Changing Accountants: A Complete Guide to Switching Your Accountant

Why Change Accountants

Changing accountants may feel like a daunting task due to the time-sensitive nature of our responsibilities. However, it doesn’t need to be.

By thinking ahead, doing careful research, and asking the right questions, you can switch accountants without much hassle at all.

First, take the time to assess your accounting needs and plan accordingly. It’s essential to choose an accountant who aligns with your business goals and helps streamline and simplify your financial responsibilities. Your accountant should make your life easier – not harder!

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8 Reasons To Change Accountants

Your accountant plays a pivotal role in managing your financial well-being. Not only do they provide essential accounting services, they can also navigate the UK’s intricate tax laws, fine-tune your financial strategies, and offer insights for business growth.

Like any business relationship, however, it’s a good idea to regularly evaluate the return on investment you’re getting from your accountant.

Here are eight common reasons why businesses might change accountants:

1. Inadequate expertise. Your accountant should possess the knowledge and skills to address your unique financial needs. If your current accountant lacks the necessary expertise to assist you in specific financial areas such as tax planning, investment strategy, or industry-specific regulations – it may be time for a switch.

2. Poor communication. Open and clear communication is essential in the accountant-client relationship. If communication with your accountant is consistently unclear, difficult to understand, or they fail to explain financial matters effectively, it can hinder your ability to make informed decisions about your business finances.

3. Unresponsiveness. Frequent unresponsiveness or a lack of urgency in addressing your financial concerns can be a sign of an accountant who does not prioritise your business’s needs.

4. Missed deadlines. This is the big one. If you have sent your accountant your completed paperwork on time, there is absolutely no excuse for your tax return or year-end accounts to be filed late. It’s time to look for a new accountant.

5. Incompatible goals. Your accountant should work to help you achieve your financial objectives – not hinder your progress. They should listen and have a deep understanding of your business, its processes, and your goals and aspirations.

6. Business growth. As your business expands, its financial complexities grow as well. If your current accountant struggles to keep pace with your evolving needs or lacks experience in handling larger financial portfolios, it may be time to switch.

7. High costs. Do your accountancy fees constantly rise year on year – yet you see little or no added benefit? A transparent and fair fee structure is essential in maintaining a healthy financial relationship with your accountant. If you can no longer justify the rising prices, it may be time to change accountant.

8. Lack of proactivity. Your accountant should work with you to identify risks and opportunities, offer yearly reviews and advice, and prioritise your business’s long-term financial well-being. If they fail to provide any guidance for future financial planning and growth opportunities, it might be time to change accountants.

Common Worries About Switching Accountants

It’s natural to be cautious when contemplating a shift in financial management. Changing accountants is a major decision that often causes concern.

Some of the most common worries we hear at Mollan & Co include:

  • “But I’m still waiting for last year’s accounts!”

Your business should not have to suffer because your current accountant is late. By switching accountants, your new accountant will be able to apply pressure and speed things up for you.

  • “Can I change accountants before year end?”

Often, the best time to make a switch is before a year end, so any advice can be actioned before it’s too late. During a changeover, most accountants have an obligation to provide handover information to the new accountant within a couple of weeks.

This isn’t something you have to worry about, however – your new accountant will oversee the process.

  • “I’m worried HMRC will start a tax inspection if I change accountants.”

Many factors are involved in HMRC’s decision to select – or not select – a business for tax inspection. As far as Mollan & Co are aware, changing accountants is not one of these factors.

switching accounting

 

It’s also worth keeping in mind that staying with a poor or inaccurate accountant may actually increase your chances of inspection.

 

 

 

How To Find A New Accountant

Selecting a new accountant is a critical decision. To make the right choice, start by assessing your specific financial needs. Are you looking for assistance with tax planning, bookkeeping, or broader financial consulting? This will help narrow down the expertise you need from your new accountant.

Specific experience in your industry is invaluable, as it ensures your accountant can provide tailored insights and solutions.

Once you know what you need, a great way to start looking for a new accountant is by asking for personal recommendations from trusted friends, colleagues, suppliers, or other professionals, such as your lawyer or bank manager. Google, TrustPilot and social media are also excellent ways to start your search.

Next, research the credentials of your potential accountants. Look for professionals with certifications as a sign of competence. For instance, Mollan & Co is certified by IFA (Institute of Financial Accountants).

Pay close attention to the accountant’s fee structure. Ensure it aligns with your budget and seek transparency in pricing.

Finally, the personal and professional compatibility between you and the accountant is very important. Their experience and price may be ideal, but can you work closely with them?

We recommend narrowing your list down to two or three options and meeting each one in person to ensure the “fit” is right.

 

The Switching Process: Step By Step

The process of switching accountants if often much easier than you might expect. Most of the initial work will normally be overseen and managed by your new accountant – who should ensure a smooth transition.

Here’s what a typical accountant switch looks like with Mollan & Co:

1. Agree services, fees and terms. We will set out the terms of the agreement in a written engagement letter of services, which is signed by all parties.

2. Identity checks. You will need to provide us with confirmation of both yours and your business’s identity. This might include passport, driving licence, shareholder details etc.

3. Authorise your new accountant. You will be asked to sign a document known as a 64-8 which will officially appoint us as your Agent and allow us to discuss your tax affairs with HMRC. Sometimes this process is completed online, which means you’ll receive an authorisation code from HMRC that you must forward to us.

4. The handover. Once the paperwork has gone through, we’ll send a Clearance Letter to your old accountant requesting various handover papers, along with copies of previous years’ accounts and tax returns. Your old accountant has a duty to respond within a reasonable time scale. If not, we’ll actively chase and apply suitable pressure to ensure everything is tidied up.

5. Review. Once we receive all the records from your old accountant, we’ll undertake a full review of the paperwork and ask questions to ensure we understand your account and can offer appropriate help and advice moving forward.

Ready To Switch?

A good accountant will help your business grow and reach its potential by managing your complex tax compliance and offering long-term financial planning.

Changing Accountant York

The best accountants will become a close business partner whose practical advice you can rely on for many years to come.

Mollan & Co have over 40 years of experience as accountants for businesses across the UK. Our expert team of financial professionals are passionate about helping our clients reach their business potential.

If you think Mollan & Co may be the right accountancy firm for you, then please contact us today to arrange a free consultation.

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