This is the second article in our series helping you find an accountant.
In the first article of this series, we discussed the 4 most important reasons why business owners should change accountants. In this article, we’ll look at the reasons why so many shy away from this step although in all probability they would be better served by it.
Experience has shown that many businesses will tolerate poor service, unjustifiable levels of fees, negligence, mistakes and penalty charges before even considering that they ought to look elsewhere.
It is mostly because they let their business sense be clouded by emotion, convenience and cheapness mistaken for cost savings. In the end, their business suffers for it.
Here are the 5 main reasons why so many shy away from finding a new accountant:#1
Many businesses stay with their accountants out of displaced loyalty, out of fear of upsetting them. This is an honourable sentiment but if you are not getting the best service for your business, your accountants won’t be the ones who suffer. Your business, which means your family, your staff and their families are likely to bear the long term consequences of such an emotional business decision.
Looked at from the perspective of business processes, it poses the question: Would you retain a supplier who continues to deliver sub-standard components? Your financial information is an extremely important component that has to be reliably of the highest standard at all times for you to be able to reach your business goals.
Is there any reason why you should not want the best?#2
Convenience and habit can be equally detrimental business partners.
Yes, your accountants could be very local and the new ones may be a fair distance away. Given the power of today’s online tools such as email, free video conferencing and file transfer via Skype, distance has become much less of a deciding factor.
Much more important is the question: If moving further afield could give your business what it needs, would it be worth a change? Of course, it means stepping out of your comfort zone. But only for a short while until you are used to the new relationship.
As always, stepping out of your comfort zone moves the boundaries to a higher level. Would you like to move your business to the next level? You may have to take this important step to get there.#3
Changing accountants is difficult, costly and takes a long time. This trio of reasons is generally based on misinformation.
Once you have found your new accountants, they should be happy to remove any difficulty, provide the necessary information and support you in your move. All it takes is a standard letter that your new accountants send to your current ones. If they are not supportive, then they may not be the right ones for you.
If your current accountants are Chartered or Certified, the rules of their regulatory organisation oblige them to respond within a reasonable time frame to your request for change. Of course, if you still owe fees, these should be paid as soon as possible. Generally, there are no charges for changing accountants.#4
Your current accountants are really cheap.
It is a universal truth that a cheap service is a false economy. Another truth is: You get what you pay for.
Accountants run a business, too. If they are really cheap, they won’t be able to sustain a really good level of service. In the long run, your business will pay the price with all the consequences this will have for those who rely on your business for their livelihood.
A valid reason for staying put may well be that your accountants know your finance and tax affairs because you have been with them for many years. Fair enough, but it still does not hurt to get a second opinion. If you discover something new and your current accountants really are good, then they will take this on board and you have the best of both worlds. If they don’t, well, this should give you food for thought.#5
How to ensure that the new accountants really are better than the old ones?
This is a real concern, which we have addressed separately in our following two articles. We’ll give you guidelines on how to assess whether they are trustworthy and a set of questions to ask when you interview them.
Don’t forget that you are not applying for a job. You are in charge here. You are interviewing them to see whether they are up to the job you have for them: to support you in steering your business to new levels of success.
There are, of course, many more reasons than the five main ones that business owners cite for not changing accountants.
Fear of tax investigation by the Inland Revenue is one of those that have no substance in reality. There really no problem. Changing accountants will not trigger a tax investigation.
But whatever the reasons, ask yourself: Am I getting the best value for money for my business? If you have any doubt, start looking at least for a second opinion. And remember:Switching Accountants Is A Simple 3-Step: Step 1
Discuss your requirements and any business issues or concerns you may have with your prospective new accountant.Step 2
They need your permission in writing to obtain a copy of your accounting and tax records. This is done by signing a simple authorisation letter.Step 3
They will then notify your current accountant of your intention to change and provide you with a letter of engagement setting out your requirements and their duties as your new accountant.
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