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Brief Engagement Letters

Brief Engagement Letters


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By bobhurn
24th Aug 2010 11:11

Commencement tax year

I have had only a brief read of these.  I think that you need to include:


The first tax year that the terms apply to:

Who will be responsible for prior years (i.e. former agent)

Money Laundering: The right to cease to act without notice and should this occur all outstanding fees are immediately due.  Also, if relevant, the fact that you will undertake electronic ID checks.

Just my initial thoughts

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24th Aug 2010 11:59

Ltd Companies

shouldnt the Limited company letter make reference to companies act and audit exemptions and the like?

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By DMGbus
24th Aug 2010 13:48

Very good idea

I am familiar with engagement letters that run to 3,087 words spread out over 7 mind-numbingly boring pages or for a non-audit accounts assignment running to some 3,766 words over some 10 pages.

So it is greatly refreshing to see some commonsense 1-page engagement letters which all parties probably read and understand - in contrast with the 7 or 10 page garbage that I'm familiar with probably never get properly read (fall asleep after two pages?) and therefore well deserve the description "garbage".

If, as has been suggested, these example 1 page enagement letters are a little "light" on detail, then this little bit of extra detail could be added, still retaining the (in my eyes) "holy grail" of a concise and undertstandable 1 page engagement letter.

However, the firm I work for I think justify their 7 or 10 page garbage as they're "what Mercia recommend" or "what the Institute recommend" (can't remember which, equally boring "driving with the handrake on").




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By bobhurn
24th Aug 2010 14:25

Registered Office

You don't happen to have one covering the use of your office as the Registered Office do you.  We have a problem when clients leave that we can never get them to sign the Co House form to get the RO moved away from our address.  We can do this online but I think we need to have a signed form first.  I am minded to come up with somthing along the lines of cahrging £100 per month from the 91st day after they cease to become a client and actually bill it. We will never get paid but the first invoice night prompt action.

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24th Aug 2010 15:01

Not at the moment

I haven't got a Registered Office letter at present.

I wanted to ensure that I wans't doing anything wrong by using these. 

With a bit of tweaking they might just work!

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By Monsoon
24th Aug 2010 15:30

Reg Office - how to make clients change it

Slight tangent, if they won't change the RO address, write to them to say they have to, and warn them that if they don't in x days/weeks, you will inform Co House.

If you inform Co House that X Ltd no longer has a valid RO then Co House will write to the Directors and strike the company off if they don't get it changed!


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24th Aug 2010 15:59

might be an obvious comment but...

what happens if you have a client who needs accounts, tax returns, payroll, VAT etc

are you going to send 4 engagement letters 1 for each service? are you really saving anything by sending seperatley as opposed to 1 letter covering all services?

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24th Aug 2010 16:18

"Yorkshire accountancy"

It reminds me of the Hale and Pace "Yorshire Airlines" piece (see utube).

"Eyup Lad ! Does tha want tha acounts doin' "

Are the partners Mssrs Boycott and Illingworth ?



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24th Aug 2010 16:21


...time and time again small business owners simply do not understand a 10-15 page engagement letter.

However, even if it did mean sending 4 or 5 of these simple engagement letters at least they understand them.

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24th Aug 2010 16:39

Anything similar...

...Does anyone else have anything similar or do ALL accountants use the longer engagement letters?

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24th Aug 2010 19:22

Green engagement letters

We work with one firm who puts all their engagement letters on their website (log on to download and agree) and I've also seen a short engagement letter with standard terms of business in a separate document and also on website.

I know ours are way too long and this post has reminded me to get this sorted and stop wasting time and paper, so thanks for the thread.


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24th Aug 2010 19:52


Hi.  Thanks for the post.  Which website do you use? 

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By happy
24th Aug 2010 21:58

Great idea - being very pikky your reference to the Inland Revenue should be HMRC.

I think it's a great idea.

I now use one long one based on the standard ACCA letters on the CD they sell, but its still too longwinded and wordy. 


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10th Feb 2011 17:08


Any update in your short version of Engagement Letters?

Please keep us updating. Just wondering if your final one is one page OR under five pages.



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