How To Change Accountant
Your accountant is a vital cog in your business, a good accountant will help improve the tax efficiency and profitability of your business and ensure your business is compliant with the latest tax legislation. To many, the idea of changing accountants when you are a well-established business can be daunting, but in the event where it becomes necessary we can help make the transition as smooth as possible.
Are you happy with your accountant?
Research by cloud accounting software provider Xero found that small business owners would consider switching accountants due to a number of reasons:
Rarely providing support (62%)
Limited industry knowledge (57%)
Making them feel like a low priority (55%)
Being behind on technology (53%)
Being unresponsive (52%)
Not providing enough value (44%)
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There are a number of reasons why you may choose to switch accountants:
Value for Money
Are you getting value for money? Are there unexpected costs on your accounts at the end of your financial year, or have you simply stayed with the same accountant because you haven’t looked elsewhere for the best value for the services you require?
Changing Needs Of Your Business
As your business grows your accountant needs to be able to offer the relevant services and advice that you require. Is your accountant up to date on the latest legislation, technology and the Making Tax Digital regulations.
Timing & Efficiency
If your accountant frequently leaves critical tax returns until the last minute putting you under pressure it may be time to move accountants. This can often be the case when an accountant has grown large very quickly and does not have the capacity to look after all their clients.
Size of Business
If your accountant has grown to become a large firm sometimes this can make the client feel that they no longer receive a personal service.
“Accountants being unresponsive is the major gripe of clients. All they want is a response, it can be as simple as that. It can be a shame to lose a client over something so simple as lack of communication. It’s frustrating because it can be so easily fixed.”
Nila Khan, business advice manager at industry body ICAEW.
The process of changing accountants.
At Styles & Associates we can help with the process of switching accountants, starting with making contact with your old accountant and registering with HMRC to act on your behalf.
1. Check your agreement
Initially you should check the details of your agreement with your current accountant to ensure that there aren’t any exceptional circumstances that would restrict you transferring to a new accountant.
2. Inform your accountant
If it is to possible end your engagement with your current accountant on good terms – this will help the process of changing accountants a lot smoother. We understand that in certain situations this may be difficult, and we will do our best to advise on your particular circumstances. The letter should indicate if there is any outstanding work to be completed, i.e. year end accounts, and specify a date this work should be finalised. Below we have provided a downloadable sample accountant transition letter.
3. Register with a new accountant
You will need to officially register with a new accountant – this is usually via a registration form which captures your personal and limited company information.
As a legal requirement your new account will carry out an anti-money laundering check and you will be required to provide identification such as a scan of your passport or drivers’ licence, together with a recent utility bill.
4. Letter of Engagement
The new accountant will send you a ‘Letter of Engagement’ which sets out the expectations and requirements between both parties.
5. Grant permission to communicate with your new accountant
Your current accountant will need to hand over certain records to your new accountant so you must provide official consent. At Styles & Associates we can help by providing a draft letter. The letter should advise that you wish them to furnish your new accountant with any requested information.
6. Professional Clearance letter
Your new accountant will write to your previous accountant requesting professional clearance and copies of accounts and tax records, tax returns and any other information they require. As a formality in this letter, they will ask if there is any reason as to why they cannot take you on as a client.
7. Disengagement letter
Your current accountant will need to provide a disengagement letter, this will detail the work they have completed for you with key dates.
8. Assign authority
Once you have registered with your new accountant, you will need to assign authority to them to manage your tax affairs, i.e. file returns and deal with HMRC on your behalf through an 64-8 form.
Keeping it simple.
At Styles & Associates Accountancy we want to keep the process of changing accountant as simple as possible to cause minimal disruption to your business. We will discuss with you the quietest trading time for the handover period.
Our senior accountants have managed the process of switching accountants with a number of clients and will be on hand to provide you with any advice you require.
When you are ready to make the switch get in touch to see how we can help you. At Styles & Associates we are proud that our clients stay with us year after year and are happy to recommend our services. If you have decided to make the move to Styles & Associates accountancy we would be delighted to invite you for a free consultation.
Moving our business to Styles & Associates made savings for us on our accounting fees, corporation tax, and personal tax.