How To Switch Accountants

Find out how easy the switch can be 

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Switching Accountant

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There are various reasons as to why you may choose to switch accountants. Some of these reasons can be inevitable, or merely down to a shift in the needs of your business. If you have concerns about the relationship between your business and your current accountants, it is important to be as informed as possible in recognising when it is the right time to move on, and how the process works.

A New Accountant

Make sure you are getting good value for money. Before you sign with any accountant, you would usually check the terms and conditions of the anticipated relationship between your business and them, and what services they will provide in return for your payment. If your investment into an accountancy firm isn’t reaping the promised benefits initially made by them, then perhaps it is time to look into finding a new, more effectual partnership elsewhere.

It is crucial that your accountant understands the fundamentals of your business and its aims, as this could save you money. An accountant that has procured an in depth understanding of your company’s work processes and activity will have the capacity to give substantial advice on how to navigate your tax handlings, including where it may be possible to apply for Tax Incentives. This kind of investment from your accountant is key, but if you feel as though your accountant has become distant, then you should consider this a reason to switch.

There are a couple of reasons as to why your accountant may seem passive. If the accountancy firm you are signed with is growing exponentially, the increasing cohort of businesses they are dealing with may result in a less attentive approach on their behalf. Conversely, your business may be outgrowing your accountancy firm, which may render them incapable of dealing with your expanding needs and requirements. This kind of passive relationship between your business and accountants can lead to problems, such as missing deadlines on tax returns, which ultimately leads to fines. If your accountants aren’t a functioning part of the fabric of your business, then we recommend switching.

Besides factors based on a decline in your relationship with your current accountant being the central reason for switching, there may be other, more inevitable reasons for seeking a new accountant too. For example, the retirement of your accountant, which would naturally require you to switch.  

A Smooth Transition

A few considerations need to be made when switching accountants to ensure it is efficient and hassle free.

Timing will play a role in your smooth transition to a new company and can be used to its advantage for everyone concerned. We recommend, if you’re thinking of switching accountants, that you consider timing the switch so that it coincides with a quiet period in your accountancy activity. Perhaps the most appropriate time would be the end of the businesses accounting year ( this is not always April 5th but is  the time of year that you first set the business up).

You also need to ensure that you fulfil any necessary outstanding payments or responsibilities to your current accountants before you make the switch. If these requirements aren’t met beforehand, it could hinder the process of your transition.

What Do I Need From My Accountants?

Transitioning your accounts from one firm to another requires co-operation from both sides.

New Accountants- They will need to write to your old accountants. A professional clearance letter is a formal document asking for clearance from them to transfer your accounts over, to request any necessary documents, and to undertake a reference check.

Current accountants- They will need to provide the new firm you have chosen with a disengagement letter, entailing details of all the work and documents they have completed for you thus far.

What Do I Need To Do?

There are a few relatively simple steps you need to take when switching accountants. This is to ensure everything is done in accordance with legalities, and so that each party is satisfied, and no problems arise.

Notifying your old accountants- Firstly, your current accountancy firm needs to be notified. If you make your new accountants aware that you are drafting a letter of notice to them, they may offer you assistance with this, for reassurance.

Documents- You will need to register with your new accountants, providing them with some personal and business information, so that they can follow up on some background checks. You will also need to assign authority to them to manage your tax returns. A 64-8 is a quick and easy two-page legal document that you can find on the HMRC website. Once this is documented, all of your tax letters and information will be sent directly to your new accountants. You can find this document here. However, one of the many perks of signing up with HDH Accountants is that we would deal with this process for you.

Engagement letter- This will detail the anticipated fulfilments that shall be met, both by your new accountants and yourself. It will also help you recognise whether the accountancy firm belong to a recognised professional body.

With there being so many accountancy firms out there and little regulation on the expertise and qualifications necessary to create one, credibility is equally as important as the services they are offering.

At HDH Accountants, we pride ourselves on being transparent. If you are considering switching accountants, and need guidance, we would be happy to provide you with a clear and honest brief as to what to look out for when making this decision.

Interested in switching to HDH Accountants? We have over twenty years of experience in the industry. Our expert team take a proactive approach to working with you and can give step by step guidance to ensure that your switch is as clear, easy and efficient as possible. Minimising tax related workload for businesses is the essence of what we do and is central to our service from the initial point of contact with clients, to managing their accounts in the long term.

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