Cha-Cha-Cha-Changing Accountants


Cha-Cha-Cha-Changing Accountants

Changing accountants is great. Your new accountant writes a letter to your old accountant and tells him to bugger off.

That’s a quote from a recent conference I attended. The presenter also challenged a room full of accountants to write a blog on how to change accountants. Challenge accepted.

Why the Challenge?

It does feel a bit like we are breaking some secret accountant’s code.

Shhhh, don’t tell the clients it is really, really easy to change accountants, they will all want to do it.

Well the jig is up. The accounting industry is experiencing massive change. New technology, outsourcing, new competitors, more regulation, less regulation (only an accountant could complain about that) and many other factors mean that it is Time for Change!

As an industry we need to be challenged to be the accountants you deserve.

How to change accountants in 3 Easy Steps (or perhaps 2)

  1. Find a new accountant*
    • And meet with them
  2. Call or email your old accountant and tell them you are changing.
    • You can skip this step if you want. Your new accountant can communicate with the prior firm. Normally we send a letter rather than telling them to bugger off.
  3. Your new accountant will contact the old accountant and arrange for transfer of any required information.

(* Ask successful people that you trust for a referral, or call us)

The Traps

Almost all transfers go off without a hitch. So don’t worry too much about the traps.

  1. Get the timing right.
    • It is often best to let the old accountant finish up work that they are in the middle of completing.
    • Please don’t tell your old accountant to get nicked before you have found the new one. Unless you really have to. Your new accountant will be able to assess whether there may be challenges in the process.
  2. Beware the exit bill.
    • A small minority of accountants don’t take rejection well and might suddenly remember that they need to bill you for something.
    • You might head this off at the pass by discussing whether anything is outstanding before you tell your old accountant you are leaving
    • It may be that issuing a final invoice is fair. If it seems unreasonable, ask for an explanation.
    • Look out for my upcoming article titled “Where is my bill?”

What now?

Now that you have changed accountants, make sure that you don’t stop there. Please commit to making the changes that will make your business, retirement or financial position better.

PRS Partners work with families and family businesses looking for change. Our vision is an accounting practice that works with you on fulfilling your lifestyle, investment and business goals.