How to Change Accountants

Why Change Accountants?

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This can be an emotive topic depending on the relationship you have with your accountant and the number of years you have been together. People say it can be like a marriage; sometimes in harmony, sometimes a few ructions are felt, while both of you are needing to head towards the same goal of developing & growing your business. The accountant becomes fully versed in what your business does, where you are going and what you want to do to get there.

Like any other service or supply to your business, you should always ask yourself if you are getting good value for money out of your accountant. They can be a necessary evil of expenditure for any business, but developing a relationship with them outside the yearly compliance role can enhance your business. Of course, they will be there if you just need compliance work and tax returns completed too.

You need to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I getting value for money – assuming you know the value you want?
  • Does my accountant fully understand my business needs and what the plans are to grow the business in the future?
  • Is the service satisfactory and are returns filed in good order and on time?
  • Could I get better service elsewhere?
  • Why has my bill gone up again?
  • Has my business outgrown my accountant?
  • Is my business treated like just another number to a large firm of accountants?
  • Are they moving with the times? With all the digital technology out there, are there better ways of doing things?
  • Are they OK with technology and the way I want to move with it?
  • Can they offer advice on my systems & processes to make me more efficient?
  • Why do I only hear from them once a year? Surely things happen in the year that I need to be made aware of?

 

How to Make the Change

Should you decide to change your accountant, then it is a relatively easy process to follow. We chat to you about what you need from your accountant, for example, a self-assessment tax return, full bookkeeping & accounting service plus year-end compliance, a workshop on processes, personal budgeting, etc., and then draw up a quote for services which will be valid for six weeks.

Should you decide that Performance Accountancy is right for you, then a whole process kicks off. The vast majority of accountants are familiar with the process and respond in a reasonable period (2 to 3 weeks), but there are times we may need you to give them a nudge. As long as you are up-to-date with fees, the outgoing accountant will not typically charge for this, although they may levy a small admin fee/postage to collect documents or post them out.change-of-accountants-picture-v2-jpg

  • We have a template which you can use to resign from your out-going account and introduce us to them. That gives your out-going accountant the approval to pass information to us.
  • We will need to obtain various bits of information from you which is mainly via an online registration form.
  • We complete the agent authorisation form on the HMRC website and HMRC post a letter to you with a code that you need to give to us to finish the process.
  • We will write to your old accountants for the professional clearance and deal with any queries.
  • Finally, we will need from you:
    • The agreed quote for actual work;
    • A signed engagement letter;
    • Identity documentation for anti-money laundering requirements
    • Go-cardless details set up for payment

 

When to Change Accountants?

It’s a question often asked. Just before filing deadlines is not usually the time as you will be stressed, your current accountant may be stressed not knowing if they are coming to you or not, and the new accountant will be fraught trying to get all the admin & agent bits through before they can work on your behalf. But sometimes we can work miracles. The impossible is harder.

Select a changeover date that is going to cause the least disruption to your business. The most obvious change date is the end of the business financial year. If you change mid-year, you may end up having additional catch up fees as your new accountant needs to re-create what your old accountant has already done. This is especially true if your old accountant is also doing the bookkeeping for you.

Ensure all financial responsibilities to your accountant are discharged i.e. all outstanding bills paid.

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And then – that’s it – job done. Feel free to talk to us any time of the year if you are thinking of changing your accountant, or maybe getting an accountant, as you never know; new ideas may spark out of that conversation.

 

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