Switching to Spotlight Accounting

Switching to us is easy!

Statistics show that 27% of businesses are working with an accountant that they want to switch from!

Most businesses don’t switch accountants because they worry about the time and effort involved in making the switch. It’s easier than you think, and we handle the process for you.
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Change Accountants to Spotlight Accounting

The accountancy firm that you work with needs to be an extended part of your business. It is important that you work with an accounting firm that understands your personal aspirations, what your business needs to achieve to deliver on this and can be fully engaged in helping you on this fundamental part of your journey. If this is not the case, then it may be time to make a switch.

It is really important that you work with the right accountant for your business, even if the thought of changing to a new accountant can often seem more hassle than it is worth.

Why should you switch accountants?

Your existing accountant should have an understanding of what you are trying to achieve. They should be your ‘go to’ sounding board – there to do more than solely dish out tax bills and supply you with a set of figures that you do not understand. After all, as a small business owner, you did not start your own business just to pay tax bills.

A good accountant plays a big part in your business growth. They will take the time to understand your business and personal circumstances, then look at the relevant tax legislation to make sure you are operating tax efficiently.

They will ask lots of questions and some may even seem a bit personal, but this is for your benefit as a small businesses owner rather than the accountants.

For example, a client that wants a lifestyle business that works around a young family needs different advice to a client that wants to build a recognised brand. This can also impact whether you should be trading as a sole trader or a limited company.

Reasons business owners move over to Spotlight Accounting

never get back to you

That the accountant was slow to respond to any queries, and when the old accountant responded, they used industry jargon that they did not understand.

they don’t use the latest technology

The old accountant acted as the gate keeper to the detailed financial records that were held on the accountants software, rather than a cloud accounting package. Therefore the business owner had no visibility of their company finances other than the annual company accounts.

they use technical jargon

That the accountant was slow to respond to any queries, and when the old accountant responded, they used industry jargon that they did not understand.

they send unexpected bills

Every-time they picked up the phone to their previous accountant they were issued with a bill.

they don’t ensure your financial information is up to date

you are not getting the figures you need to run your business

What is the process of changing accountants?

The process to change your accountant is a relatively easy, and from a client perspective will involve:

  1. Signing a letter of engagement.
  2. Completing a registration form.
  3. Writing to your existing accountancy firm to assign authority to release information to your new accountant.
  4. Providing a recent utility bill and proof of address so that your new accountant can complete their anti money laundering check.
  5. Forwarding on codes that have been generation from HMRC’s online authorisation service.

The full process for switching accountant is as follows, although at Spotlight Accounting you can rest assured, that we will guide you through it, every step of the way.

  1. You will need to sign a letter of engagement that your new accountant issues. This sets out all the agreed services that the new accountant will be providing, including what is expected of yourself and what to expect from your new accountant.
  2. Your new accountant will then complete their anti money laundering check.
  3. Next you will need to contact your current accountant informing them that you are changing accountants and assigning authority for them to release information to your new accountants.
  4. If you have any unpaid fees that are due to your current accountant, then these need to be settled at this point as they can withhold certain information while their fees remain unpaid.
  5. The new accountants will then request professional clearance from your current accountant. This is done through a professional clearance letter. The purpose of this letter is to offer any professional reasons why your new accountant should not take you on as a client, and provide all the hand over information necessary.  Your current accountant should respond within a reasonable time providing all the relevant paperwork that your new accountant needs. This will include your last full financial statements, corporation tax computations, corporation and personal tax returns.
  6. Once professional clearance has been received, the new accountant will issue a code for you to provide from HMRC’s online authorisation service. This will give the new accountant access to all your HMRC tax records enabling them to deal with HMRC in relation to your personal and company tax affairs.

Once the process of changing accountants is complete, then your new accountant will be able to act on your behalf.

What to consider when changing accountants

Moving accountant is a big decision so you need to ensure that your new accountancy firm is one that will be there to support you along your business journey.

Your accountant should be able to offer a package of accountancy services that can support your business needs. At Spotlight Accounting, we offer 3 service levels to best suit the stage of your business life cycle.

Most accountants will offer a free consultation giving you the opportunity to get to know the accounting firm and to ensure that they can provide the accounting services that you need. It also gives the chance for you and your new accountant to get to know each other before you make the switch.

Timing is another consideration, if your financial year end accounts are due soon, then it can take time for limited company information to be transferred. VAT quarters also need to be taken into consideration. In most cases your new and existing accountant will work together to ensure the timing is right.

Another consideration is what professional body they are a member of. You do not necessarily have to be qualified to as an accountant. So making sure that the accountant you are talking to is a firm of chartered accountants, not only helps you to avoid receiving poor advice but they are more tightly regulated so this offers you more assurance and protection.

Switching accountants to Spotlight Accounting is easy

At Spotlight Accounting, we make the switch process as pain free as possible for new clients and will deal with the entire process from start to finish for you.

First we will hold an initial consultation to talk about your accounting needs. From this we will produce a monthly fee proposal detailing the services you require from our accounting packages.

This is approved electronically and from here you will be directed to a form that captures all the information we need to complete our anti money laundering checks and request the information required from your previous accountant.

At this point you will be allocated your own accountant who will be your main point of contact. Your dedicated accountant will then catch up with you throughout the onboarding process so you know exactly where we are.

Frequently Asked Questions

Its is your business, so you need to work with a firm of accountants that can support you on your business journey and deal with your tax affairs.

It is perfectly ok to change accountants and whilst sometimes it may seem daunting, you need to ensure that you have the right team of experts around you.

You can work with more than one accountant. In fact some businesses have one accountant that is engaged to prepare the financial year end accounts and corporation tax returns, and another to deal with more complex company tax affairs.

A good accountant will also have other accountants that they can refer you to if the project is beyond their expertise.

We only recommend ideally working with one accountant so that you can ensure all your interests are considered when getting tax advice.

Management accounting is intended for the business internally, so the management accounts template will be prepared to give the key individuals running the business the financial information that they need to make informed decisions. Financial accounting is intended to meet HMRC and Companies House requirements.

This depends on the size of your business and your growth ambitions.

Growing limited companies should meet with their accountant at least quarterly, looking at the interim accounts and comparing them to plan, discussing any variances and what can be done to get the business back on track.

At Spotlight, we like to meet with our limited company clients at least twice a year. All clients are invited to a pre year end review to ensure that we are aware of any changes and any tax saving opportunities that are identified, and another face to face meeting when the year end accounts are completed.

The relationship with your accountant should also be fluid, so if there are significant changes to your business such as a significant growth opportunity, then you need to be meeting more regularly to ensure that you maximise the opportunity.

Self assessment clients may normally talk to their accountants once a year.

Why you should switch accountants to us?

We want to work with our clients to help them grow. We offer a dedicated accountant that is your point of call on all matters to avoid being passed around different departments.

Being small also works to our advantage, as we are able to get a full picture of your business and personal circumstances and offer advice that considers factors that larger accountants may not even have thought of.

We work on a fixed monthly fee, so that everyone know what is expected of your investment in your accounting services and there are no nasty surprises.

We offer a prompt service, and pride ourselves on being there to support our clients.

We work with the latest online accounting software so that you have visibility over your finances and can see the profitability of your business anytime and from anywhere.

We are not a tax return factory – we work with all our clients to ensure that they are operating in the most tax efficient way and most importantly we want to be part of your growth journey.

If you are interested to know more about switching to Spotlight Accountants, then contact us today!

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