Want to change accountants?
Many accountants now specialise in one particular area, and know little about current developments in others
There are many reasons why you may wish to change accountants, but the biggest issues are, who do you choose and when?
To make those decisions, you need to answer three key questions. The first may seem obvious: can they do the job? The answer isn’t that simple. Accountancy is now a very wide subject, with constantly changing rules. Many accountants now specialise in one particular area, and know little about current developments in others. Choosing the wrong accountant can increase your bills or produce incorrect accounts depending on whether or not they’re knowledgeable about your line of business.
Can I communicate with them? Clearly you need to be able to communicate easily with your accountant to get the best from them. This includes how comfortable you feel asking them questions, and whether their replies are understandable and helpful. Also, don’t ignore the issue of accessibility; a common reason for changing accountants is moving house.
Who will do what? When you’ve settled on a new accountant, you have to decide who will do what, and make sure both parties understand and agree. You may want to reassign jobs, for example bringing your bookkeeping in-house.
Changing over is relatively easy, if it only applies to year end accounts or tax returns. Where bookkeeping and payroll are involved it can be more difficult, as these too are best changed at the year end. If you get it wrong, you can end up paying twice. The biggest problem is tax enquiries - any change during an enquiry will mean your new accountant has to get up to speed on the discussions so far.