Now you have made your decision to change accountants (obviously to us lovely folks at D&K accounting). What happens now? What does the process look like? What will you have to do?
Changing accountants can feel like a big step to most business owners, who worry that it will cause confusion and chaos in their business finances. They may also worry that it will take up additional man hours that they just do not want to commit so would rather carry on with their current relationship even if it is not working.
So, what as a business owner should you expect once you have interviewed your new accountant and decided that you wish to work together.
Firstly – signing a new terms of business/engagement letter with your new accountant. This lays out the responsibilities of both parties and creates a legal agreement that both are bound to. If you have not signed one of these with your current accountant or your new accountant this would give me cause for concern that they are not a member of a registered body for accountants such as the AAT or ACCA. From here you should be clear on what price you are to pay and what value you are going to receive.
Secondly – professional clearance, your new accountant will request professional clearance from your current accountant this way they know that your previous accountant is up to date with payments from you and also this gives them all the information that your new accountant needs to be sent across. This is important for both sides, as the new accountant they want to ensure that they are taking on a client who has paid their bill and not leaving a trail of outstanding debts additionally, as a professional curtesy it is bad practice to leave the existing accountant out of pocket for the work they have completed.
Finally – you will need to give your new accountant authority to access your tax accounts online with HMRC.
I know that this all sounds far to simple, the reality is a lot more will be happening in the background which you will be unaware of. For example if you are using online software such as Quickbooks or Xero these will be moved across to the new accountant so that they can view all your financial information. They may migrate you from Xero to Quickbooks as part of the process (or vice versa) the accountant should ensure that this is a seamless process, and all the relevant data aligns.
What could possibly go wrong with such a simple process?
The most frequent issues that we have seen are clients moving from an accountancy practice who is not part of a professional body such as AAT, ACCA or CIMA. If they are not regulated by a body such as this then they have no code of conduct which needs to be followed, in recent months we have seen such joys as:
- Emails being ignored.
- Incomplete client data being sent across.
- Denials that requests have been sent.
- Taking months to send across urgent information.
- Incorrect data being sent across.
These issues are normally swiftly resolved by our team however, as they are unregulated, they will have no controlling body to help ensure that best practices are being followed.
The feedback that we normally see from clients is that the process was seamless and far less stressful than they anticipated.
If you want to know a bit more about what it would look like for you then please do book in for a conversation with Dan – here!