How to make the switch from one accountant to another
Accountants are important to the functioning and profitability of a company. As well as managing business accounts they ensure a business is compliant with the latest tax legislation and runs as tax-efficiently as possible. There comes a time when your business grows or changes, meaning you can be faced with the difficult decision of having to change to a new accountant.
We are often approached by prospective clients who are wondering how to change accountants. Many accountants will tell you that switching from one to another is a time consuming and expensive process. However, we have streamlined the process, so it can be carried out fairly easily. Read on to find out how to change accountants.
Reasons for changing accountants
There are a number of reasons you might be thinking about changing accountants. The most common reason we are given from prospective clients who are looking to change their accountant is that their own accountant is not being proactive is advising them or that their business has grown or changed and their current accountant cannot cater to the needs of the business. Other possible reasons for wanting to change your accountant include:
- A declining or poor level of service where for example, your accountant is not responsive to your needs
- You have received poor advice from your accountant resulting in issues with HMRC
- Your current accountant is unable to handle urgent matters
- Your accountant is about to retire and you’re looking for a fresh, new start
What to consider before switching accountants
You should not rush into the process of changing accountants and you need to consider when is the best time for the handover to take place between your current and prospective accountant. Try to plan to carry out this switch when there is as little activity as possible and avoid changing accountants mid-way through the production of reports or an audit.
Take the time to also ensure all your financial responsibilities have been taken care of. Loose ends such as disputes over unpaid fees often cause delays and disruptions to the smooth transfer from one accountant to the other.
5 simple steps to switching accountants
If you would like to switch accountants and join our experienced team here at Alexander & Co, here are some steps to assist you. If you do have any questions, please contact us and a member of our team will be happy to help you make the switch.
1. Changing accountants letter
You will first need to write an accountant termination letter advising your current accountant that you will be switching to another firm and for them to provide any information requested by the new accountants. Within this letter to change accountants, you should also confirm if there is any expectation for finalised work such as completing the financial year-end accounts.
2. Registering with a new accountant
Your new accountant will send a form for you to complete your registration with them which will include your personal, as well as company information. According to UK law, your new accountant will carry out anti-money laundering checks on you, so you will have to provide a scan of your passport or driving license as well as a recent utility bill.
3. Sign a new 64-8 form for your new accountant
By signing a new 64-8 form you will authorise the new accountant to deal with the HMRC for your personal and company tax affairs. Alternatively, you can use the HMRC’s online authorisation service to complete this step of the handing over process.
4. Read through the Letter of Engagement
It is strongly recommended that any accountancy firm that you engage with is a member of a recognised professional body, such as the ICAEW. In this case, they are obliged to send through a ‘Letter of Engagement’. Make sure to read through it carefully as it sets out the expectations and requirements between you and the new accountant.
5. Letter requesting Professional Clearance
Your new accountant will write to your previous one requesting what is known as professional clearance. This explains to your previous accountant that you have contacted the new accountant to represent you and if there are any professional reasons as to why they should not accept the appointment. The letter requesting documents from the previous accountant will include a request for any copies of accounts, tax records, tax returns and any other information they may need.
Just a few weeks later, all your accounting information should have been safely transferred to your new accountant. If there is any outstanding work to be completed to bring your accounts up to date, you may have to negotiate this fee with your new accountant.
Why choose Alexander & Co?
At Alexander & Co, we understand finding the right accountant for you is important. Please get in touch if you are ready to discuss how we can work with you. Our guide 10 questions to ask before hiring an accountant, may help you further if you are still undecided.
As business advisors to astute entrepreneurs and established businesses, we work with every single one of our clients to build long-lasting relationships. When you choose Alexander & Co, you can expect industry-leading advice and expertise to help your business reach its full potential.
Contact us for more information
Our accountants in Salford and Manchester City Centre can provide you with expert tax advice and services, wherever you are in the UK. We offer a wide range of accounting services across many different diverse sectors.
To discuss our tax and business advisory services further, you can call our team on 0161 832 4841, email firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch shortly.
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