How to Change Accountants
What can you do about your accountant if they are not delivering the service you would expect?
If you have not already tried talking with your accountant about your concerns, then we would suggest this is a good place to start. However, if you have expressed your concerns and your accountant has still not resolved them to your satisfaction then it is probably time to consider finding another accountant who is more attentive to you and your needs.
You should never feel embarrassed or that you are in the wrong because you want to change accountants. Your accountant has failed to deliver a service you expect and it is their fault, not yours. Staying with them will only lead you to more sleepless nights and cost you more money. Besides, in some cases your ex accountant may be more relieved than you that you want to move on. You just never know.
Changing your accountant is a critical business decision and you need to find one who listens to you and your needs, who you can understand and who understands you, who supports you and your business, and who you feel comfortable with and can trust. The right one can get you out of a mess or keep you from getting into one, make your life easier and be a great sounding board for key financial decisions. The wrong one could get you into trouble with the IRD or steer your business vehicle off course which could take many years and much time and money to correct.
So when you approach your new accountant you need to be precise about your needs, plans, worries and aspirations, and explain why you found your previous accountant inadequate. Make sure you feel comfortable in dealing with your new accountant and you are satisfied they have everything you need both now and into the foreseeable future. We believe it is so important that your accountant should be helping you get what you want in business and in life that we are providing you with our Changing Accountant Checklist which lists some useful criteria to compare accountants so you can make a better decision.
Is a new accountant going to be any better than your current accountant?
There are great accountants out there – accountants who do your work quickly, who listen to your needs providing you and your business with the support you need, and who do not break your bank in the process. You just have to find them. As long as you choose objectively (use our Changing Accountant Checklist) and do not just accept the first accountant who comes along then you should be far better off.
Will the IRD be concerned if you change accountant?
No. Changing accountants is a normal part of business life.
There are so many accountants out there. How can you pick the right one for you?
Ideally it would be nice to have two or three people recommend the same accountant on the basis of outstanding performance. However it’s more likely your business acquaintances are all using different accountants so you are going to need an objective method to help you choose. To help you make your choice you can download our Changing Accountant Checklist here which provides some useful criteria you can compare accountants against.
Is there any way you can check the qualifications of any prospective accountant?
Yes, but only if they are Chartered Accountants. Every Chartered Accountant offering their services to the public must be registered with the NZICA. The NZICA website lists all accountant members. If your prospective accountant says they are CA and they are not listed with NZICA then they may not be who they say they are and you may want to double check their qualifications and experience.
Are you likely to receive an invoice from your outgoing accountant to handover the various documents to your new accountant?
Your outgoing accountant could charge you for their time in compiling the needed information and the handing over of your records to your new accountant, but usually they won’t.
You have found a new accountant to look after you and your business. What happens now?
Changing accountants is so incredibly easy. Out of courtesy, you may want to advise your previous accountant personally that you are changing (we have a draft Changing Accountant Notification letter you can use if you would like to tell them yourself). Alternatively you could simply get your new accountant to take care of everything on your behalf including contacting the old accountant to request professional clearance and all relevant information and documents which they will require. The outgoing accountant is obliged to pass on the information required, provided professional clearance is given. Your outgoing accountant should not refuse professional clearance on the basis of any fee dispute alone. Once clearance is given, the new accountant can take care of notifying the IRD and Companies Office of your change.