Your accountant plays a really important role in the day-to-day functioning and profitability of your business. In addition to managing your accounts, a great accounting team will deliver considerable savings for your business and provide specialist advice on more complicated matters regarding HMRC, tax and payroll.
That’s why it’s so important to choose an accounting team that you have complete confidence in. If you don’t believe you are getting value for money from your current accountant, it’s probably time to consider finding a new one. Changing your accountant can be straightforward if it’s actioned in the correct way. Here are a few pointers on how to decide when and how to change accountants.
Do you have a good relationship?
Perhaps you’ve often questioned the relationship between you and your accountant. You and your accountant should be able to work together to resolve any issues and find a way around any situation.
Your accountant is there to support you, so if you often find yourself feeling baffled by confusing accountancy jargon or you’re being charged any time you have a quick accountancy question, it may finally be time to start looking for a more suitable accountant.
Are you stuck in a rut?
It’s important to move with the times, especially in business. You and your accountant should sit down for a regular review to make sure your business isn’t stuck in its ways and it’s operating efficiently. You should definitely be discussing any new services, plans for the business and what you could change to boost your business in the future.
Your accountant should be keeping up with the latest technology in the accounting industry, which means they should be contacting you for regular reviews anyway. If your accounting team isn’t showing the proactivity you expect, it’s likely they aren’t working as efficiently as they could be which could be costing your business precious time and money.
Is your accountant retiring?
Sometimes, it’s as simple as needing to find a new accounting team due to unforeseen circumstances. Maybe your favourite accountant is retiring, moving away or going travelling. It’s a shame to stop working with someone you’ve built a great relationship with, but these things happen all the time and change can be good. Obviously this type of situation leaves you without the accountant you need, so it’s important to start looking around for the right fit for your business.
Have your circumstances changed?
Have you recently changed status, perhaps from a sole trader to a limited company? Sometimes your accountant specialise in one area, which might not be relevant to your new business structure. For the benefit of your business, this can mean it’s time to find an accountant who specialises in the area you need and can satisfy your needs.
How to change accountants?
The process of changing accountants can seem overwhelming to a number of businesses, but really it’s quite straightforward if handled correctly. Here are the steps you’ll need to take during the handover process.
- Let your current accountant know
First, you’ll need to make your current accountant aware of your decision. An email should suffice, but sometimes you may need to write a handwritten letter. You’ll need to let them know that you're changing accountants to ‘ABC Ltd’ and ask them to pass over any information they request. Your current accountant will send you a disengagement letter stating what work they have done with key dates and information.
Make sure all your financial responsibilities to your current accountant have been resolved i.e outstanding invoices)
- Register with your new accountant
Your new accountant will usually send a registration form to capture your personal and limited company information.
They’ll also need to carry out an anti-money laundering check on you, as required by law. Expect to be asked to provide a scan of your passport or drivers’ license.
Your new accountant will write to your old accountant asking for professional clearance. This is a professional formality and will include information such as previous years accounts and tax returns.
- Assign HMRC authority for your new accountant
You’ll need to sign a new 64-8 form, which authorises your new accountant to deal HMRC on your behalf. This is so they can handle your personal and company tax affairs. Your new accountant will be the first port of call from HMRC.
- Letter of Engagement
The new accountant is required to send you a ‘Letter of Engagement’, which sets out the expectations and requirements between the client and the accountant, which needs to be agreed and signed.
- Starting with your new accountant
After a few weeks, if there has been no hold-ups, all your accounting information should have been transferred and you will be able to get going with your new accounting team.
Changing your accountant is simple and easy when you’ve got a great team of accountants guiding you through the process. If you’re looking to switch accountants or you’re searching for a small business accountant in Hampshire, contact our expert team for more information on our range of accounting services.