Don’t Let Your Accountant Hold You to Ransom

30th May 2014

Changing accountants should be a simple process but sometimes it can turn into a headache if you can’t get hold of the information that you want. These things usually get resolved in the end but the best way to make sure that you have everything you need is to make sure that you always keep copies for yourself, and if you don’t receive them as part of your routine communications then I would recommend that you request them.

It is perfectly acceptable in this day and age to have the information scanned in and held electronically; you don’t want the business records taking over your spare room after all!

Here is a list of 10 pieces of information that you should be able to get your hands on:

  1. Accounts and tax returns – you should have signed, or at least final copies, of the last 6 years accounts and tax returns.
  2. Personal tax returns – again you should have access to the last 6 returns filed with HMRC
  3. VAT registration certificate – if you have online access to your VAT account you can re-print it from there so no need to worry, which brings me on to;
  4. Login details for HMRC online services
  5. Your company’s corporation tax reference
  6. Your personal tax reference
  7. Copies of all the VAT returns filed in the last 6 years (with the backup to show how they were calculated) – if you are using a computerised system then you should be able to re-print any of this as and when necessary.
  8. Payroll records (6 years again I’m afraid)
  9. Your employer PAYE reference
  10. Your Companies House authentication code – this is used to file forms online such as changes in directors or the registered office

So one last thing to consider is who has your bookkeeping records, if your accountant does all your bookkeeping, do you have access to the records? Do they send you a backup of the system they use? If you change accountants and you are asked to show where the figures in the accounts came from would you be able to? In this respect an online bookkeeping system such as Xero is great as you can ask your accountant for a login and have access to all the data. Also with a subscription based system you can ask for the subscription to be transferred over to your new accountant if you decide to change.

If you are missing any of this information your accountant should be more than happy to provide copies.

Don’t let this put you off changing accountants, if you are looking to change please get in touch and we can discuss the best way to make the process as smooth as possible.