man with laptop considering changing his accountant

Changing Accountant: A client’s experience 

Victoria Scally News

Changing accountant is a decision that feels big. It may get pushed down the priority list if the essentials are getting done. So too, when you take the decision to change, you want to be sure you’ve found the right advisor for your business. 

We’re very fortunate to have a really great and engaged mix of clients here at Heelan Associates. So, when a client comes to us to offer to write an account of how they found their experience changing accountant, we of course said yes!

We’ve written a number of blogs on the topic of changing your accountant (we’ll link to these at the end). In our experience with many clients over many years, we know that finding the right fit is so crucial to forging a good – and profitable – relationship with our clients. Not just in terms of fees, of course, but in adding value to our clients so they see that our fees actually pay for themselves many times over with the time (and tax) we save them. 

John Stewart at Vision Productions, A Whiteley-based video production company describes his experience:

What was your reason for changing your accountant?

John said “In 2019 I was using a Bournemouth-based accountant. My main motivation for changing accountant was due to difficulties in getting in contact with them. I decided to switch to a local accountant. I knew communication was really important for me, and I knew I wanted an accountant based in Hampshire. 

What sold you on switching your accountant to a local business?

“A Hampshire-based firm was recommended by my network. So I enquired about how I could switch accountant to them. 

This is where my headache began – to be clear, this accountancy firm wasn’t Heelan Associates. I won’t name them, but I will explain a little about my experience. 

When being on-boarded with them, a priority for me was to resolve some issues I was having with Quickbooks and as mentioned, communication was my number one priority. 

What made your experience stressful?

“Looking back, ultimately it was the lack of communication that made this situation more stressful than it ever needed to be. After explaining at the outset that communication was one of my main reasons for changing accountant, I experienced the following:

  • An issue with Quickbooks that needed resolving was still unresolved after three months.
  • We agreed that they would handle submitting my VAT returns. The unresolved Quickbooks issue meant they missed submitting two returns, so I was fined by HMRC.
  • I received invoices for work I hadn’t asked them to do. They had auto-enrolled me on services I had not confirmed and started billing for them immediately. One of which was accountancy software, in addition to Quickbooks, which I was already using.
  • It was so difficult to get in contact with them. The issues above could have been resolved with a simple phone call, and yet every time I called they were in a meeting, and never returned my calls. 

So what did I do? 

I thought that ultimately, this advisor wasn’t delivering what I’d wanted from them, and so I’d made my mind up on changing accountant again. 

In the meantime, I’d seen Heelan Associates on LinkedIn. What stood out to me was the value they were sharing through social media [Thanks John, we must be doing something right!]. 

This commitment to sharing information openly suggested to me that communication must be very important to them, as it was to me, so I sent a message on Linkedin. 

Changing Accountant To Heelan Associates

“So I’d decided to make the change. I sent a message on LinkedIn and had an in person meeting booked shortly after (this was pre-COVID-19).

In the very first meeting we went through my current affairs. I felt reassured that this effort Heelan Associates were making upfront to fully understand my current situation was a great sign, and found it really helpful. 

This was enough for me. I committed to changing accountant, and drafted the accountant termination letter for the other advisers. 

It honestly lifted the largest weight from my shoulders. 

Sleepless nights worrying over issues quickly went, they reassured me that I would have a resolution to all of my issues. When people say a weight has been lifted it sounds metaphorical. I swear I literally felt lighter!

How did we help you?  

“All the issues at the previous accountants were resolved in no time at all.

  • The Quickbooks issue was resolved within an afternoon. Sure enough my contact at Heelan (thank you Chloe!) called me, resolving the situation easily.
  • They got in contact with HMRC and appealed my fines – removing them all. Even better, they are prompt with reminding me when VAT is due and managing it all for me so I don’t need to think about it.
  • The billing is predictable. They bill me monthly, and include everything, so my outgoings are predictable. 
  • I never have any issues getting through to them. In fact I’m consistently impressed with how good they are at keeping me informed, and resolving any issue quickly.
  • Their value added services are great. They send me a quarterly report with updates on the state of my business including upcoming payment due dates. 

How do you feel now? 

All in all changing accountant to Heelan Associates was one of the best decisions I’ve made for my business.

So, I would strongly recommend changing if you’re considering a switch and you feel the management of your accounts is a weight you don’t need.”

Thank you for that great account John.

For us, choosing the right accountants for your business should be so much more than just about the fee they charge you. 

An accountant’s take on changing accountant

As we said, we’ve written a few blogs on the theme around changing – and maximising your return – with the right accounting partner. 

Read more on what to look for when you’re thinking of changing your accountant

Or

What to expect from a meeting with your accountant

And how to get the most out of your accountant

We know – and so often see – that the top reason for changing accountant is around communication, so John’s case isn’t a rare one, at all. We believe that to get the most out of our relationship with clients, we need to offer clear communication, often. 

Even if that means sending a friendly reminder every now and then about an upcoming deadline!

About the author:

John Stewart is Director at Vision Productions

If you’re an existing client of Heelan Associate, do tell the Vision Productions team and they will give you a 10% discount off your first video.