How do I switch accountants?
If you’re considering switching accountants you might think the process will take several months, costing you a lot of time and money.
Switching is actually very simple. Your new accountant should take care of the formalities, with very little input needed from you.
So, if you’re thinking about making the move to a new provider, here are the steps to a smooth handover:
Step 1: Find the right accountant
The most important task is choosing the right accountant. You’ll already have an idea of what you’re looking for but here are a few things you should consider:
1. Specialist Services
Do they supply all the services you require, such as tax-planning and advice? A good accountant should be able to clearly outline their services, so speak to them – email, call – they should be happy to go through your specific needs with you.
What do you get for your fees? Does the value they add to your business outweigh the cost of using them?
2. Fixed Fees
You should ask for a proposal of fees upfront so you know exactly what you’ll be paying over the coming year; you don’t want any unexpected bills.
Some practices charge for each call or email, so it’s worth asking whether you’ll be charged for every little bit of advice, or if they offer a fixed fee service.
3. Personal Touch
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.
4. Cloud Accounting Expertise
Cloud Accounting is becoming the norm these days and with the introduction of Making Tax Digital, it’s important that your accountant has expertise in online accounting software, such as FreeAgent or Quickbooks.
Step 2: Inform your current accountant
Once you’ve found your new accountant, you should inform your current one. Make sure you read your original letter of engagement, as you might need to give notice.
Step 3: Relax
You can leave the legwork to your new accountant. They will…
Get Professional Clearance
Your accountant will contact your previous accountant to request professional clearance. At this stage, your new provider will also ask for various pieces of information to aid the handover.
Write a Letter of Engagement
Your new accountant will then draw up a letter of engagement setting out the expectations of each party, the level of service to be provided, and the agreed fees. You’ll be required to sign and return this document.
Your new accountant will also request authorisation from various HMRC departments, allowing 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.
Will it cost me to switch?
There are rarely any charges for switching, and if your current accountant does charge a fee for the handover, it should be minimal.
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