Switching Accountants

Published: 27 April 2021

I am probably taking a risk here, by including existing clients in the list of people that receive this blog, as it is about how easy it is to change your accountant!

I thought I would write about it though after receiving an email from Jack this morning, which I reproduce in its entirety as follows: -

Hi Adrian,

If I wanted to introduce XXX to your company to offer our accountancy services, would you know who to forward this to for me? I should probably have pointed at the MD but thought I should maybe ask the question first. Could you pass please this on to the right director for me.
We're a fast-growing and forward-thinking firm of accountants who have modernised to become a 100% digital practice, this allows us to provide top-notch accountancy service across the country. We currently have a 500+ client base from various industries enjoying our services and we would like to be considered by your company for all aspects of accountancy work if possible.
It's an easy enough process to switch from your existing accountancy agent as we communicate to your old accountants on your behalf and you'd be surprised by how much we can save you annually.
As an introductory offer, we are offering all new clients a 'QuickBooks' subscription free for 12 months (worth £240) to help you and your business get off to the best start.
If you would like to explore the benefits of placing your work with XXX then please contact me using my contact details below.

Kind Regards

I may be doing Jack a disservice here, but I think this might not have been a handcrafted email specifically to me: partly because he said that he should perhaps have written to the MD, (but I am), and secondly it is a little unusual to offer accountancy services, to, well… an accountant!

Jack does though make a good point – it is an easy process to switch accountants.

Accountants are traditionally amongst the most trusted professional advisors, and that gives me much comfort as I am a director of CBSL Accountants. We are also Chartered Accountants, rather than some of the other ‘flavours’ of accountant… yes I know vanilla might be the flavour you attribute to all accountants – ha ha!

But Chartered adds a further level of trust, given the very high standards expected of members and firms, by the ICAEW. (“Jack” isnt Chartered by the way). So, if you do plan on a change, please look for the word “Chartered”.

Of those that are Chartered, not all are training offices authorised to train and develop Chartered Accountants. I used to find it frustrating when I was younger that whilst I could advise clients, they wanted to hear the advice from the partner with grey hair. I now have some grey hair, in the process replacing one annoyance with another, and so clients look to me for advice. All accountants have to start somewhere, but I guess the point I am making is that if you are with a firm of Chartered Accountants, who are a training firm, the calibre of the trainees that work for them will be higher.

Other good words to look for are “Registered Auditor”. Still fewer firms are Registered Auditors, with the number declining by 31% in the last 8 years.

According to figures from the Office for National Statistics around 36,000 businesses in the UK provide accounting, book-keeping, auditing activities and tax consultancy services, meaning that roughly one in six practices is now qualified to audit company accounts.

You might not need an audit, but it is nice to know that when you grow, you don’t need to change to a firm that can… and perhaps think of it as an assurance of quality.

So, what do you need to do to change accountant? It really is easy, as Jack said. Ask a couple of firms to visit you. Tick off the technical bits to make sure they know what they are doing – that is quite easy as they should have done their research in advance and will be able to offer suggestions that could help without you needing to ask.

Have a coffee with them. See if you enjoy the meeting. Do they talk about you or themselves? Are they open about their fees? Will they charge you for phone calls and meetings – the good ones don’t, because they are interested in spending time with you.

If that all goes well, then all you need do is send an email to your existing firm and the rest is taken over for you. It really is that easy.

Finally, if you are one of existing clients, please ignore all of the above!