The etiquette of accountant changing.


P

Peter Jason

Due to reduction in business, and general downgrading I want to quit my
top-end-of-town accountant and settle for something more affordable in the
suburbs.

Can someone help me with the correct procedure here?
 
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D

DoobieDo

Due to reduction in business, and general downgrading I want to quit my
top-end-of-town accountant and settle for something more affordable in the
suburbs.

Can someone help me with the correct procedure here?
get a quote... including air fares ;p
 
T

Troy Steadman

Due to reduction in business, and general downgrading I want to quit my
top-end-of-town accountant and settle for something more affordable in the
suburbs.

Can someone help me with the correct procedure here?
1) Find your new accountant preferably by personal recommendation from
someone you know well.

2) Tell him that you want to change accountants from (get him to insert
suitable cost-efficient date).

3) He will write to the old accountant politely asking him if he has any
objections and your old accountant will grit his teeth and say "No I
have no objection", and will then be as unhelpul as he possibly can for
a month or two until everything sorts itself out.


--
 
D

DoobieDo

and will then be as unhelpul as he possibly can for
a month or two until everything sorts itself out.
aka sent you a final bill and you've paid it...
 
R

Ronald Raygun

Peter said:
Due to reduction in business, and general downgrading I want to quit my
top-end-of-town accountant and settle for something more affordable in the
suburbs.

Can someone help me with the correct procedure here?
Approach your existing accountant and pour your heart out, saying you
are downsizing and would he perhaps be able to recommend someone more
affordable. Chances are one of two things will happen.

1) He'll be glad to get rid of a low-profit-generating client and will
be only too happy to put the business towards one of his ex-trainees.

2) He won't want to lose you, and will simply charge you less by
identifying one or two gold-plated features of his previous work
which he will suddenly discover you no longer really require.

Either result will be satisfactory.
 
T

Tony Bryer

3) He will write to the old accountant politely asking him if he
has any objections and your old accountant will grit his teeth
and say "No I have no objection", and will then be as unhelpul as
he possibly can for a month or two until everything sorts itself
out.
Or as a "top-end-of-town accountant" he may be relieved

I started with a small local accountant who went through repeated
mergers and takeovers to end up 10 years later as part of one of
the top 10. They were charging me serious money (petty cash to them
no doubt) and I kept thinking about changing but was reluctant to
do so out of loyalty and "better the devil you know". The situation
was resolved when they sent me a Dear John letter explaining that
what they had been charging me as an old customer was well below
(!) the proper cost and this could not continue, and I might find
it more economical to move to a smaller local firm. .... which I
did and halved my accountancy bill (partly because the new firm
takes the QuickBooks figures on disk). Result, everyone happy.
 
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R

Ronald Raygun

Tony said:
they sent me a Dear John letter explaining that
what they had been charging me as an old customer was well below
(!) the proper cost and this could not continue,
And you wrote back pointing out that you're Tony, not John, and
that for this reason and the fact that your bills seemed to you
to be if anything well above what they should properly be, they
must have sent the letter to the wrong person by mistake.
 
J

Jon Griffey

Peter Jason said:
Due to reduction in business, and general downgrading I want to quit my
top-end-of-town accountant and settle for something more affordable in the
suburbs.

Can someone help me with the correct procedure here?
Correct procedure is one thing but the best way to play it is something
different.

The following is generally the procedure in UK. I note that you are in
Oz but it is probably a similar story there.

Firstly, go and speak to another accountant and see what they can do for
you and how much they charge, and most importantly if you get on with
them OK. Of course make sure that the new firm are properly qualified
(i.e. Chartered of Certified) as most firms have no qualifications and
consequently no regulation etc.

A personal recommendation is always a good start.

Before you announce anything to the existing firm, make sure that you
have got all your books back and have a copy of your latest accounts,
tax return etc. A good excuse is that you are having a VAT inspection
or you need to see someone about getting a mortgage.

The reason for this is that you can get into disputes about outstanding
fees and in some cases they can get childish and refuse to let go of
books. It is a personal service that accountants give and losing a
client to another firm, it can be hard not to take it personally.

Once you have done this then a courteous letter to the existing firm
saying why you are moving, e.g. business is slack, need to cut costs etc
and thank them for their service over the years and giving them
authority to disclose your details to the new firm.

The old firm may then come back to you offering to cut their fees
perhaps or to outline what it is exactly they do for you and how really
their fees are good value.

Give the new firm the nod and they will write the usual handover letter
to them.

Good luck!
--
Jon Griffey FCCA ATII
Hackett Griffey
Chartered Certified Accountants & Registered Auditors
2 Mill Road, Haverhill, Suffolk, CB9 8BD

Tel (01440) 762024

www.griffey.demon.co.uk

See website for disclaimers
 
M

Mike Lewis

Firstly, go and speak to another accountant and see what they can do for
you and how much they charge, and most importantly if you get on with
them OK. Of course make sure that the new firm are properly qualified
(i.e. Chartered of Certified) as most firms have no qualifications and
consequently no regulation etc.

A personal recommendation is always a good start.

Before you announce anything to the existing firm, make sure that you
have got all your books back and have a copy of your latest accounts,
tax return etc. A good excuse is that you are having a VAT inspection
or you need to see someone about getting a mortgage.

The reason for this is that you can get into disputes about outstanding
fees and in some cases they can get childish and refuse to let go of
books. It is a personal service that accountants give and losing a
client to another firm, it can be hard not to take it personally.

Once you have done this then a courteous letter to the existing firm
saying why you are moving, e.g. business is slack, need to cut costs etc
and thank them for their service over the years and giving them
authority to disclose your details to the new firm.

The old firm may then come back to you offering to cut their fees
perhaps or to outline what it is exactly they do for you and how really
their fees are good value.

Give the new firm the nod and they will write the usual handover letter
to them.
I don't dispute any of that. It is good advice. However you don't say
anything negative about the old accountant so I imagine they have always
done a good job. They will think more of you if you face them and tell them
why you are moving. Perhaps that's not important to you but it does seem
more honourable to me.
 
P

Peter Jason

Peter Jason said:
Due to reduction in business, and general downgrading I want to quit my
top-end-of-town accountant and settle for something more affordable in the
suburbs.

Can someone help me with the correct procedure here?

Many thanks for all replies.
 
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J

Jon Griffey

Mike Lewis said:
I don't dispute any of that. It is good advice
Very kind of you to say so Mike!
. However you don't say
anything negative about the old accountant so I imagine they have always
done a good job. They will think more of you if you face them and tell them
why you are moving. Perhaps that's not important to you but it does seem
more honourable to me.
That is a fair point. However what is most important is getting a
smooth handover with the minimum of hassle rather than worrying what the
old firm thinks.

If the client says to the old accountant, 'look, your firm is sh*t, you
charge too much, take too long and cock everything up' then they are
more likely to be uncooperative.

Often clients will move for personality issues which makes it even more
difficult to be honest.

Perhaps the answer is for the client to change firm and once it is all
over to write to the old firm telling them exactly why.

--
Jon Griffey FCCA ATII
Hackett Griffey
Chartered Certified Accountants & Registered Auditors
2 Mill Road, Haverhill, Suffolk, CB9 8BD

Tel (01440) 762024

www.griffey.demon.co.uk

See website for disclaimers
 
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