Your relationship with your accountant is based upon trust and communication. If you are not satisfied with the service provided by your current accountant, we recommend you talk to them about it. Discuss your expectations in an open and honest manner and how you feel that they are not being met. Your current accountant should be receptive to your concerns and be willing to work with you to resolve the issues.
There are many reasons why you may wish to change accountants. These include:
- feeling that there is a lack of understanding about your business and minimal volunteering of proactive advice;
- feeling that personalities are not right to help you take your business forward;
- recommendations for improvement are not forthcoming;
- telephone calls and emails are not responded to on a timely basis;
- your work takes too long to complete.
If you still feel that you cannot rely on your existing accountant to deliver, it may be time to make a change.
The first step in changing accountants is to find a new one that will provide the level of service that you require. We recommend that you talk to number of accountants to see what rapport is established. If possible, meet with the potential new accountant; taking along your last set of accounts and tax returns. Your potential new accountant should be able to engage with you in a manner you feel comfortable with. They should know enough about how your business operates and be able to look after the business owners. Other issues to discuss may include specialised industry knowledge and cost structures for the style of service that you require.
Once you have selected a new accountant, request an engagement letter, that details their understanding of the services to be performed, the way they are to be performed and the costs involved. Discuss with your new accountant what information they will need, and make sure that you have copies of that information available for them. It may be difficult to obtain some information from the old accountant once they are aware that you will no longer be using their services.
Once you accept the engagement, your new accountant will customarily send an ethical letter, letting your old accountant know that they have been approached to take on your work and whether there are any ethical reasons why they shouldn’t.
It is preferable that you (as the client) communicate with your old accountant before they receive the ethical letter, to authorise the release of your information, including any special calculations that they may be holding, such as depreciation, cost base details or loan account calculations (particularly ones subject to Division 7A of Part III of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936).
You should also request that your old accountant immediately cease work for you and provide a fee for services to date.
Ensure you cut off access to any files, online banking and accounting applications that your old accountant has access to. This may involve changing authorisations or passwords.
Changing accountants is easier than you think. If you are not satisfied with your existing accountant, we would welcome the opportunity to have a conversation about what we can offer. Please contact us by whatever method you prefer. We undertake to respond within one business day!
The above commentary is general in nature and does not consider personal circumstances. Please contact us should you wish to discuss matters raised above and their application to you. This firm accepts no responsibility or any form of liability from reliance upon or use of its contents without further consultation with us.