When independent translators‘ businesses start to take off, things tend to get busy really fast. You start getting more work than you can handle, or you have to sacrifice time spent on other important tasks, such as marketing, to satisfy the demand.
At this point, translators generally start thinking about the tasks they can outsource: proofreading, bookkeeping, marketing, and so on. In my case, accounting is the first thing I started outsourcing and I’ve never had any regret about it.
Some will say this costs money that could be better spent somewhere else. While accountants are definitely not free, they offer advantages that more than make up for their monthly fees:
– Professional financial advice: I have studied a bit how finance, tax systems, etc. work in my country, yet I am amazed with all the small tricks my accountant knows. There are things I can deduct from my taxes that I would have never expected, and this alone covers a great part of the monthly costs.
– Peace of mind and free time: I don’t think anyone wants financial services knocking at their door. Even if you do your best to keep everything on book and ordered, there is always the possibility that a small mistake turns into a legal nightmare. Accountants take that responsibility off your shoulders, and it really makes your work less stressful. Accounting is also quite time consuming, and financial statements, for some reason, always seem to be due when you are the most busy. All I need to do is to gather and send all my invoices, and the rest is done for me. It leaves me with enough time to focus on what powers my business: translation, marketing… and family time!
– General business advice and connections: Accountants work with lots of people from lots of industries, so they can offer incredibly useful advice on a large number of topics – at least mine does! When you need something done for your business, they will also often know someone who will be able to help. Reciprocally, there is always a chance some of their clients need your services – interesting networking opportunity here.
I would recommend anyone starting in the industry to consider working with an accountant as soon as their business is getting serious. For me, it was an immense step towards becoming a professional translation services provider.