Knowledge

Five signs it’s time to switch accountants (and how to do it!)

Posted on Oct 1st, 2018 | Tax

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Is your accountant better at invoicing you than they are at looking after your accounts? Here are five signs it’s time to think about switching accountant and some tips on how to easily make the change when you’re ready.

How to tell it’s time to switch accountant

1. You’re paying far too much

Sorting your accounts shouldn’t cost a fortune. If you think you might be paying over the odds, it’s time to shop around. Look for an accountant that offers a variety of packages, ideally at fixed monthly subscription with no extended tie-ins, allowing you to pick the one that’s right for you – otherwise, you’ll be paying for services you don’t need.

2. Your accountant charges you every time you want advice

When you’re running your own business, you need to be sure you’re paying the right amount of tax and claiming everything you’re entitled to. If your accountant is happy to advise on an ad-hoc basis but then delights in sending an invoice for the extra work, a change could be in order.

If you join Crunch, you’ll get unlimited accountancy support relating to your business, so no matter how much help or advice you need you won’t be charged a penny extra.

3. You need to book an appointment to visit your accountant

Taking time out of your day to go and visit your accountant is not only a pain, but it’s also time that could be spent earning money. Switch to an online accountant and you’ll be able to call or email whenever the need arises. At Crunch, you get a dedicated Client Manager who’ll get to know your business inside out. We also pride ourselves on our quick responses, meaning you won’t be waiting for an age to get the advice you need.

4. Your accountant baffles you with endless jargon

There’s no getting away from the fact that the world of accountancy is full of curious and often confusing terminology. But if your accountant uses this to their advantage by rattling off jargon in the hope you’ll go bleary-eyed and simply pay their invoice, you should think about moving your business elsewhere.

We take a jargon-free approach to accounting. Your client manager will always be on hand to explain anything you’re not sure about, while our handy business guides will set you straight on even the most complex of topics.

5. Your accountant demands you fill out an antiquated spreadsheet

With the Self Assessment deadline looming, freelancers, contractors, and small business owners up and down the country are wrestling with the spreadsheet provided by their accountant. One false move, and you’ll accidentally delete a formula that affects the whole spreadsheet.

Far better to shift your accounting online. You’ll be able to see your tax liability at the drop of a hat, as well as raise invoices and record expenses anywhere, anytime. To see what hassle-free accounting feels like, grab a free demo of our software today.

How to switch accountants

The first steps

Many freelancers and contractors are reluctant to end their relationship with an accountant. After all, the accountant holds all the financial information relating to their company – gathering all of that up to then hand over to a new accountant can seem like an arduous task.

First off, check the terms and conditions of your contract. Often there’s a notice period you have to serve with an accountant before you can leave (and stop paying them).

You should always give your accountant notice when you’re leaving their practice.

Your new accountant can ease the process by sending them a professional clearance letter asking for all the relevant documents and information relating to their business.

However, if your current accountant hasn’t been given this notice then the process may take longer or they may choose to ignore the new accountant and only respond to you personally.

Of course, as long as your accountant is registered with a professional body, they’ll be obliged to give this information.

What is a professional clearance letter?

A professional clearance letter is a correspondence that your new accountant will send to your old accountant to ‘ask permission’ to take you on as a client.

It’s also a great opportunity for them to seek out any documents and paperwork the old accountant is happy to part with – or to check if there’s any reason they shouldn’t take you on as a client. It’s not something you’ll need to worry about taking care of.

What does your previous accountant need to send?

Here’s a list of the information that you need to get from your accountant (your new accountant should do this for you):

  • Full financial statements (with detailed profit and loss accounts), including Year Ends
  • Analyses of fixed assets, trade debtors, bad debt provisions, other debtors, prepayments, trade creditors, accruals, other creditors and capital account movements
  • Details of any hire purchase or finance lease agreements together with appropriate calculations
  • Bank reconciliation in respect of all accounts
  • Summaries of stock and work in progress, if appropriate
  • A copy of the Corporation Tax computations
  • A copy of the most recent CT600 submitted, together with any supplementary pages
  • Any information which affects the company’s future liability
  • Form CT620 issued by HMRC in respect of the last accounting period
  • Confirmation of disengagement sent by the accountant

Any other relevant documentation or matters outstanding, including PAYE scheme reference and PAYE Accounts Office reference if applicable.

A better way to do your accounting

A good online accounting system shines a light into what was once a dark and mysterious art. When you have your online account, your account information is readily available to you at the click of a button. Not in an accountant’s file at the bottom of a drawer.

This, in turn, means that should you ever need to leave that service, the process will be much easier.

Need a new accountant?

Check out how Crunch makes switching easy, or alternatively give us a call today on 0333 311 8000 or arrange a free consultation.

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Written by Jake Smith

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