Do you feel like changing accountants would be a good idea? Wondering how to go about the process? No need to worry, we’ve got you covered.
Often, small businesses and startups feel like changing accountant would be a step forward for them. There are many reasons why this could be the case. Perhaps your business has changed, you want more from an accountant or your business has simply outgrown an existing offering. Whatever the reason may be, the process is probably a lot easier than you first anticipated. Switching accountants should be straight forward, with minimal fuss and disruption to your business.
Why should I change accountants?
If you are considering changing accountants, ask yourself the following questions.
Does my accountant understand the needs of my business?
Your current accountant should know the ins and outs of your business. For an accountant to do the best job they can for your company, they should get to know a lot about your business, your competitors and the sector you are operating in, as well as what you need from them. Your accountant should be using this information to plan for your business’s future and growth. If your accountant isn’t fully aware of your business and your needs, the service they are providing isn’t what it could be.
Am I getting good value for money?
Getting the level of service you expect for the amount you are paying is very important. If you feel as if your accountant is charging too much for what they are providing for you and your business, do some investigating. Have a look online at what other accountants are charging and start comparing. You can find the services we offer for a fixed fee by reading about our accountancy service.
Are my tax returns and other obligations being filed on time?
Your accountant should be proactive. Thinking ahead of time so that your business doesn’t receive any penalties should be standard with their accounting service. If it’s left up to you, we think you deserve better.
How often do I speak to my accountant?
Communication is key. Especially when it comes to the communication and overall relationship you have with your business accountant. If it’s a nightmare getting your call returned, email replied to or that all important business growth meeting planned, it’s time you look for a new accountant. As a local business accountant in Hampshire, we only work with businesses and contractors who are in easy reach of us. Why? Face to face time is a big part of what makes our accountancy service work.
A few points to consider before changing…
1. Check the agreement.
When intending to part ways with your current accountant, you should check the details of your agreement. You need to ensure that you are switching accountants in a way you’ve signed up to. Doing things properly means your current accountant has no reason to not comply with your requests when cutting ties.
2. Are you tied into software?
Check with your new and current provider how data will be migrated in a fuss free way. If you use something like Sage One or Xero, changing ownership shouldn’t be an issue.
3. Tying the knot.
Before you make the change, you should ensure that all financial responsibilities have been taken care of. All bills should be paid and neither you or your accountant should be awaiting an action or payment. This could lead to disputes and could cause the transition to run less smoothly.
Once decided that changing accountant is the right course of action for your business, take time to think carefully about what the most appropriate time is for the initial handover between your previous and new accountant. We recommend that this takes place when there is as little activity as possible, so the end of the financial year wouldn’t be ideal.
The process of switching accountant
Informing your current accountant
When informing your accountant that you are switching, aim to end things as smoothly as possible with them. This way they will be willing to make things simple when having to hand over the required documents. We’ve all been there, and your accountant will understand.
Issuing the letter of professional clearance
Your new accountant will prepare a letter for you to sign and send to your current accountant. This letter should include:
- A professional clearance to manage your accounts
- A request to transfer all documents relevant to your accounts
- Confirmation that there aren’t any professional reasons why your new accountant shouldn’t take you onboard
- A request to your existing accountant that they reply with a letter of disengagement
Registering with your new accountant
Lastly, you need to assign authority to your new accountant. This requires you to either sign a new 64-8 form or use HMRC’s online authorisation service. This gives your new accountant the legal validation needed to be able to manage your tax affairs and correspond to HMRC on your behalf.
A legal requirement for your new accountant is to carry out an anti-money laundering check on you. The purpose of this check is to help detect and report suspicious activity such as securities fraud and market manipulation.
HL&W make changing accountant simple
At HL&W we aim to make the process of changing accountant for you as pain free as possible.