What are the problems with changing accountants for a small business?

What are the problems with changing accountants for a small business?

If you’re switching accountants for your small business you’re probably doing so because your new accountant will provide a better service to your small business than your old one. It’s likely they understand your needs better, are more responsive, or are using more appropriate accounting software for your business.

Long term, changing accountants is clearly going to be better for your small business but there are some short term problems that you can encounter and it worth being aware of these so that you can manage your expectations. Believe it or not, many small business will stay with an accountant providing substandard service because of the perceived problems with changing accountants. But with a bit of management, those problems aren’t so bad.

Here are some potential problems you might encounter when changing accountants in the UK:

Transition Period

Transitioning from one accountant to another can be time-consuming and may require substantial effort on your part. You'll need to provide your new accountant with all the necessary financial information and documents, and they will need time to understand your financial situation and business operations.

Knowledge Transfer

Your previous accountant may have developed a deep understanding of your financial history, business structure, and tax strategies. It might take time for your new accountant to acquire this level of insight, which could impact their ability to provide tailored advice.


Changing accountants can cause a temporary disruption in your financial management processes. This could affect tasks like filing taxes, managing payroll, and addressing other financial matters. Ensuring a smooth transition is essential to minimise any negative impacts.

Contractual Obligations 

If you had a contractual agreement with your previous accountant, there might be terms related to termination or notice periods. Failing to adhere to these terms could lead to legal or financial complications.

Data Transfer and Security

Transferring sensitive financial data from your previous accountant to the new one raises concerns about data security and confidentiality. Proper measures need to be taken to ensure the safe transfer of information.

Change in Approach

Your new accountant might have a different approach to handling your finances, taxes, and business planning. This change could either be positive or result in misalignment with your expectations.

Relationship Building

Building a strong working relationship with your accountant takes time. You may need to invest effort in getting to know your new accountant and ensuring they understand your financial goals and needs.

Potential Gaps

There's a possibility that during the transition, some important financial matters or obligations might fall through the cracks, leading to potential compliance issues or missed opportunities.

To mitigate these problems, consider taking the following steps:

Thorough Research

Before making the switch, thoroughly research potential new accountants. Look for professionals with experience in your industry and check Google and Trustpilot reviews. You can also use our New Accountant Vetting Checklist to ask the right questions.

Open Communication

Clearly communicate your expectations and financial goals to your new accountant. This will help them understand your needs and provide better service.

Smooth Transition 

Coordinate with both your old and new accountants to ensure a smooth transition. Provide all necessary documentation and information to your new accountant. The new accountant, the old accountant and you should be clear on the cut off for each service: who will be doing the payroll during the transition for example.

Legal and Contractual Considerations 

Review any contracts or agreements you have with your current accountant to understand the termination process and notice periods. You may need to pay both accountants for a month or two. This will probably be worthwhile if the service you are going to receive from the new accountant is a considerable improvement on the old one.

If you're interested in finding out how Acumenica can make changing accountants less painful, please get in touch today. Partnering with us will give you confidence and peace of mind that your business finances are in good shape. To start the journey, please book a Discovery Call or complete the form on our Contact Us page.