How to change accountants successfully in 4 easy steps

Your accountant plays a key role in the financial heartbeat of your business. A good accountant should be responsible not only for understanding tax legislation and remitting your taxes on time, but they should also be responsible for helping you manage your finances. That includes everything from creating a budget to helping you understand your cash flow and becoming a more profitable enterprise in the process.

Sometimes, that relationship can break down or simply be outgrown and today on the blog we want to show you that on those rare occasions it is easier than you think to correct that situation. Here’s our guide on how and when to change accountants.

Simon Oxley, Valued accounting

Reasons to change accountants

  • The service level is not as it should be - it is crucial that you feel completely happy with the service you receive from your accountant.
  • You feel you could save more money in tax - opportunities to save on tax are part of a good accounting service.
  • Problems with HMRC - accountants should be up to date on tax legislation and tax deadlines. Receiving poor advice, or delays on submissions and emittance leading to complications with HMRC is not acceptable.
  • Poor communication - a lack of communication throughout the tax year leading to issues with PAYE or cash flow is not great service.
  • They aren’t there when you need them - you can’t raise your accountant on the phone or via email when you have important business to attend to.
  • High fees vs. value - if you feel your accountant’s fee structure is no longer providing you with value for money then it might be time to change.
  • Switching to cloud accounting - if your current accounting firm does not provide cloud software as standard (which will be a legal requirement very soon), then you will need to consider a switch.
  • You have outgrown your current accountant offering -  maybe your accountant works solely with small businesses. Outgrowing your current plan and not having a new plan to move to with your existing accountant is reason enough to seek a new accounting representative.

What to consider before you switch

There are several reasons why you may wish to change accountants. It could be as simple as your business has outgrown the capacity of your solo accountant. Whatever the reason we want you to consider the following.

Firstly, check your current agreement and make sure you understand the timing. This is important because there will be a level of handover between your current accountant and your new one. It might be better to wait for a fresh financial quarter or year to start the handover process from one accountant to another.

This brings us to the second point to consider, the scope of outstanding work. If you switch accountants next month is there any work that needs to be finished in that time frame? If so, what is it, what do you need to provide and how long will it take to complete? Discussing this with your accountant and making sure to leave on good terms makes for a smooth and easy transition, with work completed as you need it.

Finally, you will need to discuss fees. What fees do you have outstanding for work completed and what will you owe once the remaining scope of work is complete? Making sure these invoices are paid on time, or disputes on fees are settled will make switching accountants easier and less painful.

4 simple steps to switch accountants easily

Here at Valued, we believe that changing your accountant should be an easy process, so we have made it very simple to do. There are just 4 simple steps to follow when you switch to us and we handle the rest!

1. Contact us and start the migration process

You can book your discovery call here, after which we will quote the scope of work and fee structure we discussed in our call. Once you have approved this (and we have completed legal finance checks, which take a few days), you will need to tell us who your contact at the current accountant is and what their email address is. We will contact them on your behalf to introduce ourselves and start the migration process.

This will trigger a disengagement letter from your current accountant, outlining the remaining work and fees as per your earlier agreement. At which time they will receive from us a professional clearance letter, asking for any relevant paperwork.

We will also send you an engagement letter at this stage, which you will need to sign and return to us.

2. Tell us about your accounting software (we can help you set this up)

As we make the switch we will need to know if you own a subscription to Xero or any other accounting software, or if your current accountant does. This will allow us to plan for the smooth switch over of your digital records.

If you do not work with a digital accounting system yet, then we recommend Xero, a reliable and robust system which will grow with your business. We can also help you set this up, recommend and implement suitable integrations and train staff.

3. Invite us into your software

If you own the subscription to your accounting software, all we need is an invite to access that software to complete our work. If your accountant owns the software you use to complete your accounts, we will contact them to transfer the subscription. In both cases, we can provide full instructions on how to do that.

4. Sign and return your 68-4 form to us

To make sure we can legally act on your behalf with HMRC we will need you to complete and return a 68-4 form (authorising a tax agent form). We can then submit this on your behalf to carry out individual tax affairs (Self Assessment, partnerships, trusts, tax credits and individuals under PAYE) and business taxes (VAT, PAYE for employers and Corporation Tax).

It is as simple as that to get started with us as your new accountant!

Want to find out more about us before you book a call? Join us on our about page, where you can find out who we are and how we work to partner with you along your entrepreneurial journey.