If, for whatever reason, you are thinking of changing accountants you may believe that the whole process will take several months and take up a lot of your time, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
The majority of the work required is bourne by your new accountant, with little input required by yourself. We can summarise the steps below:
The first step, and almost certainly the most important one is choosing the right accountant. You will already have an idea of what you are looking for in an accountant but here are a few things you should consider:
Do they supply all the services you require, such as tax planning and advice?
You should ask for a proposal of fees up front so you can be sure what you are going to be paying over the coming year, you wouldn’t want any unexpected bills in the future.
In the ever changing world of accounting you should expect a personal contact who will help with all your day to day business dealings along with a partner level contact for more complex queries.
Use of online accounting packages are becoming the norm these days and it is important that your accountant has expertise in such packages.
The second step is for you to inform your current accountant that you are moving accountants. Make sure you read your letter of engagement, as you may need to give 30 days notice.
You can then leave everything else to your new accountant, they will:
Contact your previous accountant to request professional clearance. At this stage your new accountant will also ask for various pieces of information to aid the handover. There are rarely any fees charged from your previous accountant for providing this.
Your new accountant will then draw up a letter of engagement that sets out the expectations of each party, the level of service to be provided, and the agreed fees. You will be required to sign and return this document. Your new accountant will also request authorisation with various HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) departments, this will allow them to speak to HMRC on your behalf.
The final stage of the handover will involve your new accountant bringing your affairs up to date, enabling them to provide the agreed level of service.