How to change your accountant
At the risk of sounding blunt, you’re probably with the wrong accountant.
Most people assume that all accountants are the same but it’s that assumption that leaves so many small business owners entrusting their livelihood to the wrong set of hands.
Take this scenario for example…
Say your lovingly restored EH Holden was due for a service and you were tossing up which mechanic to entrust with your most prized possession. Would you choose a popular, run of the mill mechanic who services any make and model? Or would you look a little further and maybe pay a little more for a professional who specializes in vintage restorations? While you might receive a perfectly good service from the standard mechanic, wouldn’t you prefer to work with someone who can offer advice and information on how to improve the performance of your unique vehicle and whose customer base is made up of other like-minded car enthusiasts?
Your business is more than just a hobby. It’s your livelihood, your source of income and ideally, your legacy in years to come. So why entrust your blood, sweat and tears to a run of the mill accountant?
Wouldn’t you prefer a firm who specializes in small business services and whose client base reflects that expertise and experience?
Unfortunately breaking up with your accountant isn’t as simple as failing to re-book with your mechanic. It’s a high investment relationship and there are often issues of loyalty at play which can make the thought of leaving more than a little uncomfortable.
But when a bad relationship is costing you time, money and the potential growth of your business, is there really any alternative than to start looking elsewhere?
If you’ve decided it’s time to move on, here’s how you can let your accountant down gently.
- Research rigorously
First and foremost, you’ll need to decide who you’ll work with in future and this decision warrants careful consideration. You’re looking for a firm who specializes in your industry or service area, such as small business or mining and agriculture for example.It’s important to take your time, do plenty of research and have a clear idea of the level of service and support you want from this new relationship. You should feel confident that your new accountant can not only meet your basic compliance requirements, but has the capacity to help you grow and offer you something unique. There’s no point making a change if you’re just going to end up with the same level of service you’re unhappy with now.
- Have ‘the talk’
It’s now time to let your soon-to-be previous accountant know that you’ll be moving on. While this can be an uncomfortable conversation, as a courtesy it’s better for the news to come from you rather than the new firm you’ve commissioned.It’s likely that your accountant will want to know why you’re leaving, so it’s best to be honest and explain that your needs have changed and you’ve found a different firm who you feel is a better fit going forward.
- Move along
Once you’ve confirmed you’ll be doing business with your new accountant, they’ll make contact with your previous firm by way of an ethical clearance letter.This document simply asks the previous firm if they are aware of any legal or ethical reason why your new accountant should not accept your business and requests that all your documentation and records be sent to the new firm.This ethical clearance is a professional courtesy that ensures the transfer of business and documents take place promptly and without inconvenience to you as the client.
As with any relationship, the choice to move on from your accountant can be difficult and potentially a little awkward, but with the future of your business at stake, staying put can be a costly compromise.
If you’re considering a shift from your current accountant we’d like to offer you the chance to meet with us and find out if our services can better meet your business needs. Simply phone the office to arrange a free, 1 hour consultation with one of our directors or visit our services page to find out more about what we offer.
By Amanda Maroske