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How to change your accountant in 3 easy steps

By Andreas Kettemann

Not sure how to change your accountant? Our easy 3 step process will have you putting the financial health of your business first. Find out more. 3-min read.

How to change your accountant in 3 easy steps

Are you wondering how to change your account? Many medical practitioners ask this question at the end of the financial year. The reasons for switching vary, but some of the common motivators we hear are:

  • “I’m sure there is something I could be doing to manage my practice better or reduce tax,     but my accountant isn’t proactive.”
  • “My accountant isn’t up to speed on time saving new technology.”
  • “I gave my accountant information months ago, and my accounts are still not up-to-date.”
  • “My accountant isn’t proactive in finding ways to maximise my practice’s cash-flow.”
  • “My accountant is old-school and doesn’t understand cloud technology.”

Key points

Three easy steps to switch accountants.

    1. Identify a better accounting practice.
    2. Advise your previous accounting practice you're switching.
    3. Permit your new accountant to negotiate a smooth transition.
    Laws require exiting accountants to transfer documents promptly.

Whether its poor service or your practice outgrowing your accountant’s financial experience that’s motivating the switch, deciding to change is the hardest part.

Changing accountants is straightforward, but dealing with the pangs of ‘guilt’, not so much. Yet, the unwillingness to have an uncomfortable discussion is the reason why many professionals stay too long with an underperforming accounting service. Running a smart business means putting the financial health of your practice first. And yes, that means retiring those whose services no longer benefit your business’s growth.

Switching accountants – 3 easy steps

Switching accountants can be a professional and rewarding experience if you follow three easy steps.

Find a new accountant – Step 1

Be sure to do your research when searching for a new accountant. Look for accountants with tax and financial advisory services that specialise in the medical and dental sectors. Also, make sure they are a member of an accredited professional body. For example,
- Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA)
- Institute of Public Accountants (IPA)
- Certified Practising Accountants Australia (CPA)

Members of these bodies have an accredited tertiary qualification and comply with professional standards. Plus, before an accountant can give investment or financial planning advice, he or she must hold an Australian financial services (AFS) license.

Additional questions to ask

Before engaging a new accountant, ask questions that drill down and identify what you can expect for your money. For example:

What are your qualifications and registration?
Which professional accounting bodies are you a member of?
How long have you specialised in medical accountings and financial planning?
Is medical accounting the core focus of your services?
Do you have a brochure outlining your fee structure?
What are your billing terms?
Are you using specific accounting software?
How do I submit my accounting documents to you?
Who will look after my account?
Where is that person located?
Do you have a policy in place to deal with client complaints?

TIP
Make sure you add questions that will help avoid a repeat of reasons that made you switch accountants. For example:

Is there a limit to the number of bookkeeping or accounting questions I can ask without incurring additional fees?
What is your average turn around time for responding to client questions, phone calls and emails?

Advise your previous accountant – Step 2

Phone your present accountant and advise them of your intention to switch accounting firms. Despite any pangs of guilt, truth is your best policy. If your practice’s business needs have outgrown your accountant’s experience, explain how positively. If mediocre accounting services are the reason for the switch, give details. Constructive feedback presents your previous accountant with an opportunity to improve services. Alternatively, the conversation provides you with the opportunity to show your appreciation for all the excellent work done to date.

Your new accountant writes to your previous accountant – Step 3

Industry practice predicates that the new accountant issues an “ethical clearance letter” to your previous accountant. Upon receipt of that letter, your former accountant responds in writing along with forwarding any requested documentation to the new accountant.

Unless there is a legal reason to withhold documents, the exiting accountant must transfer all documents to the new accountant. Failure to do so can result in disciplinary action.

Another typical concern clients raise when transitioning accounting services is confidentiality. The Code of Professional Conduct governing accountant states that accountants must not disclose information relating to a client’s (or former client’s) affairs to a third party unless they have:
• obtained the client’s permission; or
• a legal duty requires them to do so.

Even if the switch was no amicable, your former accountant is ethically bound to keep your private and business tax details confidential.

In summary

Most times, the transition and file transfer from the existing accountant to the new accountant is seamless. At Carbon Medical, we negotiate the process for our new clients, ensuring a professional, amicable and transparent process for all parties.


1-HR BONUS CONFIDENTIAL CONSULTATION

For July only we’re offering a bonus 1-hour Carbon Medical Wealth Health Check. We understand how hard it is to find a non-partisan medical accounting expert with whom you can discuss your business ideas and concerns in confidence. But bonus appointment numbers are limited, so book now. Email us today, message via LinkedIn, or call (08)9446 8588.


We’re looking forward to talking with you soon.

Tags: Accounting & Tax

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