Switching Accountants? It’s A Piece of Cake
Changing accountants is about as (not very) difficult as switching your electricity provider. But for some reason, many businesspeople simply don’t do it. I think we need a chat about that.
“You know what really winds me up about accountants?” As conversation openers go that’s the sort of thing that might make you want to avoid parties whatever your line of work, but especially when you are an accountant.
Yet when businesspeople discover what I do they inevitably tell me the things that annoy them most about their current accountant. And because this happens rather a lot, I know that that list is likely to include:
- They never get back to me
- They file my return late
- I only find out how much tax I owe about two minutes before it’s due
- They never tell me what I could be claiming for
- My tax bill is always £800 more than I thought it was going to be
- I think I’ve outgrown them
- I think they feel they’ve outgrown me
- I think they secretly work for HMRC
Then I say, “Well, why don’t you change accountants?” And they look at me like I’ve suggested they sell a child.
Switching accountants is about as (not very) challenging as switching electricity provider and you probably do that every year or two. Here’s what’s involved:
1. The decision: Do I really need to change my accountant?
If any of the above feel familiar, then yes. Accountancy is a service, just like hairdressing or plumbing. If you don’t feel you’re getting the right service for you, or that your accountant’s focus is elsewhere, why on earth wouldn’t you switch?
Even more importantly, and unlike hairdressing or plumbing, switching your accountant could help you make money, save money or spot new business opportunities. Or all three.
2. The practicalities: How do I switch accountants?
i) Tell your old accountant you’re moving. If you’re uncomfortable with that, we’ll help you draft a letter or email. In your message, include permission for your old accountant to talk to us.
ii) Your old accountants send you a ‘disengagement’ letter which is a sort of ‘story so far’ for your current year’s accounts and includes key dates.
iii) We write to your old accountant requesting the necessary paperwork/electronic files and ‘professional clearance’. This is almost always merely a formality where your old accountant confirms there’s no reason why we couldn’t take you on as a client. They might charge a small fee for this.
iv) You give us authority to act on your behalf, so we can file your tax returns.
3. The timing: When should I switch accountants?
Ideally, you’ll want to make the switch when all’s quiet on the accounts front. Changing accountants mid-January, a couple of weeks before your tax return is due isn’t a great idea. But when your return is complete, the tax is paid and all your accountant’s fees have been settled, switching really is simple and pain free.
Discover just how simple. Switch your accounting to The Tax Farm