Is changing Accountants difficult?
Once a client is set up and officially on our client list, we often hear that they didn’t realise how easy changing Accountants could be. For many people, they envisage it being as painful, or more painful, than changing banks. The good news is that this isn’t the case!
To make life easy for clients, whether businesses or individuals, the governing bodies of professionally qualified Accountants have agreed a clear process followed by all such firms. This can remove the need for any awkward or embarrassing conversations with the Accountant you want to move away from, as the incoming Accountant takes care of all contact.
So how does the process work?
- Once you’ve decided to move, you’ll fill in a secure, online form to provide various ID details, from which we can complete the obligatory checks under the Money Laundering regulations.
- You’ll sign an Authority Letter which is addressed to the outgoing Accountant. We send that with our request for the necessary handover information, so the outgoing Accountant can send us everything without any need to contact you. Our request includes something known as ‘Professional Clearance’, which is essentially asking for the outgoing Accountant to confirm that they know of no professional reason why we shouldn’t accept the appointment. An example of a reason not to accept would be if they suspected fraud, so it’s usually a formality! Under the guidance from the Association and Institute, the provision of Clearance should be completed within thirty days, though it usually comes through quicker.
- Once the Professional Clearance and Handover Information comes through, we’ll send you our Welcome Pack, which comes out electronically. This includes our Engagement Letter, which is the contract between us that formally agrees the services that we will provide, along with various other details such as of the Fee Protection Scheme into which we enrol ALL clients at no extra cost.
- Once these are all signed, you’re then formally on our client list!
Can the Outgoing Accountant delay the transfer?
No! The process agreed between the governing bodies specifically prevents the delay in handing over a client’s affairs. Neither Clearance nor the information can be withheld for any reason, including where there may be a dispute about outstanding fees. There is very little that can officially delay the process of changing Accountants.
What about Companies House and HMRC?
We will take care of all of that, and will in future deal with both on your behalf. This includes reminders and the annual Confirmation Statement.
How long does the process take?
Sadly, it really depends on the outgoing Accountant! If they are responsive and helpful, we can get the Clearance and handover information by return, as none of it’s complex to compile. If they aren’t as responsive, we’ll prompt them when we get to the agreed thirty day limit, and beyond that if necessary too! We take care of all of this though, and keep you posted along the way.
The process of changing Accountants really should be straightforward, so if you’re staying where you are for an easy life, you may wish to think again! Get in touch now if you’d like to know more about how you can make the move with minimal effort and absolutely no awkwardness.