Changing Your Accountant
Accountants are like bank accounts in that people change them rarely and reluctantly. However, there often comes a time when change is advisable or may even be inevitable.
Having a good accountant is invaluable for any business because the accountant will provide support and advice to help your company grow, achieve maximum profitability, minimise tax liability and conform to legislation. The accountant will become familiar with the way you operate and tailor the service to precisely meet your needs.
That’s the way it’s supposed to work but, of course, it doesn’t always happen as you’d wish. If your accountant doesn’t meet your needs, find one that does. The service may be poor, there may be errors and omissions in what’s provided, a lack of proper communication or the accountant may simply not have knowledge or experience of the contractor market. Even if the service is good initially, you may outgrow it or the quality may change.
Many people say that changing your accountant is a straightforward process. It is if you follow the correct procedure and choose wisely to avoid repeating the process quickly.
Choose an accountant that has professional qualifications, experience of contracting and the resources to meet your needs. A wrong choice may not only produce a poor service but also alert HMRC if the firm is questionable.
There is no real ‘right’ time to change your accountant, generally as soon as possible if you’re unhappy with the service. However, it’s probably best to avoid periods of high activity (such as the year end), when either side is awaiting action from the other or there are undischarged responsibilities. Unpaid fees or disputes are likely to delay the changeover procedure.
When you decide to go ahead and have chosen your new accountant, there are certain steps to follow:
- Write to your existing accountant, either by email or letter, advising of your intention to change. Notify the name of the new accountant, ask for information to be supplied to them and request any work still to be done.
- Complete any registration form provided by your new accountant. They are also legally required to undertake anti-money laundering checks on you.
- Obtain and complete form 64-8 to authorise HMRC to communicate with the new accountant on your behalf.
- Sign a letter of engagement provided by your new accountant.
- Once your new accountant has received professional clearance from the previous one and all accounting information is transferred, the process is complete.
If you act professionally, everything should go smoothly. However, problems and delays can arise if there are unpaid fees, outstanding issues or disputes. If you can’t reach an amicable agreement, you may need to resort to arbitration, legal action or a formal complaint to the accountant’s professional body.
Whatever accountant you choose, it’s still your responsibility to submit returns, pay due taxes and keep adequate records. That’s made easier if you choose Phoenix Cloud Accounting, which provides all the tools and support you need.