Your accountant should feel like a vital part of your business. But what can you do if things aren’t working?
You might feel like your accountant doesn’t understand your business, or that you’ve just outgrown them. Maybe you’re looking for someone who has a better understanding of your needs and ambitions, someone who can provide you with more than just compliance work.
Think of your accountant as a core member of your team. A good accountant will feel like your business partner, and they’re just as important for helping you succeed. With the right accountant, you can get a clear understanding of the numbers, redesign your business to make things smoother and more efficient, and use up-to-date financials to drive the right decisions. You’ll feel supported, confident and you’ll have peace of mind that they’ll be there when you need them most.
But if this isn’t the case, maybe it’s time to look for a new accountant. If things aren't working, you shouldn’t have to settle for less.
The idea of switching accountants might seem complicated, confusing, or not worth the hassle, but it’s actually pretty straightforward.
Taking the time to find the perfect accountant who aligns with your values and your goals, and then making the switch, will reap countless benefits in the long run. And they can take care of the process for you.
So what's the process?
Once you’ve made the decision to move and you’ve found a new accountant, they’ll have sent you a proposal which you need to sign (we use GoProposal here at Complete). You’ll also receive a Letter of Engagement. If they’re a forward-thinking accountant, this will likely be digital. Signing the proposal will trigger the following:
- Your new accountant will ask you to let your old accountant know that you’re moving. (Here at Complete, we’ll provide you with a template letter to send to your previous accountant. That’s the only contact you need to have if you want!)
- You’ll be asked to provide proof of your ID and address for Anti-Money Laundering legislation.
- Your new accountant will write to your old accountant requesting everything they need and then make sure it's transferred to them.
- They’ll request to become your tax agents with HMRC.
- You’ll be sent a link to sign up for monthly payments.
And that’s it!
Much of this work happens behind the scenes, as well as other things that your accountant will take care of for you, so you won’t really notice it. This can take time, though, and there can sometimes be delays in the process, like waiting to hear back from old accountants, but a proactive accountant will work hard to make sure the process is as smooth as possible, and they'll let you know what’s going on, so there’s no need to worry.
After these steps, your new accountant can start supporting you and getting you set up on the right systems and software.
What should you look for in an accountant?
A good accountant is so much more than someone who keeps you compliant with the law. A proactive and forward-thinking accountant can help you grow your business. They’ll help you understand the numbers and manage the really important stuff like cash flow and securing funding. They can also help you streamline what you do to make your processes more efficient and save you time. Plus, if they’re technology-focused, they’ll use leading software to get an idea of how your business is performing weeks, months or even years down the line. This can help you plan for the future and make the right decisions going forward.
Sounds good, right? So how do you find someone who can definitely help you with all that?
When choosing your accountant, we really recommend looking for the following:
Great customer service
Businesses need someone who can provide them with an amazing experience and a high level of service. An accountant who really values them, listens to them and makes their lives easier. In fact, this is one of the main reasons people change accountants in the first place! Look for someone who’s designed their processes with you in mind and who communicates in a way that suits you.
It’s also important you’re getting bang for your buck. Look for someone who can help with more than just the compliance stuff. Someone who can offer business advice, strategy, help and advice with implementing the right software, as well as someone who’ll take care of the important stuff like funding and forecasting.
Finding an accountant who understands your industry is super important too. Someone who specialises in your industry and knows it inside out can help you implement the best systems and processes to get your business running smoothly.
Someone who aligns with your values
As humans, we’re naturally drawn to people who believe what we believe. Look for an accountant who shares your values, someone who understands your core purpose and beliefs. A good accountant will take the time to understand not just what you do, but why you do it. They’ll also want to find out about your goals for your business and then make it their priority to help you achieve them.
Someone who's focused on helping you grow
If you hear the phrase “we only use paper here”, then run for the hills! A forward-thinking accountant will use technology to help you run a better business. They’ll get you set up on accounting software if you aren’t already, and they’ll introduce you to some other cool apps to help you manage your bookkeeping and finances and just about any other aspect of your business. With all that in place, you can spend your time where it should be– on growing your business!
Someone who's proactive
There’s nothing worse than an accountant who doesn’t return your calls and who suddenly falls off the face of the earth, never to be seen again. We know, we’ve been there. This shouldn’t be the industry norm, but unfortunately it happens all too often. Look for an accountant who’s there when you need them the most, who’s only a text or a call away. Someone with fast response times who won’t leave you hanging for days or weeks on end. Communication is key, and a proactive accountant will always reach out to you when there’s a problem, instead of you chasing them.
Someone who works to your schedule
Let’s face it, business no longer happens 9-5, Monday-Friday. At Complete, we work with a lot of construction businesses and we get that. If you’re on site or in the office all day, you won’t have time to chat to your accountant within the usual working hours. We recommend choosing an accountant who’s designed their service model with that in mind. Someone who understands the life of a business owner and who can provide the flexibility and fluidity to work around that.
Switching accountants doesn’t have to be complicated! Once you’ve found someone who’s the right fit for you and your business, and who has your best interests at heart, you’ll never look back.