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Departing Client

Client has several limited company and sole trader businesses. I have prepared accounts for Ltd Co but cannot get client to discuss and agree figures (Same position for his personal tax return 2010). He has cancelled numerous appointments.I have prepared vat returns and draft figures for all businesses up to date. Client is unhappy with figures provided and has informed me he is going to a new agent,whom he wishes to finalise and submit the company accounts and all other accounts and has requested the return of all books & records.He has categorically stated that he does not wish me to do anything more on his behalf.I have been paid for all bookkeeping ie vat returns etc up to date.What is my position with regards to the "working papers" for this bookkepping. Is the client entitled to receive them along with the prime records? Do I need to do anything else other than "disengagement letter" incorporating the clients request  for "nothing more to be done with immediate effect" Any guidance greatly appreciated.  

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28th Mar 2011 11:21

Engagement ters

The entitlement to copies of working papers will largely depend on your engagement terms / the contract in place, but it is more likely the outgoing client is entitled to them than not in these circumstances.

I'd agree, a comprehensive disengagement letter, being very clear on

(a) what is done, whats not done, whats pending
(b) fees
(c) ownership of papers, and what you are releasing

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28th Mar 2011 12:11

Depends what "book-keeping working papers" means.

If these are effectively his accounting records, then you are probably required to hand them over for the limited companies at the very least. These form part of the financial records required by company law and it would appear you have been fully paid for preparing these on his behalf. Denying him access to his companies' accounting records is even frowned upon when there is a dispute over fees and other records are held in lien.

As far as other working papers are concerned, it is normally part of the professional hand-over to supply at least lead schedules for the balance sheet items in the accounts. However, in this case the figures aren't finalised and he is disputing the accuracy of them anyway. If there is a prior year then you should supply lead schedules for that year but it may be best not providing schedules for this year up front. You should note in any letter to the new agent that it is your understanding the client is requesting the accounts be redone and you therefore consider these not relevant to the handover.

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