Would you like to change accountants but are not sure how or what the process is? Follow the simple steps below.
Why would you want to switch accountants?
There are many reasons why you may wish to switch accountants. These include:
- Not providing support expected or additional services
- Poor customer service
- Limited industry knowledge
- Being unresponsive
- Not providing value
It may also be the case your current accountant is retiring or that they are simply not the right fit for your business anymore, particularly if your business has grown.
An accountant is an important part of your business and if you find the right one, they can save you time and money and help your business grow.
A poor accountant can cause all sorts of issues for your business such as missing deadlines, providing bad advice or submitting incorrect information.
How to choose a new accountant
Before you make the switch, you need to take the time to choose the right accountant for your business.
There are a number of things to take into consideration when choosing your new accountant. After all, if you feel the need to change from your existing accountant due to not being happy with them, you don’t want to run into the same issues again.
Take a look at our article on How to Choose an Accountant which covers all the questions you need to ask and what to consider before switching.
Is it easy to switch accountants?
Despite what your current accountant may tell you, it is easy to switch.
How to switch accountants – the process to change
Check any liabilities with your existing accountant
Before switching, ensure all bills have been settled and you are not outstanding any action on your part.
Request advice from your new accountant
They will help with the transition and will already have a draft letter you can sign and send to your old accountant. They will also be able to advise you on the best time to switch from your business point of view.
Consider the best time to switch
It is wise to choose a quieter time in your business to switch accountants. You don’t want to be switching when your accountant is in the middle of completing your year-end accounts. As above, it’s a good idea to speak to your new accountant to find out if there is a good time with them.
Write to your old accountant
You need to inform your old accountant in writing that you are ceasing with their services and moving to a new provider. You will also need to grant them permission to speak to your new accountant and hand over any records and paperwork relating to your business. This can be done via email unless a specific handwritten letter is requested.
Receive a disengagement letter
Your existing accountant will need to give you a disengagement letter which provides details of the work they have completed for you along with key dates and any other relevant information.
Professional clearance letter
Once you have received your disengagement letter, your new accountant will write a professional clearance letter to your previous one. As the name suggests, this letter requests professional clearance to take over your financial affairs and to request any relevant records and paperwork get passed across.
Register with your new accountant
Once your accountant has the necessary clearance, they will either arrange a meeting with you or send you forms to complete in order to register with them. They will also undertake checks for which you will have to provide a current passport or driving licence along with a utility bill.
Letter of engagement
Your new accountant should send you a letter of engagement once you have registered with them. This letter will set out the services they will be providing, and the costs involved along with expectations on both sides of the agreement.
Update your accounting software
If you have accounting software that gives access to your old accountant, ensure you remove their details and set up access for your new accountant.
Change accountant details with HMRC
If your old accountant had agent authority on your behalf with HMRC, you need to update the details. This can be done online or by post. HMRC has full details of how to change or remove your agent’s authorisation. Your new accountant will probably handle this for you.