Why don’t people change accountants?
Posted on 15th July 2020
We understand that people don’t like changes, especially when it comes to their accountants.
Let’s face it, you would struggle with a business that still worked in pounds, shillings and old pennies. Sometimes we all need to make changes.
So, why don’t people change their accountants when their business changes?
Here are some of the reasons people give for not changing their accountant:
Cost – your choice of accountant isn’t a cost to your business, it’s an investment. A good accountant will help you to minimise costs and reduce your tax liabilities. You can improve your cashflow and your business will be healthier.
However, not all accountants are the same and the cheapest option is not always the best choice.
Some accountants will simply wait for you to deliver your year-end figures and submit them in the right format to Companies House and HMRC.
Others will want to learn about your business and trading patterns and help you to be more profitable. They can explain different options to make the most of your assets. They can help you plan for future growth, to sell your company, or to retire; whatever is important to you.
Loyalty – if you have worked with your accountant for several years, you could assume that their services are the same as every other accountant, so there’s no reason to change. However, you might be surprised at how much help is available for you.
You deserve the best advice for your business, so it’s worth checking with other accountants every year to confirm what they can do to support you and how much they will charge.
For example, you might discover that your current accountant will charge you extra for valuable services like financial reports that are included in the packages offered by other accountants.
It’s difficult – you might think that it will be too difficult to change if you have used the same accountant for a long time. How will someone new learn about your business and understand all the finances and their implications?
In fact, this is what accountants are trained to do, and a new perspective is often very helpful.
If you decide to change your accountant it’s really very easy. You just let your current accountant know you plan to change and whether you expect any outstanding work to be completed, like your year-end accounts, for example.
There’s a standard ‘professional clearance’ letter that your new accountant will send to your current accountant to confirm that they can now work with you, and asking for your files. Your new accountant will also send you a letter of ‘professional engagement’ to confirm how you will work together. You will need to give them certain information to comply with anti money laundering legislation.
A simple form will give your new accountant permission to act as your agent with HMRC.
Signs that it’s time to change your accountant:
Last minute information – if you provide financial information to your accountant regularly, they should be letting you know, ideally every quarter, how much you need to put by to pay your taxes, VAT and any other financial liabilities. If this isn’t happening and you are worried every year about how much you will need to pay for your tax and other bills then you should speak with some other accountants.
Difficult working relationships – your accountant should be part of your business team; someone you know, like and trust. If you feel that the time you spend with them is wasted it’s a clear sign that they aren’t providing you with useful, actionable advice that helps you to run your business. It’s time to talk to some new people.
Confusing figures – your accountant should explain clearly and simply what your figures mean for you and your business. They should also be able to show with clear and practical examples what difference various changes will make. They should be actively updating you throughout the year about what has changed, and what can be changed, to help you achieve your goals.
Not using the latest tools – if your business figures are a mystery to you and the only way to find out the details is to call or visit your accountant then ask about accounting software in the Cloud.
The government’s Making Tax Digital (MTD) scheme means using the latest online software will simplify your tax returns. You will also be able to see exactly what’s happening in your business at any time using a desktop computer, laptop, tablet device or mobile phone. You’ll be surprised at how much can be automated too, saving you valuable time.
Surprise bills – do you regularly receive unexpected invoices from your accountant for telephone calls or work in addition to your contracted package of services? This is a worry for you and a sign that your current accountant is either very inflexible or doesn’t understand your business requirements.
Extra charges should always be agreed with you in advance. In most cases you should be able to tell your accountant which services you need and pay a simple monthly fee.
Lack of interest – if you feel that your accountant has little interest in you or your business then it’s certainly time to look for an alternative. If you don’t feel that you’re receiving a good service, it’s time to move on.
We are really interested in how every business works and will be happy to give you a free, no obligation review of your current finances. Let’s have a chat.
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