changing accountants

How Easy Is It To Change Accountants?

Your accountant plays an instrumental role in your business. From providing financial projections to handling your tax returns on time, an accountant can have a dramatic effect on the day-to-day running of your business – and its future growth prospects. Pick the right accountant and you’ll be setting yourself up for success. Pick the wrong one, and you could be jeopardising the success of your company.

Happily, selecting an accountant isn’t a one-time decision. You can switch accountants at any time, and you might be surprised to learn just how simple the process is. In this short guide, we’re going to run through everything you need to know about changing accountants. We’ll discuss the reasons why business owners tend to move accountants, explain how simple the process is and tell you how to get started.

Why and when should I change accountants?

There are a multitude of different reasons why businesses opt to switch to a different accountant. Here are a few of the most common.

  • They’re untrustworthy: In the world of bookkeeping and accounting, timeliness is critical. If your accountant is missing deadlines or leaving things until the last minute, that’s a hassle you can deal without. Not only are they causing you undue stress, they could be costing you money and impacting the financial health of your business. Missed deadlines can result in fines, so if your accountant isn’t keeping up with the workload and is failing to plan ahead, it’s time to switch.
  • They’re too big or too small for your business: Your accountant has to be a good fit for your business. If they’re too small, they may not be able to keep up with the growing demands of your business – and if they’re too big, they might not deliver the kind of tailored, personalised service you’re looking for. If you no longer feel like your accountants are a good fit for your business, it’s prudent to explore other options.
  • They’re too expensive: If you’re not getting value for your money, why stay with the same accountant? If you feel like you’re overpaying and your accountant is underdelivering, that’s a surefire sign that it’s time to switch.
  • They don’t offer what you need: Your accountant should always understand the specific needs of your business (and be able to serve them). If they don’t understand what you need or can’t give you the level of insight you’re looking for, you should consider moving to a different firm.

How do I move accountants?

The process of switching accountants is relatively simple. Here’s a step-by-step run-through of what to expect.

  1. Find a new accountant: The first step, naturally, is to find a new accountant. Make sure they are a good fit for your business and have a solid reputation.
  2. Let your current accountant know you plan to leave: Once you’ve decided on a new accountant, you need to let your existing firm know that you plan to leave. You’ll need to provide them with the details of your new accountant and give them permission to communicate with them on your behalf.
  3. Ask your current accountant for a disengagement letter: Make sure you obtain a disengagement letter from your outgoing accountant. This should include information about the work they’ve completed for you in the past, along with any important dates or pieces of information your new accountant will need to know.
  4. Obtain a professional clearance letter: This document should be written by your new accountant and sent to your outgoing one, requesting clearance to take you on as a client and asking for access to any pertinent paperwork.
  5. Complete the switchover: The final step is to assign authority to your new accountants, who will then be able to complete tax returns on your behalf. 

How easy is it to move accountants?

If all of the steps above sound complicated or overwhelming, don’t panic: the process is usually very straightforward and pain-free. Both your current and new accountants will have overseen client switchovers countless times and should be able to handle the process without much input from you.

Find out how Stonehouse can help your business

Want to learn more about changing accountants or discuss your requirements with a member of our team? With more than 40 years of experience and a personalised, tailored approach, we can complete the changeover process on your behalf with minimal hassle.

Speak to Stonehouse Accountants today to get your questions answered and begin the switchover process.