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The 7 Signs It's Time To Find A New Accountant

Dec 1, 2007
Quick quiz. Does this sound like your relationship with your current accountants ?

1) You call but your accountant isn't available, so you leave a message.

2) Your accountant gets back to you - but they do so a week and a half later.

3) Your company accounts are due, but your accountant doesn't seem to have filed them.

4) Every time you talk to your accountant for even half an hour, you get a bill in the post the next day. However, strangely, when you ask them to do something urgently for you, it seems to take far longer than it should.

5) You are certain that there are other ways of reducing your business tax burden and yet your accountant never suggests any to you.

6) You occasionally read up about new legislation that may affect the way you do business but only when you actively chase up your accountant does he or she give you any advice on these issues. Even though it's perfectly clear that your accountant knew about the new legislation and how it might effect you way before you happened to chance upon the information.

7) You find yourself wondering whether you are really getting good value for money. What exactly are you paying all that money for every year? Surely, it can't take that long to complete a tax return, can it ?

If any - or, heaven forbid, all of these points sound familiar to you, then it really is time for you to change your accountants.

Thankfully, there are accountants out there who will return your phone calls in a timely manner, who are proactive in giving tax planning and business advice and do - honestly - offer good value for money.

Luckily, changing accountants is not the arduous process you might think it is.

Both the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAEW) and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) have strict guidelines by which their members must adhere.

Among other things, these guidelines cover how a IAECW or ACCA accountant must behave if a client wishes to change accountants.

Your current accountant must provide all the relevant documentation and information to the new accountants in a timely and efficient manner and may not charge for supplying this information.

This should mean that, if you are fed up with your current accountant and they are chartered by one of these professional bodies, you can simply find a better one and then contact your old accountants and ask them to pass on all the accounting related information to the new accountants.

Your new accountants will probably provide you with a checklist of information that they need and some of this information (ie: VAT returns and payroll details) may come from you, but often the process can be almost entirely hands-off.

Even if you are in dispute with your current accountants, this should not prevent you from making a switch. The Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAEW) and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)guidelines state that, and here I'm paraphrasing liberally, your current accountants should not be able to hold you to ransom.

So, don't feel that you must stick with an accountancy firm who is not delivering the goods. Changing is not that difficult and you will almost certainly reap the benefits in the long run.
About the Author
Jim Haines works for Just Accountants, a UK site making it easy for companies to change accountants. Find the right accountancy services for your business.
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