Smooth Transitions: Changing Your Accountant
There are many reasons for why a small business may want to change accountants. You may feel that your business has grown over the years, or you may feel that your current accountant no longer meets your needs. Contrary to popular beliefs, and what your current accountant might have told you, it’s not unusual to change accountant. In fact, during our 20 years in the industry, we have been approached many times by prospective clients who have been looking to make the switch for a range of reasons.
Common reasons for wanting to change your accountant
Generally, when a business owner is looking to switch to a new accountant, it usually comes down to the fact that the business itself has grown over the years and as a result of this, the current accountant is unable to cater to the businesses growing needs. Whilst the thought of finding a new accountant can seem daunting at first, this progression is very natural and is a sign that your business is moving forward. Other common reasons for wanting to change accountant include:
- Poor value for money: Often businesses change accountants due to feeling that they aren’t receiving a value for money service or that costs are simply too high. If this sounds all too familiar, we recommend doing some investigating to see if you could get a better deal and service level elsewhere.
- A lack of understanding: It may sound bizarre but we truly have encountered clients who felt that their previous accountant simply didn’t understand their business needs. At Moore’s Accountancy we believe that this is critical – after all, our job is to support you, helping you to plan for future growth and every possible financial eventuality.
- My accountant is always reactive instead of proactive: Being proactive is vital in the industry, especially as regulations can change and tax-saving opportunities can come and go. If your accountant isn’t actively updating you on upcoming developments or providing you with informed tax advice and support, you may need to consider looking elsewhere.
- Service levels have declined: If the current service isn’t meeting your expectations then it’s perfectly understandable to want to switch. Common complaints include receiving little advice/ information about upcoming updates, poor communication, poor time keeping and inadequate planning.
- My accountant is retiring: Life can throw curveballs our way sometimes but a retiring accountant doesn’t have to cause disruption to your business.
Changing your accountant
- Issue a letter of professional clearance
Once you have made a decision on who to switch to, you need to write an accountant termination letter to inform your current accountant that you will be switching to another firm. Within the letter, you must confirm if there is any expectation for finalised work such as completing the financial year-end accounts and you must also ask your current accountant to provide any information requested by the new accountants. Sometimes your new accountant will provide you with a letter.
- Register with your new accountant
Once all agreements have been met and all requests are complete, you then need to assign authority to your new accountant to manage your tax affairs and deal with HMRC on your behalf. This involves signing a new 64-8 form, or using HMRC’s online authorisation service. Your new accountant should also send you a form to complete your registration with them. At this stage, your new accountant will also carry out any financial to checks as required by UK law.
- Read through the Letter of Engagement carefully
If your new accountant is registered with a professional entity such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), they are obliged to send through a ‘Letter of Engagement’ which sets out the expectations and requirements between you and the firm.
- Letter requesting Professional Clearance
During the switch over your new accountant will also contact your previous accountant to request “professional clearance”. This informs your previous accountant that you have contacted a new accountant to represent you and also allows your new accountant to request information regarding any professional reasons as to why they should not move forward with the appointment.
Switching Accountants is Easy with Moore’s Accountancy
Now we realise that at a first glance this looks like a lot of paper work and coming and going but in reality, with a professional firm working with you, the process can be easy and stress free.We must emphasise however that you shouldn’t rush into the process, timing the switch over is very important, especially to ensure that the transition is a smooth one and efficient.
If you’re currently looking for a new accountant in Stoke on Trent or Newcastle Under lyme, please do not hesitate to contact us today to find out more about how we can help you to make the transition a smooth one. At Moore’s Accountancy, we pride ourselves on offering a friendly and professional service and we always take the time to get to know your business needs – both in the short term and long term.
We offer a range of accountants services including tax advice and support, business plans, cash flow forecasts, payroll services, bookkeeping and more – all of which are tailored to your business. What’s more, with our accounting software, we can help you to run your business on the go, from anywhere and at anytime.