When should you change your accountant?
Are you thinking about switching to a new accountant? What if your existing one isn’t happy about such a decision and doesn’t want to close your books at the year-end? What’s more, after that, you’re well into the next accounting year. So when is the best time to change? And what is needed from them?
When the move all goes smoothly
Firstly, a professional and competent accountant shouldn’t have any problem with your decision to end your relationship, no matter when go your separate ways. You may feel a little anxious about finding someone else, but most accountants understand that clients come and go for all sorts of reasons. Of course, they’d prefer not to lose customers, but on the other hand, professional ethics and legal obligations prevent them from making life difficult for you.
But if you think that the working relationship will cool but ultimately end smoothly and professionally, when you decide to part company doesn’t matter. Inform your accountant immediately in writing of your plan to terminate the partnership and specify a date, bearing in mind the notice period. The outgoing accountant will then make all the necessary arrangements for the period before the partnership ends and hand over everything in order. And what is needed from them? If they are a professional, you have nothing to worry about – every accountant knows what needs to be handed over to their successor. And if they forget something, the new bookkeeper will get in touch to ask for any missing documents.
When you expect problems
But maybe you suspect that the day after you announce your decision your bookkeeper will dump all your documents on your doorstep. And sever all contact. And this is the best-case scenario. In the worst case, your accountant stops communicating altogether and refuses to return your documents? What should you do?
You should ensure that your company doesn’t miss the deadlines set by the tax authority and other institutions in such cases. If your financial year coincides with the calendar year, most taxes and fees will fall due in the first quarter of the following year, culminating in submission of the income tax return on 1 April – or 1 July if deferred.
Therefore, it makes sense to announce your intention after you have filed the income tax return. At this point, the outgoing accountant should have prepared financial statements and an inventory of accounts, as at 31 December, which would as a last resort be the starting point for the incoming firm.
Also, the outgoing accountant should prepare financial statements as at the handover date, i.e. 31 March. Even if it hasn’t done so, the successor would be able to manage the routine monthly matters – especially VAT and payroll – as usual and wouldn’t require anything from its predecessor. There will be time until the end of the year to obtain the relevant documents from the previous bookkeeper. Accounting documents are the company’s property, not the accountant’s; holding onto them is essentially a criminal offence. Besides, in most cases, the outgoing accountant wouldn’t want them.
If you’re considering changing your accountant, we’d love to hear from you. Write to me or call me, and we can go through the options.
If you decide to switch, all you need to do is grant us power of attorney. We’ll sort out everything else and arrange a smooth transition from your current accountant. And we’ll do everything to ensure that the financial authorities have no cause for concern.
Luděk Barták, tel. 739 634 583, email: Ludek.Bartak@eibd.cz
I would like a quote
We’re aware that one of the key factors influencing your decision is price. So we’d be very happy to tailor our price to your needs. You can help us by filling out the following form, and we’ll get in touch with an offer based on your company’s requirements.