Why DIY accounting costs more in the long run

diy accounting

Getting your creative venture off the ground is no easy feat. You’re handling every aspect of the business, including the financial admin which eats into valuable time and tips the scale of work-life balance. You’re doing the bookkeeping yourself, fitting in time around everything else. The thing is, DIY accounting will ultimately sap more time and money from your business compared to outsourcing the job to an expert accountant.

DIY accounting takes time away from profitable activities.

You shouldn’t have to spend your weekends consolidating transactions or your evenings categorising expenses. Getting an expert to handle your bookkeeping saves a huge amount of time. While a busy entrepreneur might spend ten hours on their set of accounts, the same task will take an hour for an experienced accountant.

Think about how you’d spend those extra hours. It’s time you could dedicate to profitable activities like sales or product development. Over time, it adds up to make a considerable difference to your revenue.

Bootstrapping your accounting can leave you vulnerable to penalties.

Accounting is a complex process that requires a good deal of expertise to really nail. Unless you’ve had formal training, it’s unlikely you’ll feel 100% confident you’ve done everything correctly to safeguard yourself against HMRC penalties.

Instead of trying to figure it out by yourself, gain the reassurance of a trained, specialist accountant taking care of your finances. You’ll sleep easy knowing you’re totally HMRC compliant.

A professional accountant will spot if you’re paying too much tax.

A financial expert has the time and skills to go over your books with a fine-tooth comb. They’re trained not only to identify areas where things don’t look right, but also where you can legally reduce how much tax you’re paying.

It’s not uncommon for business owners to pay excess VAT without realising. Outsourcing your bookkeeping to an expert will give you the confidence you’re paying not a penny more than you need to.

Sustained growth is only possible if you delegate your finance function.

Bootstrapping the accounting will only get a business so far. If you want to identify growth opportunities, create accurate budgets or strengthen your cash flow, expertly-managed finances are essential.

The 4 C’s below show the transformation from doing your accounting on a DIY, ad-hoc basis to handing it over to an expert.


  • Ad-hoc bookkeeping done by the business owner.
  • No systematic record keeping.
  • Risk of missed deadlines and penalties.


  • Accounts are produced to comply with HMRC.
  • Quarterly bookkeeping (for VAT returns), accounts are only seen once-a-year.
  • Spreadsheet-based, if software is used it’s not implemented to its full potential.
  • A reactive approach to challenges; putting out fires when they happen.


  • Streamlined, repeatable bookkeeping process
  • An accurate source of truth about your business finances and profit level.
  • Know what’s owed to you and what you owe to others, at all times.
  • Clarity over what’s going on in your business finances, to at least a basic level.
  • A proactive approach to challenges; strategic measures to avoid them.


  • Detailed understanding of your profit & loss and balance sheet.
  • Management accounts drive business decisions on data, not guesswork.
  • Predictable cash flow; easier to plan ahead to fund growth.
  • Strong focus on profitability and continuous improvement.

Read about the transformation one of our creative agency clients experienced when they outsourced their accounting. Instead of spending hours on financial admin, the business owners gained valuable time to totally focus on growing their business.

Work with an accountant who really gets your creative business.

Whether you’re a freelance designer or the owner of a digital agency, give your business the best chance of success by partnering with an accountant specialised in the creative industry.

From cash flow fluctuations to business structure, at Alchemy we’re well-versed in the challenges and opportunities experienced by creative businesses. We’ll advise you how to avoid common obstacles, achieve quick wins and map out a plan to achieve the things you want.

Want to find out how much time outsourced accounting could free up in your business each month? Fill in our contact form and we’ll be in touch to arrange an intro chat.