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Client wants us to train new accountants

Train new accotuntant

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We've come to the end of a client relationship, we wanted to increase the fee from £700pm to £1900pm as the job was just taking too much time and there was alot of moving parts. SAAS business that have very specific reporting requirements where the information came from different apps etc.

Long story short is that we can't agree on the price, no hard feelings involved, they were happy with the work but it's strictly business. The client has sourced a potential new accountant and they want us to walk them through the montly accounting process over a zoom call(s).

Where would you say if you received such a request?

Replies (27)

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By David Ex
27th May 2021 14:50

If you can get paid a reasonable fee for your time I guess there’s not much to lose.

Just make sure that it’s understood by all that it’s then a clean break - no coming back with “just a few questions” every month end.

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Replying to David Ex:
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By Tickers
27th May 2021 15:31

Its not even the fee, it's more the principal. When I took on the client, nobody showed us what the process was. We spent alot of time and energy in getting the accounts into good condition, why would I hand over all the capital to another firm?

Also, does it not reinforce my point that by asking me to do a handover, the client recognises that these are bespoke accounts but at the same time doesn't want to me to do it but for me to show someone else to do it who they think can do it for a cheaper price.

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Replying to Tickers:
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By David Ex
27th May 2021 16:01

Tickers wrote:

Its not even the fee, it's more the principal. When I took on the client, nobody showed us what the process was. We spent alot of time and energy in getting the accounts into good condition, why would I hand over all the capital to another firm?

Don’t do it then! No obligation on you.

You said “no hard feelings involved”. Doesn’t look that way!

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Replying to Tickers:
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By Vallery Lee
28th May 2021 16:59

A flat "no" should do it.

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By Martin B
27th May 2021 15:12

I agree with David. Charge for your time and leave on very good terms. You never know, the new accountant may not last and they may well come back to you.

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By Mr_awol
27th May 2021 15:21

I'd be embarrassed to ask another firm to help show me how to do my job.........

If there is anything that bespoke then has the new firm got the skills to do it (in which case the client should realise that them undercutting your fee is ludicrous - how have they costed it when they don't know how to do it, let alone how long it will take)?

Or perhaps they have plans to make it all better but need your assistance in keeping the continuity of it all in which case perhaps the client should pay you to continue until such time as the new system is ready to go.

I suppose one final option is that the handover balances will need quite a bit of explanation in which case i think you should do it - because that will aid the client in a smooth transition. That's the only reason i would though, TBH.

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Replying to Mr_awol:
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By Tickers
27th May 2021 15:26

I would agree with this. Outside of professional clearance, I've never gone back to a previous accountant looking for explanations.

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By paul.benny
27th May 2021 15:37

This sounds like management accounting/reporting rather than bookkeeping and compliance. As you say, the latter shouldn't need much handover. Most companies doing the work in house would plan for some sort of handover with a short period of paying two salaries.

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By Paul Crowley
27th May 2021 15:38

Zoom will also give new person the opportunity to question something he thinks you are doing wrong.
I would keep it paper and controlled

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By tom123
27th May 2021 15:42

Management accounting is a whole lot more freeform and bespoke though, compared to stat stuff.

Mind you, whenever I have started an 'in house' job I have been always quite grateful to wave goodbye to the incumbent.

The new person / firm probably doesn't really need you - it will be the client who is imagining that they will.

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Replying to tom123:
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By Tickers
27th May 2021 15:51

Very true. Always glad to see the back of an incumbent.

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Replying to tom123:
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By Paul Crowley
27th May 2021 17:26

That would be my guess also
Being taught by prior incumbent may not sit comfortably with new accountant

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7om
By Tom 7000
28th May 2021 09:57

do it and dont profiteer, new people will mess it up and they will come back...50% chance

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@enanen
By enanen
28th May 2021 10:03

A. You are not a training organisation. Also their new member of staff will always blame you for anything they have not understood and potentially cause you liability and dispute. Do nothing.

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Stuart Walker Yellow Tomato Copy
By winton50
28th May 2021 10:20

The question is whether you want to punish the client for 'leaving' you or whether you want to make the best of the bad situation.

If it's the former then refuse and send them a strongly worded email about how disgusting you think they are.

Alternatively, agree to provide training at a reasonable rate, explain that this doesn't include ongoing support unless they wish to pay a monthly subscription and ask them for a recommendation of potential clients for you.

You are always better off leaving things on a positive note showing how you are trying everything you can to make the client's business a success.

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By Ammie
28th May 2021 10:33

Other than routine handover information I would distance myself from the task as I suspect that it won't end there.

A new accountant will either know how to proceed or seek the necessary training from a more appropriate source. If they fail both of these options then there would appear to be a reason why they are cheaper and in which case I would regard their quote as being misguided without knowing exactly what is involved.

I would excuse myself from the task, unless of course it is a lucrative arrangement!

A polite "thank you and best wishes" is in order here.

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FirstTab
By FirstTab
28th May 2021 10:55

Tell them to get lost or in the professional body terms:

I am sorry, our practice is not set up to train people who take our business away. I hope you understand. I am sure your accountant is more than competent to handle the work involved, otherwise, you would not have appointed them.

Of course, we will provide all the clearance information. If there any other way we can help, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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By Munch
28th May 2021 11:00

I initially thought this was an internal accountant, which would have been a yes. Handing over to another external is different. I would actually look at it from the incoming accountant's perspective. If it were I, not a chance I would expect or want to be handheld. I would be building my own process based on clients needs. Clearly there will be existing reports to base that on. I would expect incoming accountant to have the skills. Having said that, one would expect the new acc. to charge an initial set up fee, before the standard monthly. If you are right about the fee level the client will soon face the same fee pressure again very soon. However, if they are willing to pay a good fee for the handover I would do it. I would not be surprised if they end up back on your patch.

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By J.McQ
28th May 2021 11:15

I would just do any routine handover of information and that's all. That way there's nothing that can come back and bite you in the proverbial.

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By Nebs
28th May 2021 13:21

Phone the new accountant (so as you catch them unawares) and ask them if they are aware the client has asked you to do this? Their reply will either be yes or no, have your next question ready for whichever answer they give, and depending on whether you want to help or not.
If I was doing £1,900 of work for £700, every month, then any help to get the new accountant bedded in will be time well spent.

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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
28th May 2021 13:30

I vote you quote this client a fixed fee of £1,200 a month (the difference between the old rate £700 and the new £1,900) for however many months the new accountant wants you to join in.

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By Moonbeam
28th May 2021 16:26

This sort of thing happened to me. Client found someone else to take over from me who hadn't got a clue. (She was their employee)
Having briefly met her I decided she wouldn't be able to do the advanced level stuff that I'd been doing (it was a GP Practice), even if I trained her, so I politely declined.
The boss was only interested in saving money, and didn't really care what their accounts looked like.
Maybe it's a similar situation for you, in which case, walk away very fast.

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Replying to Moonbeam:
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By Tickers
28th May 2021 16:50

They actually care very much about the accounts but ultimately they don't want to pay for the service. I've had this a few times where we took on a client, they grow but you cannot grow the fee because you took them on as a small client on a small fee so they will always see you that way.

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By john hextall
01st Jun 2021 08:47

How has the new accountant quoted for the work if they don't know what it involves? This can only get worse.

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Mark Lee 2017
By Mark Lee
14th Jun 2021 11:23

The implication here is that your client has accepted a lower fee quote from someone who doesn't know what needs doing or how to do it.
I wouldn't be willing to help them I'm afraid.

Reminds me of the greengrocer who gets challenged on pricing his apples at £1 each as the guy down the road sells his for 70p. "Why don't you go buy apples from him then?"

Customer indicates that he is all sold out. "Yup. Well, when I don't have any left I sell mine for 70p too."

I can only see downslides for you if you get involved after a nice clean break (beyond any fee might receive for the training). Many of the potential pitfalls and problems have been summarised by other respondents on this thread.

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Replying to bookmarklee:
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By Tickers
19th Aug 2021 15:42

Thanks Mark and I know this thread is two months but I have an update. Client has since left the new accountant and I since received a call from the "new new" accountant to help "walk them through" the accounts...

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Replying to Tickers:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
19th Aug 2021 15:50

Why not tell the new new accountants to go ask the old new accountants to walk them through?

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