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Circumstances to Switch Accountants / Change Accountants

Circumstances to Switch Accountants / Change Accountants

Circumstances to Switch Accountants / Change Accountants

Under what circumstances would you switch accountant? Would you look for an alternative if your needs weren’t being met? Of course meeting one person’s needs doesn’t guarantee that that any firm would meet someone else’s—you can’t please all of the people all of the time—but say you were a small business owner expecting the following, can you say categorically that your needs are being met with your current accountant?

  • Is your current accountancy practice available whenever you need to talk to them?
  • Do you have a named account manager?
  • If you call your accountant does your account manager call you back almost immediately, at least within the day, but more often within a couple of hours of calling?
  • Do you get cloud bookkeeping and accounting software provided as part of your accountancy package?
  • Are you satisfied that your accountant is the proactive tax-planning expert that you believed you’d signed up with?
  • Is it guaranteed that you’ll never fall foul of a fine through professional negligence?
  • Last but not least, do you benefit from weekend opening and evening meetings by appointment?

How do I know if my current accountant is no longer meeting my needs?

Delays in communication and responsiveness: If your accountant takes a long time to respond to your queries or requests for information, it may indicate that they are overloaded with work or not prioritizing your needs.

Lack of proactive advice: A good accountant should not only assist with compliance issues but also provide strategic advice to help you grow your business or manage your finances effectively. If your accountant only does the bare minimum and does not offer proactive suggestions, it may be time to consider switching.

Mistakes and errors in your financial reports: Continued errors in your financial statements or tax returns can be a sign that your accountant is not paying enough attention to detail or lacks the necessary expertise.

Limited availability during crucial times: During peak periods such as tax filing deadlines or financial audits, your accountant should be available to provide support and ensure everything runs smoothly. If they are frequently unavailable or unresponsive during critical times, it could be a red flag.

Adherence to fundamental principles: It is crucial for an accountant to adhere to fundamental principles such as integrity, objectivity, professional competence, due care, confidentiality, and professional behavior. Ensuring compliance with these principles is essential when taking on a new client relationship. If your accountant fails to uphold these ethical standards, it may be time to find a new one.

Unexplained fees and charges: If you are receiving unexpected bills or unclear breakdowns of fees from your accountant, it might be a sign that they are not being transparent or upfront about their billing practices. Open communication about fees and charges is essential for a productive client-accountant relationship.

How do I switch from my previous accountant to another?

When transitioning to a new accountant, it is customary for the incoming accountant to submit the required documents to the former accountant for approval. This includes sending a professional clearance letter to the outgoing accountant to request necessary information.

The outgoing accountant may inquire about the reasons for the client switch, primarily for formality purposes. Additionally, the new accountant may charge the contractor accountant an additional fee for the services rendered during this transition process. The new accountant must also decide whether to accept the appointment based on the information provided.

Is it OK to change accountants?

Changing accountants is a straightforward process, contrary to the belief of some accountants. It can be accomplished easily and without consuming additional time. The procedure involves minimal complexity and can be completed quickly.

With the necessary documentation and communication, switching accountants can happen seamlessly. In most cases, the transition between accountants limited companies takes around one to two weeks, ensuring a smooth transfer of financial responsibilities. The process involves changing your professional appointment from one accountant to another, which can be done with minimal complexity.

Is it hard to switch accountants?

It can often be relatively inexpensive to make the switch to a financial planner from an accountant. Before making the switch, ensure that you settle outstanding fees with your current accountant to avoid any disputes. Firstly try and get everything settled with the accountant. Maybe you can call or email them thank you in return and tell them about your new partnership with another business.

What is required to change accountants, including professional clearance?

Once the firm has informed you of their decision to switch to an outgoing accounting firm, it is possible for you to sign a letter of commitment. This letter, known as a professional enquiry letter, requests the outgoing accountant to share your financial information with the new accountant. In this letter, you can inquire the accountancy firm about the possibility of them sharing your financial information with their new accountant. This will enable the new accounting firm to have access to your financial data and ensure a smooth transition in the management of your accounts.

How do you tell your accountant you are leaving and settle outstanding fees?

It is important to inform your accountant and grant them permission to communicate with the relevant parties regarding the letter of engagement paperwork. This allows them to effectively address any financial matters and provide necessary guidance. If you are unsure about how to handle the transition, you can seek guidance from the ICAEW’s Ethics Advisory Service.

Is it complicated to change accountants?

When considering changing accountants, it is advisable to initiate a friendly conversation with your previous accountant or current financial adviser. Reach out to them through a phone call or email if they value your business. Open communication will help streamline the transition process and ensure a smooth changeover. Ensure that both your previous and new accountants are members of a professional body to guarantee compliance with industry standards.

What are the common reasons for changing accountants?

Lack of communication: Clients may change accountants if their current accountant is not proactive in communicating important updates, providing necessary guidance, or promptly responding to queries.

Limited expertise: Business owners may seek a new accountant if their current one lacks sufficient expertise in a particular industry or in handling complex financial matters.

Errors or inefficiencies: Clients may decide to switch accountants if they encounter repeated errors in their financial documents or notice inefficiencies in the way their accounts are managed.

Cost considerations: Changing accountants could be driven by cost-related factors, such as finding a more affordable option or feeling that the current accountant’s fees do not align with the level of service provided.

Personal rapport: A breakdown in the client-accountant relationship, due to personality differences, lack of trust, or mismatched communication styles, can also lead to clients looking for a new accountant who they feel more comfortable working with.

Professional behaviour: If your accountant fails to uphold professional behaviour, it may be time to consider switching. Ethical principles and expectations are fundamental and should be maintained in any client relationship.

Will switching accountants affect my financial records or tax filings?

  • Changing accountants may or may not impact on your financial records and tax filings.
  • When switching accountants, there is a possibility of information gaps or misunderstandings that may affect the accuracy of your records.
  • Your new accountant may need to spend additional time reviewing and reconciling previous records to ensure they have all the necessary information for accurate tax filings.
  • It is important to communicate openly with both your old and new accountants to ensure a smooth transition and transfer of relevant financial data. To ensure a smooth transition, your new accountant will need to obtain professional clearance from your previous accountant.
  • Ultimately, with proper communication and cooperation between both accountants, any potential disruptions to your financial records and tax filings can be minimized.

Steps to Change Accountant

The accounting profession has a clear procedure in place for clients who decide to change accountants each financial year.

Give Notice: If you decided to change accountant for tax returns, write to existing accountant and give notice. A brief email should be sent with all the information and also include the prospective accountant in communication.

Professional Clearance: Once you have given notice your new accountant will write to your new firm and existing accountant to request professional clearance. This is part of due diligence procedures.

Due Diligence: All accountants operating under the compliance structure of an accounting body must conduct due diligence before taking on new clients.

Transfer of Records: When you are done with above procedures your existing accountant will transfer all the records to your new accountants. If your tax affairs and records are held electronically then this should happen quickly.

If you can answer yes to all of these things then maybe your needs are being met, which is fabulous! However, if the list above got you wondering and some of the questions about your needs made you sit up and think, I don’t get that!, then you might be pleased for this thumbs up:

Target Accounting is the fairly priced, expert, digital chartered accountants with branches nationwide that you might be looking for as an alternative.

How can I choose the right new accountant to switch to?

  • Start by determining your specific accounting needs and objectives, such as tax compliance, financial reporting, or strategic financial planning.
  • Research potential accountants by checking their qualifications, certifications, and experience in your industry or with similar businesses.
  • Consider the accountant’s communication style and responsiveness, as clear and timely communication is crucial for a successful working relationship.
  • Seek recommendations from business colleagues, industry networks, or professional associations to find trusted accountants with a strong reputation.
  • Schedule initial consultations with shortlisted accountants to discuss your needs, ask relevant questions, and assess their expertise, professionalism, and compatibility with your business goals.

How long does it take to change accountants?

The time it takes to change accountants can vary depending on several factors, such as the complexity of your financial situation, the responsiveness of both your current and new accountants, and any ongoing projects that need to be completed before the transition.

On average, changing accountants can take anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months. This timeline allows for the necessary paperwork to be completed, any outstanding issues to be resolved, and for a smooth handover of your financial information from your old accountant to your new one.

The process typically starts with informing your current accountant of your decision to switch firms. This can be done via email or in person, and it is important to give them sufficient notice as per the terms of your existing agreement.

Once you have notified your current accountant, you will need to select a new accountant and sign an engagement letter with them. This letter outlines the services they will provide, their fee structure, and any other relevant terms of the engagement.

After the engagement letter is signed, the new accountant will work with you to gather all the necessary financial documents and information from your previous accountant. They will also familiarise themselves with your financial situation and ensure a smooth transition of services to minimise any disruption to your business operations.

Target Accounting UK
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