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How to switch accountants…

February 9, 2016

You’ve been working with your accountant for a while, but now its time for a change. What happens now? Do you need to serve notice? Is there an exit charge? Will there be a proper handover? We can put your mind at rest. Clients switch accountants all the time for a whole range of reasons. And the professional practices should go out of their way to make the transfer as simple and worry-free as possible. So here are few things you should know:

  • A well organised accountant will have an engagement process to ensure that you are quickly set up as a client. This will ensure that they have all your registration details that they need to do your work, such as your UTR or your VAT number, and that they are able to act as your agent when dealing with HMRC.
  • Your new accountant should also provide you with an engagement letter, which sets out the terms and conditions, and a schedule of fees and services provided.
  • Accountants who are members of a professional body have a duty to follow a formal clearance process. This ensures that records are transferred from the retiring accountant to the new one.
  • There is no legal requirement for you to inform your retiring accountant that you intend to switch. With your permission your new accountant can do that for you as part of the clearance process. However you may prefer to inform the retiring accountant first as a matter of courtesy, particularly if you are parting on good terms.
  • Normally there should be no contractual reason to stop you from switching accountants. Nor should you be charged a termination fee. However you will need to settle any amounts you owe for work that they have done.
  • The retiring accountant has a duty to respond promptly to a clearance request. In practice some accountants take longer than others, but your new accountant will make sure the request is followed up.

If it sounds a little bit daunting, don’t worry. A good accountant will take control of the entire process to make sure that you are quickly set up as a client. At Beans we make sure that switching to us is seamless so that your business can continue as normal.