds of unsuitable applications that freelance vacancies tend to attract can be a time-consuming task. You also don’t have any immediate indication of the candidate’s previous work via the reviews and feedback you find on dedicated freelancer sites.
So, How Much Will a Freelance Accountant Cost?
The short answer to this question is: it depends. Not all Freelance Accountants charge the same rates and the amount will vary according to factors such as qualifications, level of experience, and the type of work you want them to carry out. For example, a part-qualified Accountant with a couple of years’ experience might charge around £20-25 per hour for basic bookkeeping and accounting work, whereas a more experienced qualified Accountant might charge in the region of £35-40. For more complex, in-depth work – for example, specialist tax advice – hourly rates can be £130-150 or more. Geographical location can also affect fees – Freelance Accountants in London are likely to be charging a higher hourly rate than in Sheffield – as can working arrangements. With remote working becoming more and more popular, many Freelance Accountants are prepared to lower their rates for the opportunity to work from home rather than commute to the office to carry out their work. Also, Freelancer sites can be competitive places which means rates can vary wildly from project to project. It’s worth bearing in mind though that the old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ still often holds true, so it’s advisable to approach with caution any Freelance Accountants with unusually low rates!