Can you change accountants at any time?

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    Whether your business has evolved or you seek a fresh perspective, the process of changing accountant is simpler than your current accountant may lead you to believe.

    You can generally switch accountants at any time during the year. However, it’s often beneficial to do it at the start of a new financial year or at least when trading activity is at its lowest to avoid any potential complications or delays.

    At Jameco Group, we’ll help you make the transition with minimal fuss, effort, and disruption to your business operations. Let’s explore the steps to changing your accountant and unlocking a brighter financial future for your business. Contact us today to arrange an in-depth consultation.

    Is it difficult to switch accountants?

    Despite the common hesitation associated with changing to a new accountant, it’s crucial to recognise the potential financial benefits. Rest assured, the process of changing accountants itself doesn’t have to be difficult.

    A smooth transfer from your existing accountant is possible with the correct planning and implementation. Too many small business owners stay with their current accountant for fear of it being a messy process, but they actually cause themselves even more pain in the long run.

    If you believe it’s in the best interest of your profitability and tax affairs, don’t delay in finding a new accountancy firm. And if your current accountant gets wind of the fact you’re not impressed, don’t let them put you off finding a new accountant by convincing you it’s tricky – it really isn’t the case!

    At Jameco Group, we can take care of most of the work on your behalf, typically in a matter of weeks.

    When is a good time to change accountants?

    Timing is key when considering a switch to new accountants. Many sole traders and freelancers find it convenient to coincide with the beginning of the new tax year in April, with a very common date being March 31st.

    Limited companies usually try and change accountants at the end of their trading year or VAT period. Although this keeps it simple leaving a clean break from their previous accountant, it doesn’t mean we cannot help you switch mid-year!

    How do I switch from my current accountant to a new one?

    Switching from your old accountant to a new accountant doesn’t have to be a hassle. It should only take a few weeks, and we’ll take care of most of the work on your behalf.

    Follow our recommended steps for a smooth transition:

    1. Research: You don’t want your fresh start to turn sour, so make sure you change your accountant for the better. Find one that suits your needs and specialises in your industry (for example, you may seek a specialist construction or limited company contractor accountant). Don’t forget to check out their reviews – take a look at our reviews here.
    2. Onboarding: Once you’ve found a new accountant, you’ll need to complete the necessary paperwork. When you sign with Jameco, you need to complete a registration form and sign a new engagement letter, as well as provide a recent utility bill and form of ID for our anti-money laundering compliance checks.
    3. Notify your old accountant: Email your current accountant and inform them of your decision to switch. They’ll provide you with an official disengagement letter. Copy us into the email declaring you are happy for us to access the required financial information. We’ll take things from here, you can finally relax! We’ll liaise with them to obtain your accounting information, financial year-end accounts, previous tax records and software logins.
    4. Assign authority: We will request agent authorisation, known as a 64/8. You will receive a letter from HMRC containing a unique code for each tax we need access to. Just pop these over to us when they arrive in the post. As your new accountant, it allows us to file taxes and deal with HMRC on your behalf.

    It really is as simple as that: choose your accountant based on their expertise and value rather than price, and hopefully, it will be the last time you need to change accountants!

    Looking for a new accountant? Switch to Jameco Group today!

    At Jameco Group, we work with many types of business owners, including small businesses, sole traders, limited company contractors, and medium-sized businesses, with employees and turnover exceeding £1,000,000. Whatever the size of your business and whatever stage of your business journey you’re on, we can help.

    We believe in a personalised approach and can put together a tailored accounting package with an affordable monthly fee. Not only will we save you time and ensure you stay compliant, but as your business advisors, we will strive to help make you more profitable and grow your business sustainably.

    Contact us today to get the ball rolling.

    Conclusion

    Changing accountants needn’t be hard work. Whether your reason for changing is hidden costs, overdue key dates, penalties, poor advice or lack of tax planning, don’t delay. For the good of your business, seek a new accountant as soon as you feel things are not right. Just make sure it’s the right accountant – an old saying springs to mind “Don’t jump out of the frying pan into the fire”!

    FAQs

    What is a letter of engagement?

    A letter of engagement is a formal document you will receive annually from your accountancy firm. In your first year, it’s often combined with the initial proposal you receive from the new accountant.

    The document sets out the accountant’s terms and conditions, fees, service expectations and responsibilities for both the accounting firm and the client. The purpose of this document is to protect both the accountant and the client.

    Any firm looking to provide an accountancy service without issuing a letter of engagement should ring alarm bells. It is essential for anyone managing your company’s tax affairs, and the letter is often mandatory for registration to any of the UK’s professional bodies.

    Without a letter of engagement, should anything go wrong, it may prove a tough battle to get the promised service from your new accounting firm.

    Do you have to tell your existing accountant you want to change?

    While it is considered professional and courteous to inform your existing accountant that you intend to change, there is no legal requirement that mandates you to do so. That being said, most accountants, including Jameco, require professional clearance prior to acting as your new accountant.

    The reason accounting firms do this isn’t to discuss you behind your back. We will send an email to request professional clearance, and your previous accountant will let us know if there’s anything we should know about in addition to our anti-money laundering check or whether there are any professional reasons as to why we should decline to act on your behalf.

    It also provides an opportunity for the existing accountant to tie up any loose ends and complete outstanding work, such as filing annual accounts or tax returns that fall within their existing schedule of work.

    By remaining civil when switching accountants, your old firm is more likely to send over your accounts and tax records without hesitation (providing there are no unpaid fees on your account). It’s worth bearing in mind that some accounting firms may charge a small fee to transfer your information to your new accountant.

    What should you do if your previous accountant is not providing professional clearance?

    If you’re facing challenges getting professional clearance from your previous accountant, it’s important to take the right steps without jumping to conclusions. Be sure to document your requests in writing and provide clear information on what you need.

    Be patient but persistent in following up. If you still encounter difficulties, we would recommend contacting the accountant’s professional body. Chartered accountants are bound by a code of ethics and could well be in breach of their terms.

    One of the most common delays when changing accountants is when customers fail to clear their bill in full, so be sure to settle up in full to ensure the process goes smoothly.

    James Wheeler, founder and managing directors of Jameco Group
    James Wheeler

    James has over 10 years of experience in accountancy and taxation. He has a real passion for business and truly believes SMEs are the heart of the UK economy. In 2017, he founded Jameco Group to provide first-class accountancy, taxation, and business advisory services to individuals and SMEs across the UK.

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