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August 10, 2017

The 3 most critical things to do when your business has a change in accountant or bookkeeper

The 3 most critical things to do when your business has a change in accountant or bookkeeperChanging your businesses accountant or bookkeeper can be a straight forward and relatively hands-off process. Changing your businesses accountant or bookkeeper can be a straight forward and relatively hands-off process.

However, these are the three critical things that you need to do to ensure a smooth and successful hand over.

1. Let your outgoing accountant or bookkeeper know that you are changing

Your new accountant or bookkeeper will contact your outgoing one to request professional clearance. It is vital, however, that you do the same.

Your businesses financial information is confidential and therefore, any accountant and bookkeeper will be reluctant to forward or grant anything without your specific permission.

So, failure to provide this permission will hold up the handover process, resulting in your new accountant being unable to proceed with your requested services. It can also create uncertainty with your outgoing accountant so they may stall or discontinue with your current services until they can contact you.

2. Do your best to enable a smooth handover

Providing a service is ultimately based upon a relationship. It is critical that you continue to respect that relationship, even though you have chosen to change your service provider.

Talking to your outgoing accountant or bookkeeper, informing them that you are changing and if appropriate, providing feedback as to why you are making that change is useful and always welcomed.

Your new accountant or bookkeeper will have various onboarding processes that they are required to complete before they can begin to officially act for you and your business. This will include asking for copies of your ID as well as tax reference numbers and details for both yourself and your business.

So, in addition to keeping the communication lines open, it is important that you provide any requested information in as timely a manner as possible.

If you cannot find any of the required codes and references, let them know as soon as possible. And if HMRC send you any letters in the post regarding your new advisor, ensure that you forward these on so authority to talk to HMRC on your behalf can be granted.

3. Be prepared to cover some old ground

Your new accountant or bookkeeper will want to know about your business and your personal tax affairs.

It likely that they will want to talk to you about your current bookkeeping systems and processes. They will want to know more about what you would like to see in your financial figures. It is quite possible that they’ll have some questions about previously submitted accounts and tax returns.

They will ask these questions because it is important that they truly understand your business. Also, knowing the full picture will enable them to give you the best advice possible.

If you are very busy, it can be frustrating having to make time to talk about the spreadsheets that you use. Or the rental property or pension that possibly has little or no impact on your tax position.

It is critical that you make the time however. The first few weeks or months with your new accountant or bookkeeper will often lay the foundations of how your relationship will develop over the coming years. You want to ensure that this relationship is positive and proactive.

It is possible to change your accountant or bookkeeper very quickly and very efficiently. In most cases both the old and the new accountant or bookkeeper will work towards a smooth and positive handover, so they will be able to pass a large portion of your information between themselves. This will free up your time to focus on building the relationship and moving forward with your business.

If you would like any assistance processing a smooth handover for your business, please give us a call for an informal chat.

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