Changing Accountants

You are not alone in believing that having selected an accountant and then stayed with them for many years it is simply too difficult to change. Many business owners stay with a poor accountant despite the fact that it causes them sleepless nights and costs them a lot of money. In truth your accountant is using emotional blackmail to retain you so is this really a healthy basis for a professional relationship? In reality changing accountants is incredibly easy to do and we can very quickly and easily bring ourselves up to date with your affairs. Don’t forget that the Inland Revenue seldom go back more than 6 years and the VATman seldom more than 3 years so we do not need to have realms of old paperwork relating to your past. It is also very unlikely that your existing accountant has kept all of your old paperwork and has probably already destroyed everything over 6 years old anyway. You don’t have to make excuses or feel embarrassed. It is his fault that you are unhappy not yours, so don’t let him convince you he will change because it is very unlikely that he will. We believe that we can save you more than you will lose so the quicker you reassess your accountancy and tax needs the better you will be both financially and in feeling less stressed.

So what is the process in changing?

It’s very easy. Simply send your old accountant a letter similar to the one further down the page and leave the rest to us.

The Fears of The Existing Business Owner

1. I feel that I am letting my existing accountant down if I move elsewhere.

Many new clients tell us that they feel they are being dishonest and untrustworthy to consider changing to another accountant. These feelings are similar to divorce. However by staying with an accountant just because they have been with him for many years may not be the best thing for your business’s health. Your business may only be suffering fines and penalties but poor advice could result in bankruptcy. You simply have to take a deep breath and move on.

2. Am I stepping from the frying pan into the fire?

Is the new accountant really going to be any better than the old? But if the old one is causing problems or stress you have to make the move because there are lots of great accountants out there. It is simply a matter of finding them. As long as you choose objectively and don’t just accept the first one who comes along then you will be far better off.

3. The fees quoted will always be increased by “extras and add-ons”.

If this is a worry get a fixed quote and make sure it is detailed enough to cover all eventualities. And don’t forget to get it in writing, that way the only extras or add-ons are the ones you specify..

4. A new accountant may be attentive for the initial honeymoon period but then is likely to be just as slow as my existing accountant.

This is a simple matter of reliability and efficiency. Go to their offices and ask to look around. Are there files all over the floor? Are the desks in a mess? Or are they neat and tidy? Perhaps they are using technology to streamline their systems to gain effectiveness. You can learn a lot by simply having a guided tour.

5. An accountant is just an expensive overhead and does not help me to make a profit?

If you waste your time on book keeping and accounts instead of spending your limited and therefore valuable time in generating profit your business will either fail or you will not make the money you could. Every transaction you make, every decision you take has a financial implication. Get your pricing wrong and you will be working for nothing. Fail to get the paperwork in order and you risk investigation and expense of the taxman or vat man visiting you. There are 14 separately identifiable roles within a business and you can only fully understand and cope with a few of them.

6. An accountant is really a “sales prevention officer.”

Entrepreneurs by their nature are optimists who seldom see the downside of their actions. Accountants on the other hand are cautious and tend to look for a downside. They are there to clear up behind the entrepreneur but there will be less to clear up and therefore less money wasted if the entrepreneur uses the accountant more proactively in looking forward. In the biggest companies the Managing Director and Finance Director are always the ones who work closest together so you should work closer to your accountant.

7. I wish I could find an accountant who will give advice.

So many new clients say, “I want an opinion not a series of options.” It is obviously necessary for the accountant to consider all of the options and make sure you know the implications of each. He can point out the pros and cons and may even indicate his preferred option (almost certainly the safest and least risky). However at the end of the day if you are the business owner then you are the decision maker. The buck stops at you.

8. All accountants claim to be business advisers but how do I know they know anything about real business?

The simple answer is age and experience. The older and more widely experienced the accountant is, the more mistakes and successes he has seen. If he has been involved in other business himself instead of only ever being an accountant this may be an advantage too.

Sample Letter to Accountant

Your Business Your Address Your old accountants Dear Sirs, Re: Accountancy Services After much consideration I have decided to change accountants and have approached Burnt Orange Accounting of 1 Spark Terrace, Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire ST4 7QA. This is in no way a reflection of any dissatisfaction but is merely because (eg he is closer, I see him more regularly, she offers proactive business advice, he is a personal friend, there are greater synergies between his business and mine etc) I would be grateful if you would supply Burnt Orange Accounting with all the information they require, when they write to you shortly. May I take this opportunity of thanking you for all of the assistance you have provided me in the past. Yours faithfully, Your Name Your Business