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When is the right time to change accountant?

Updated: Sep 5, 2023

The right time to change accountants for a small business, limited company, landlord or self employed can vary depending on individual circumstances. Many decide to change accountants in April when the tax year ends or if operating via a limited company when the company financial period ends. Others opt to change accountants in the New Year.

Small business owner contacting Purple Accounts Warrington

Others accept the norm and may not be aware of the financial benefits of leaving their current accountant. Switching may sound a bit scary or time consuming, but it’s actually a simple process, so you should consider it if you believe it’s the best thing for your business.


To help you out, here are 10 key situations when it may be worth switching accountants:


1) Dissatisfaction with current services:

If you're consistently dissatisfied with your current accountant's level of service, responsiveness, or accuracy, it may be a sign that it's time for a change. Issues such as missed deadlines, errors in financial statements or tax returns, or a lack of proactive advice can indicate a need for a more suitable accountant for you and your business.


When you’re paying for a service, but your accountant is never there when you need them, you’ll quickly become dissatisfied with the business relationship. If they never get back you then it's a red flag in terms of switching accountant.


2) Changing business needs:

As your small business grows and evolves, your accounting requirements may change. If your current accountant lacks expertise in areas important to your business, such as international tax, payroll, specific industry knowledge, or accountancy software systems, it may be beneficial to find an expert accountant who can meet your evolving needs.


Equally, changing your operating structure may become necessary, as it can present several advantages; for instance, it may be more tax-efficient to incorporate instead of remaining as a sole trader. You may need to be VAT registered and knowing the correct VAT structure is essential and can make a big difference to your finances if not done correctly. However, some accountants specialise only in specific business structures and may not be knowledgeable enough to handle your accounts if you change them. Your accountant should proactively advise you of this in advance.


It’s essential to make changes to your business to grow it and improve your cash flow and if this means changing accountants, then it is just another business decision you need to make.


3) Lack of proactive advice:

An effective accountant should not only handle your financial reporting and compliance but also provide valuable advice and insights to help your business thrive. If your current accountant is not proactive in offering suggestions for improving profitability, managing cash flow, or minimising tax liabilities, it may be time to consider a change.


4) Significant life events or business changes:

Certain events, such as starting a new business, selling a business, undergoing a merger or acquisition, or facing complex financial transactions, may require specialised accounting expertise. If your current accountant lacks experience in these specific areas, it may be wise to seek a new accountant with the necessary knowledge and skills.


5) Unresolved conflicts or communication issues:

Effective communication is crucial for a successful accountant-client relationship. If there are ongoing conflicts, misunderstandings, or breakdowns in communication that hinder your ability to work effectively with your accountant, it may be a sign that it's time for a change.


6) Quality of work declines:

If you notice a consistent decline in the quality of your accountant's work, such as increasing errors, missed deductions, or incomplete financial reports, it can be a red flag. Accurate and reliable financial information is essential for making informed business decisions and if your accountant's work is consistently subpar, it may be time to find a more competent professional who cares.


If financial mistakes cost a lot of money in fees and penalties, it’s probably time to consider whether you’ve hired the right accountant if you’ve found yourself in trouble with HMRC.


If you can’t trust your accountant, you won’t have peace of mind and that's a concern in a business. It can be challenging if you’re constantly worried about your finances and get the support you need from a trusted professional. You hired your accountant so they can take the hassle off your hands and let you focus on running your business.


7) You want efficiencies and use of technology

Gone are the days of shoe boxes, paper bags and endless manual journals or excel sheets. If your accountant is still doing this, then they are stuck in a time warp and have not moved forward. You would also question if they are up to date with the latest tax and accountancy rules to make sure you are maximising your income and minimising your tax.


Cloud based accountancy software such as Xero should be the norm with your accountant. Look for an accountant that has recognition with the software provider such as Xero Gold Champion Partner so you're in the best hands.


You can access real-time information from your laptop, mobile or tablet 24/7 – all you need is an internet connection. You can stay on top of your expenses, invoices, receipts, tax submissions and much more.


8) You don’t believe they’re saving you money

A proactive accountant will always look for ways to save you money, especially when it comes to your tax return. Are you aware of all expenses you’re allowed to claim with your business? The average business owner will probably not be aware of the many ways they can save money. After all, with so many HMRC rules, government regulations and schemes, it can be easy to miss out on what you are entitled to.


9) You've outgrown your accountant

It’s great when your business starts growing, but this can also mean your current accountant may not be the best fit for your business anymore. Your accountant might be your 'mate' who does the books form the kitchen table, but what do they know about management accounts, managing cashflow, KPIs, budgeting or business funding?


Growth can be sudden or slow, but not having the right people on your accounts can really hinder your progress. A trusted expert who has been there and done too as a business owner is invaluable.


It can also happen that your accountant has got too big for your business. Many contractors, self employed and freelancers don’t like feeling like just a number, so they choose smaller firms.


10) You’re Getting Unexpected Fees

Unsurprisingly, one of the most common complaints of business owners, landlords and self employed who want to switch accountants is that they’re being charged for additional things that they are not aware of. As a business owner, you want to know exactly what your accountant is charging you for and which services are included in the price from the outset. A fixed fee accountancy package is essential for managing your budget for fees and this should include everything you need and nothing that you don't.


Transparency is important so, if you’re getting unexpected fees you don’t understand, it may be time to look elsewhere. It's worth noting though that as your business grows you will have more transactions - resulting in more bookkeeping work and may change structure or need a payroll service. Your accountant should explain all of this to you and associated costs.


Why should You switch to Purple Accounts?

Purple Accounts is a family run business established in 2007 with a lovely small, friendly team based locally in Stockton Heath, Warrington. With dozens of 5* Google reviews and Xero Gold Champion status you're in the very best hands with us. We help small businesses, limited companies, sole traders, landlords, contractors and individual needing self assessment.


You'll get a dedicated accountant and a monthly fixed fee package that includes everything you need and nothing you don't. As you grow, you can bolt on additional services such as payroll, VAT etc..


Purple Accounts service comparison

It’s very simple to switch accountant to Purple Accounts so you don’t have to stress about it being a lengthy or complicated process:

  1. Get a quote and sign up with Purple Accounts

  2. Notify your current accountant

  3. We will contact your accountant for a professional handover

So there's never really a 'best' time to get a new accountant. It's always valuable to have a chat with a couple of accountants and get a feel for how they work and if they are switched on.


Get in touch today with Purple Accounts for a friendly chat and see if you like us. Email: enquries@purpleaccounts.com or call 01925 979500 today.



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