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I have let a client go as it wasnt worth the hassle,

I have let a client go as it wasnt worth the...

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Hi

I have recently had to let a client go, as the relationship had become unworkable, her previous accountant also done the same so I am thinking it isnt me!!!! Plus this is the first client that i have had to let a client go!

My concern is, i have now received a clearance letter from the new accountant and if the first para as usual it asks if there is is a reason why they should not take this client on.   What do I say ethically, I would imagine that the accountant is going to take on the client anyway and don't want to sound petty by talking about the working relationship failure, but at the same time I would want a heads up about what i am getting myself into.

What would you want me to say if you were the new accountant?

Thanks

Replies (18)

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By johngroganjga
26th Mar 2015 08:09

Unless your difficulties with the ex-client include e.g. doubts about the client's honesty and truthfulness there is in my opinion nothing to report.  The usual issues, whatever they were - poor record keeping, slow payment of fees, personality clashes, rudeness, unreasonable expectations etc. are not, in my opinion, matters for the professional enquiry letter. 

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By Red Leader
26th Mar 2015 12:46

my approach

I never respond specifically to the professional clearance request but just send the a/cs, TR, etc. I do this very promptly. Others may correct me, but I think one is on dangerous ground offering any opinion regarding the ex-client's honesty, or anything else for that matter.

If I do happen to speak to the new accountants on the phone, I do wish them luck if the ex-client was a PITA, or I point out they are the nth accountant in as many years.

I've got passed the stage of feeling a need to "explain" the client relationship to the new accountant. I just let it go.

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By andy.partridge
26th Mar 2015 14:04

A priceless commodity

Red Leader wrote:

I've got passed the stage of feeling a need to "explain" the client relationship to the new accountant. I just let it go.

That is emotional intelligence.
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By TaxTeddy
26th Mar 2015 08:12

It's not a reference

It's just confirming you have no professional objection to the appointment.

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By johngroganjga
26th Mar 2015 08:17

Disagree

TaxTeddy wrote:

It's just confirming you have no professional objection to the appointment.

Disagreeing slightly - it's not about you objecting it's about you informing the new accountant of any professional matter they need to be aware of (e.g. that the client is a self confessed crook) in deciding whether to accept the appointment.

 

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By A E Scott
26th Mar 2015 08:24

That's great, thanks for the feedback, I will act accordingly

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By Maslins
26th Mar 2015 08:24

What johngroganjga said.

Had one a while ago where the accountant taking over asked for last 2 years of accounts.  I advised in unemotive language that as we'd only acted for 3 months I was forwarding the one year's accounts I got from the previous accountant, as I believed they'd only acted for 1 year themselves.  I got a response from the new accountant along the lines of "oh dear, he's one of those is he".

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By andy.partridge
26th Mar 2015 09:23

I agree

You only need to refer to doubts about honesty.

I have been known to sign off a letter with 'Good Luck!' to give the incoming accountant a little forewarning.

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Euan's picture
By Euan MacLennan
26th Mar 2015 10:39

Delighted

andy.partridge wrote:

I have been known to sign off a letter with 'Good Luck!' to give the incoming accountant a little forewarning.

I have been known to start my reply with "I am delighted to receive your letter ...".

It is up to the incoming accountant to take the hint and give you a call "off the record".

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
26th Mar 2015 09:24

.

I find the thing that rings on your desk is most useful in such circumstances. Tell the new people how it is "off the record", and they can act accordingly. 

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By Flash Gordon
26th Mar 2015 10:42

With Andy & Euan

I go with the 'I am delighted.... Good luck!' approach. You're then being professional and enlightening at the same time. 

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By sharonm1
26th Mar 2015 11:06

Best wishes

We had a professional courtesy letter come back saying "We wish you every success with the relationship"! No problem so far but I am now wary!

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By Anne Robinson
26th Mar 2015 11:07

Many years ago I once read in an outgoing accountants letter "we cant think of a client we are more glad to get rid of"

Straight to the point!

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By Maslins
26th Mar 2015 12:37

Keep it professional

Anne Robinson wrote:
Many years ago I once read in an outgoing accountants letter "we cant think of a client we are more glad to get rid of" Straight to the point!

I'd certainly avoid putting something like that. Always worth bearing in mind that anything put in writing could easily be forwarded around to people beyond those it was initially sent to.

Keep it professional and based on facts rather than your opinion.

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By andy.partridge
26th Mar 2015 11:40

Avoid

Best avoid a rant about the client. It would be counter-productive, saying as much about you as the client.

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By TaxMatters
28th Mar 2015 10:28

Fairness rules

I recently lost a client to a colleague. I knew I was the third in 18 months so I took the road of printing the words "professional reasons" in bold, and underlined. For me that says there may not be professional reasons but there are plenty of other reasons. At the end of the day it is not fair to allow the new guys to go into the relationship without any warning of what they may be getting into. All may go well but forewarned is forearmed!

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By Tosie
28th Mar 2015 15:45

No alerts

Judging by the number of questions on this site that begin "we have recently taken over a client and everything the other accountant has ever done is wrong " I think that many accountants like to score points by putting previous accountant down. Therefore in my opinion if you suggest that the client is less than perfect you may find that the incoming accountant passes on your comments to ex client.

Not all accountants are decent people.

 

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By Cardigan
28th Mar 2015 17:43

Don't say or imply anything

We were advised by our Institute not to state anything in the professional "clearance" letters even when we had a particularly dodgy client. They couldn't tell us a single instance of when it was ok to put anything other than "there are no reasons" on the letter.

 

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