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Engagement letters - Client signed now silent

Client has signed an EL for me to do YE 2021 accounts for partnership and Ltd Co

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Client approached a few months ago for me to do their accounts and tax returns for a partnerhsip (YE March 2021) and limited company (YE May 2021).

I commenced onboarding, sending the previous accountant a professional clearance letter, and the client engagement letters. The client signed the ELs straight away and sent them back.

Since then I haven't heard from them or the acocuntant. I have tried contacting the client multiple times to no avail.

I have a feeling the previous accountant may have persuaded them to stay with them for the 2021 year ends. Where do I stand if this is the case? The ELs they signed clearly state that I will be doing the 2021 accounts and tax returns. I want to be clear on my position before trying to get in touch with them again.

Sorry if this is a basic question, I am a newbie sole practitioner! 

Replies (12)

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By cbp99
23rd Aug 2021 12:30

It sounds as though your suspicion that they will stay put is correct, but what does your engagement letter say about a) deadlines for delivery of information to you and b) payment terms?

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By SXGuy
23rd Aug 2021 12:31

What are you expecting to do, get them to pay?

I'm sure your engagement letter sets out a min term to notify them of your disengagement so just write a letter saying if I don't hear from you by x I'll assume you no longer wish me to act and disengage.

Yes it's a basic question but made complicated by being unsure what you expect or want from the situation.

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By David Ex
23rd Aug 2021 12:54

Not sure there is a lot you can do. You could disengage and then seek recovery of the time you’ve put in but it would be a waste of effort.

Send a recorded delivery letter saying if you don’t hear back in a couple of weeks you’ll assume your services aren’t required. Then forget it and move on.

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By johngroganjga
23rd Aug 2021 12:56

I don’t think you should assume that the client has gone back to the old accountants unless and until you are told they have.

If the outstanding matter is the reply from the old accountant to your professional enquiry just go down the conventional route of sending a follow up letter saying that if no reply is received within X days you will assume they have no professional matters to make you aware of and you will in fact accept the appointment.

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Replying to johngroganjga:
By Paul Crowley
23rd Aug 2021 13:32

@OP you need to make hard contact with client. By that I mean get a reply.
However if client does not bring in records there is nothing you can do.

Partnership means 2 people
Are both ignoring all attempts at contact?

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By Michael Beaver
23rd Aug 2021 13:27

This happens quite a lot. As John G says, you can follow up the accountants who have not responded to your clearance letter.

If the client doesn't end up using your services, you have nothing to charge for. The time spent on on-boarding you chalk up to a sunk cost, and you move on with your life.

Also keep in mind that if it is the case that they stayed put, and didn't bother notifying you, you may have actually dodged a bullet!

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Replying to michaelbeaver:
By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
23rd Aug 2021 13:48

It's always a worry they'll turn up at the eleventh hour, seeking to rely upon their contract with you.

I guess you'll have tried phoning 141 the client's sales line / email enquiries. They're sure to answer that!

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Replying to michaelbeaver:
paddle steamer
23rd Aug 2021 14:17

Your final point is probably spot on.

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By bernard michael
24th Aug 2021 11:15

Why not phone the old accountant to enquire about a reply to your letter. That'll probably give you the answer

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By Dogracer
31st Aug 2021 10:09

Have you tried paying them a visit?

‘I was in the area and thought I would drop in to see how things are going’

This way at least you can get closure

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By enanen
31st Aug 2021 11:18

Move on and ignore it. Close the file.

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By JamesDS
31st Aug 2021 12:26

You could try issuing a small bill. No better way to discover if you're still a supplier, than issuing a bill. The response will either be "here's the details you're after" or "WTF, you're not my accountant".

Either way is clarity!

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