Musician Finance 3: Using an Accountant

Ever wondered whether it's worth the money to hire an accountant? Most musicians don't learn much about accountancy while they're in college, so it can make sense to hire a professional to keep your taxes in order.

For the third instalment of this 3-part blog series on musician's finances, I talked to three financial experts, Adam Liddelow, David Carnac (former pro musician and specialist in musician mortgages) and Claire Sweet (amateur musician and specialist in musician mortgages), about their view on using accountants.

Adam

  • In most cases, it's worthwhile to have an accountant. A good accountant should be able to justify their fee by the making the most of any tax efficiencies available to you, including ones you didn’t know you were eligible for. Why spend hours trawling through figures and receipts when you can hire a professional to do the job?

David

  • It's perfectly practical to do your own accounts. Self-assessment is reasonably straightforward. That said, just because it's possible doesn't mean it is right. A professional accountant will know what expenses should be acceptable to HMRC and provide advice about structuring your business. It's important to remember that you run a business and normally it's best to concentrate on what you do well and let others do the rest.

Claire

  • Having an accountant means that you will benefit from expert advice, which will reduce the amount of tax that you need to pay, and many mortgage lenders insist that you have one to sign off your figures. I did my own tax returns for several years, but found that having an accountant has saved me far more each year than the fee that they charge.

  • The key thing is to be honest with them if you are looking to buy a house, as some allowances and expenses can be spread over several years to prevent you getting a big dip in your profits if, for example, you purchase a new instrument or equipment.


"I love working with musicians because they have such a creative flair." -Claire Sweet

Any final tips about finances?

Adam

  • Do not ignore your finances or think they can wait to be sorted out when you are older. Take control as early as you can and if you do not feel comfortable doing it yourself, seek advice from a trusted financial adviser. The earlier you take stock, identify your objectives and understand what you need to do to achieve your goals, the better. It sounds boring, but it’s true!

David

  • Have a plan for your finances - don't just make it up as you go along. Those clients of ours who have a steely determination to make their finances work for them generally achieve their goals - whatever they are.

Claire

  • Complete a budget planner, and know where your money goes each month. Seeing the figures in black and white can be an eye opener for so many clients, and can give them the opportunity to use their money in a way that balances today’s needs with tomorrow’s dreams.

Example sheet of a monthly budget planner by Claire Sweet.

Bottom line? Keep your records straight! Be disciplined and spend a little bit of time each month rather than cramming it all in January before the deadline. Good luck!

Check out the other blog posts in this series:
  • Musician Finance 1: Getting a Mortgage

  • Musician Finance 2: Saving for Retirement

Adam Liddelow works at Liddelow Financial Services, an Isle of Wight and London-based advisory firm, providing expert wealth planning for private and commercial clients in the UK.

David Carnac entered the Financial Services industry in 1987 following a brief career as a professional musician after graduating from the Guildhall School of Music. He gained extensive industry experience during the following ten years before setting up his own company, David Carnac & Co., an independent practice totally focused on meeting the requirements of his clients. In 2017 he celebrates twenty years in business and twenty-five years since arranging his first mortgage for a musician client.

Claire Sweet is a Financial Adviser and amateur musician who has been helping musicians organise their life and their finances for more than nine years, using a friendly but sensible approach to provide advice to clients of all ages and backgrounds. Further details can be found at www.peacetogether.co.uk. Further details can be found at www.peacetogether.co.uk.

Check out the other blogs in this series:


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