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Do I need to sign the letter of engagement?

With L of E's, I currently just get the client to sign and don't do so myself. Is that complaint?

Hi guys, 

Hoping you can help. I currently have a letter of engagement template I use that only gets the client to sign it, and I do not do so as the accountant. Is that OK? 

If it is can you share the sections of the governing body guidance that show it is OK? If it isn't can you share the sections of the governing body guidance that show it isn't OK?

ICEAW is my current body, but I am happy to see what other governing bodies feel about it as well.

Thank you, you lovely people.

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04th Feb 2019 10:34

Technically not sure but why would you not sign a letter that is coming from you, but then expect someone else to sign it?

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to andrew1211
04th Feb 2019 10:49

Thanks Andrew.

Yeah I agree, which is why I am looking to change my process moving forward. I suppose I am looking for a technical reason for either stance so I know where I stand with my current clients.

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to TheMightieBookkeeper
04th Feb 2019 11:46

If you are really concerned, why not just send a copy signed by you to your existing clients?

Wet ink signatures are probably less critical when there has been an offer (letter of engagement, sent by you), an acceptance (letter of engagement returned by them) and performance ( you are doing the work, they are paying you)

If it came to court, your clients reasonable expectations that you will honour the terms in the LoE will probably trump your ability to escape them, based on non-signature...

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04th Feb 2019 11:24

Try the ICAEW technical helpline and see what they suggest.

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04th Feb 2019 11:45

Why not just sign your outgoing letters like everyone else? Job done.

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to johngroganjga
04th Feb 2019 11:59

Yes - surely it's a letter from you asking them to countersign a copy.

I always sign both copies of the letter.

Is it a big deal ? Signing letters we send out ? What's the world coming to ?

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04th Feb 2019 12:16

I didn’t even when it was an actual hard copy letter, now we get e-signatures via PracticeIgnition, I don’t think there’s a way I can!

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04th Feb 2019 15:27

The ICAEW has a huge amount of guidance on LOE's.

if you have a technical query with the guidance, speak to their helplines. I have always had a good response.

Personally I sign my company engagement letters, but the personal tax is all done on T&C's issued annually which I think is compliant, or it was when I set it all up.

The company ones include a clause from the ICAEW's template which protects you in the case of the client not signing the engagement letter.

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05th Feb 2019 09:35

I'm guessing you email your letters to the clients for signing. So do I, and I insert a copy of my signature that I hold on file.
I've always thought a signature was essential for making a watertight contract, or, as someone else has said, an e-signature.

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to Moonbeam
05th Feb 2019 09:55

As someone once said to me "it's fine while it's fine."

But if there's a dispute, there's nothing like a signed bit of paper.

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05th Feb 2019 19:05

Thankfully I dont have this problem any more... I use Legal e-sign.
I create the LOE document with my e-signature, send to client.
Legal e-sign tells me when the document has been opened, when its been signed and when its been returned.
I dont have to wait for the post-its immediate -post clients signature.
Cant do without it.
Costs £18 + VAT per month = worth every penny.

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By ShayaG
08th Feb 2019 13:44

Look at Electronics Communications Act 2000 section 7(2).

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By MW-BM
12th Feb 2019 11:58

We use E-sign by DocuSign.
We have to sign it first and then get the client signed.

With date and time all clearly tracked.
i dont think wet signatures are better than this.

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12th Feb 2019 12:29

We send our LoE out with other documents, so there will be a signed letter in the envelope, but the actual LoE is only signed by the client.

Happily I'm an employee, so I'm taking the tried and tested 'what's the difference between ignorance and apathy' stance on this one :)

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12th Feb 2019 13:10

A firm of accountants should send a letter of engagement to a new client. Only the accompanying letter need be signed,
There is absolutely no need to ask for this to be signed by the client as accepted. Acceptance is automatic unless refuted .

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12th Feb 2019 20:52

I really don't understand the problem, if you send out an engagement letter either hard copy or electronically what possible difference does it make if you sign it before the client signs it or after it comes back signed.

Even if you don't sign it until it comes back it is still an actionable document as they signed it and it is on your practices letterhead.

Believe me you are worrying about nothing you are compliant

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