Is it difficult to change accountants? BONUS - How to make the switch
As a small business owner, your accountant plays a critical role in your financial success.
However, sometimes, despite the best intentions and efforts, things just don’t work out.
Whether it’s a lack of chemistry, communication issues, or a mismatch in expertise, you may find yourself wondering if it’s time to make a change.
But how do you know when it’s time to take the leap and switch accountants?
And more importantly, how do you make the transition as smooth as possible?
So, if you’re wondering whether it’s difficult to change accountants, the short answer is no, but let’s dig deeper and find out how and why.
Why switch accountants?
There are several reasons why people may choose to change their accountants.
Here are a few –
If your former accountant is not communicating effectively with you, it can be frustrating and lead to misunderstandings. You may feel that your accountant is not responsive to your needs, is not providing timely information, especially with tax compliance, or is not clearly explaining financial matters.
Lack of expertise
If your business’s financial needs change or become more complex, you may need an accountant with more specialised knowledge or experience. For example, if a business expands internationally, it may need an accountant with expertise in international tax regulations.
Sometimes, you may simply not feel comfortable working with your accountant anymore. This can be due to personality differences, differences in working styles, or a lack of trust.
If your accountant is consistently making mistakes or providing incorrect information, you may lose faith in their abilities. This can lead to frustration and a desire to switch to a more competent accountant.
If you feel you are not getting value for money from your accountant, you may seek out a more affordable option. This can be especially true for small businesses or individuals who are operating on tight budgets.
Lack of responsiveness
If your accountant is not responsive to your needs, it can be frustrating and lead to missed opportunities.
For example, if a business needs financial information quickly to make an important decision, an unresponsive accountant may cause delays and hinder progress.
If you’re not satisfied with your current accountant, it may be time to start looking for a new one who can better meet your needs.
That leads us to the next question –
What skills do you look for in a good accountant?
You don’t want to make the same mistake again.
So let’s have a good look at some key skills a good accountant should have for the success of your business –
A good accountant should possess the necessary technical skills to handle all accounting and financial matters. They should have a deep understanding of accounting principles, tax regulations, and financial analysis techniques.
Attention to detail
Accounting is a detail-oriented profession, and a good accountant should be meticulous in their work. They should be able to identify discrepancies, errors, and inconsistencies in financial records, and ensure that everything is accurate and up-to-date.
A good accountant should be able to communicate complex financial information to clients in clearly and understandably. They should be able to explain financial statements, tax filings, and other financial information to clients in a way that makes sense to them.
An accountant should be able to analyse financial data and identify trends and patterns. They should be able to use this information to provide insights and recommendations to clients on how to improve their financial performance, personal wealth, and tax planning.
Time management skills
Accountants often work with tight deadlines, so good accountants should be able to manage their time effectively. They should be able to prioritise tasks and complete them on schedule, while still maintaining a high level of accuracy and attention to detail.
Integrity and ethics
A good accountant should be honest, trustworthy, and ethical. They should always act in the best interests of their clients and maintain the confidentiality of financial information.
A good accountant should be able to adapt to changes in technology, regulations, and business practices. They should be open to learning new skills and technologies to stay up-to-date in their field.
What is the process to change accountants?
You’ve found your new accountant, well done!
You’re now ready to make the move. But how do you go about releasing your outgoing accountant?
It’s easy and your new accountant can help you during the process.
Here are the steps you can take to change your accountant smoothly and efficiently –
Step 1: Find a New Accountant
Just in case you hadn’t found an accountant, you can find a new one by asking for recommendations from friends or business colleagues, searching online for local accountants, or using professional directories such as the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ) or the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA).
It’s important to find an accountant who is experienced in your industry and has the skills and knowledge to help your business grow.
Step 2: Notify Your Current Accountant
Once you have found a new accountant, you should notify your current accountant of your intention to change with a clearance letter by email or in writing.
Be sure to thank your current accountant for their services and explain why you are changing. It’s important to maintain a good relationship with your current accountant as they may need to provide information to your new accountant during the transition.
Step 3: Provide Access to Your Financial Records
You will need to provide your new accountant with access to your financial records. This may include bank statements, tax returns, balance sheets, income statements, payroll records, and any other relevant financial information. You should also provide your new accountant with the contact details of your previous accountant so that they can request any additional information that they may need.
Step 4: Review and Update Contracts
If you have an ongoing contract with your current accountant, you should review it to determine any cancellation or notice requirements. It’s important to ensure that you comply with any contractual obligations and that you terminate the contract properly. You may also need to sign a new engagement letter with your new accountant.
Step 5: Notify the ATO
You should notify the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) of the change in your accountant. This can be done by updating your details on the ATO Business Portal or by contacting the ATO directly.
The ATO will ensure that all future correspondence is sent to your new accountant.
Step 6: Conduct a Review
Once you have changed accountants, it’s important to conduct a review to ensure that the transition has been smooth and that your new accountant is meeting your business needs. This review should include an assessment of the quality of their work, their responsiveness, and their fees. If you are not satisfied with the new accountant, you may need to consider finding another one.
Sleek’s Tips for Changing Accountants
Regardless of your business structure, here are some additional tips to make the process of changing your existing accountant to a new one as smooth as possible:
Plan: Give yourself plenty of time to find a new accountant and prepare the necessary documentation.
Communicate clearly: Keep both your current accountant and your new accountant informed throughout the transition process.
Keep records up-to-date: Ensure that your financial records are accurate and up-to-date before providing them to your new accountant.
Check qualifications: Ensure that your new accountant has the necessary qualifications and experience to meet your business needs.
Be transparent: Provide your new accountant with as much information as possible about your business so that they can provide the best possible advice.
Ask questions: Don’t be afraid to ask questions of your new accountant to ensure that you understand their advice and recommendations.
Why choose Sleek as your accountant?
Sleek leverages its expertise in information technology to assist you with your accounting needs.
We offer a range of accounting services that enable you as a busy business owner to manage your finances effectively, provide proactive advice, streamline your accounting processes, and stay compliant with relevant regulations – managed by your own Sleek accountant!
Intuitive, user-friendly interface.
Our cloud-based solution offers a user-friendly interface that makes it easy to track your income and expenses, generate invoices, and manage your inventory all under one roof (or should we say one cloud!). Additionally, our software integrates with various payment gateways, making it easy for customers to pay invoices online.
Look no further than our automation capabilities.
Our software automates routine accounting tasks such as data entry, invoicing, and bank reconciliations, saving you big dollars and freeing up your time to focus on other essential aspects of your business. Besides, the software’s artificial intelligence-powered algorithms can provide insights into the business’s financial health, flagging potential issues and providing recommendations for improvement.
The software helps you to easily stay compliant with relevant regulations, such as tax laws and financial reporting requirements. The software can generate reports that are necessary for regulatory compliance, such as balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements.
Make it your own!
Sleek’s accounting software is highly customisable, allowing you to tailor the software to your specific needs and business. And the best part – the software can be integrated with your other business tools, such as CRM and project management software, to provide a comprehensive business management solution.
Is it time your business leveraged an accountant with streamlined technology for all accounting processes? Focus on growing your business and achieving your financial goals and leave the rest to Sleek.
Move over old accountant, grow, and succeed with your new Sleek accountant. Call now on +61 2 9100 0480 or meet your new accountant here.
The decision to change accountants can be a significant one for any business owner, and no set time frame dictates when a change is necessary. The decision to change accountants should be based on the business's needs and goals, as well as the quality of service and value provided by the current accountant.
You may have a bad accountant if you experience slow response times, poor communication, lack of attention to detail, or feel that you are not receiving value for the fees you are paying. Additionally, if your accountant is not keeping up to date with changes in tax laws and regulations or not providing guidance on compliance issues, it may be time to consider finding a new accountant.
This article is meant to provide general information. Tax regulations can be complex and subject to change, so it’s always best to consult a qualified tax professional or the Australian Tax Office (ATO) for specific advice tailored to your situation.