Is it a conflict of interest (romantic)?

Is it a conflict of interest to be romantically involved with your accountant?

Didn't find your answer?

It's come to my recent knowledge that an accountant is romantically involved with one of their clients and I am unsure if this is a conflict of interest that can be reported on in the worst case scenario, or more of a general 'frowned upon' situation?

Replies (22)

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By Paul Crowley
18th Mar 2024 15:53

What is your position in this scenario?
Is the accountant doing a good job representing his client?

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By Roland195
18th Mar 2024 15:53

Are you writing a novel or is this a real concern? No one would suggest it as an ideal situation but where it falls on the spectrum of naughtiness depends on many other factors.

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paddle steamer
By DJKL
18th Mar 2024 15:59

Well, nothing to say accountants cannot act for spouses/family members, except for the fact that some are "difficult" clients so maybe they ought not.

I still do accounts and payroll for sister/bother in law's Ltd Co plus their payroll and checked my wife's tax code the other week, also used to do Nephew and his Spouse's tax returns/rental property accounts, luckily other Nephew married an accountant so she does his SA)

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By Tom+Cross
18th Mar 2024 16:00

And what role do you play in this Je t'aime scenario? Are accountants supposed to be devoid of feelings?
I think it's a tad old hat to assume that financial activities are grey.

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By Leywood
18th Mar 2024 16:07

How do you know that the Accountant hasnt dis-engaged?

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Stepurhan
By stepurhan
18th Mar 2024 16:13

Why do you think it is a conflict of interest?

Accountants are supposed to work in the best interests of their clients. Being in love with a particular client would not appear to be in conflict with that.

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
18th Mar 2024 17:15

Depends who the stakeholders are who might have an interest, and why there might be a conflict of interest.

If its an audit asignment, then yes impartiality may be in question.

If say a manager of a mid sized firm is having an affair with somone in the accounts department of a client, it may be the accountant could be put under pressure to overlook matters or being "outed", and you would probably be wise to ask to be put on a different assignment just to remove any hint of any wrong doing.

But if its just a one man band doing the tax return of romantic partner, then so what?

You need to know what the issue is.

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By SXGuy
18th Mar 2024 18:15

Oh dear, I better let the wife know.

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By AdamJones82
18th Mar 2024 18:16

Got rejected did you?!

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By Postingcomments
18th Mar 2024 18:21

I think you should be happy that your ex-wife has moved on and found someone new. Try to be happy for them. Don't try to make trouble - it won't do you any good.

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Replying to Postingcomments:
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By FactChecker
18th Mar 2024 19:01

Sounds spot on!
Any post that starts "It's come to my recent knowledge .." has lost my attention before it continues.
How? / Why? / Who? / When? (I'll omit What?) - but the relevance to OP is?

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By SB_110
18th Mar 2024 19:10

Hi all, apologies for being so cloak and dagger. I'm just trying to get a better understanding following my parents divorce, it's nothing to do with my own romantic life. I'm trying to get my account deleted to stop using up your time. I do appreciate the responses. My concern is the sizeable assets as this person has demonstrated some odd behaviour so I'm worried about my mum, that's all.

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Replying to SB_110:
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By paul.benny
18th Mar 2024 19:20

Now the concern is clearer, it's easier to give a relevant answer rather than a flippant one.

Accountants who are members of a professional body are required to abide by ethical principles. You're referring to Objectivity but I think Integrity and Professional Behaviour (it's expressed in more words than that) are perhaps more relevant.

I don't think there is any inherent breach of those principles here but it's difficult to comment more specifically without a discussion. I would say that I think it's something you probably address directly with your mother.

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Replying to paul.benny:
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By SB_110
18th Mar 2024 19:38

Thank you, this has been really helpful to further my understanding. I appreciate it

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Replying to SB_110:
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By FactChecker
18th Mar 2024 20:47

Now that there is some light on the subject, a couple of quick points:

1. The key within Paul's helpful response was "who are members of a professional body" ... a person acting as an Accountant doesn't always have to be, so it's worth finding that out (just in case, hopefully not, that it becomes relevant);
2. There's a world of difference (legally and hopefully in reality) between being an Accountant and a Financial Adviser, and the former cannot provide the latter services (unless, extremely unusually, qualified as both).

Talking to your mother is where I would start, but (without knowing her or your personalities) be very careful you don't give off the wrong 'vibes' - as all people, especially those in a relationship, are apt to construe a mild warning as 'you hate him don't you'!
Try to keep the conversation about her not him ... asking about her plans for the future and gently discouraging any rush to 'investment' decisions. You might even want (depending on her age) to introduce the topic of PoAs 'just to put your mind at rest in the future' - but that could trip a wire, so be careful.

Anyway, beyond my remit (by a long chalk) - but best of luck.

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Replying to FactChecker:
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By SB_110
19th Mar 2024 08:26

Thanks for this. I've already checked various professional bodies and seen which one they are a member of. They are definitely her accountant and we did POAs a little while back. Whilst health & welfare are her children, the accountant is her finance POA, which regardless of being an accountant I find really strange.
I'll be checking docs on the professional body website regarding ethics. I'm on more of a fact finding mission before we have the convo with mum and naturally trying to avoid any fall out. This really is about her long term best interests and retirement plus she has a dependent. This isn't about making a bold statement or causing upset for no good reason, but wanting to do due diligence. If there's no problem with this set up on paper or professionally then all we can do is raise our concerns supportively

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By Paul Crowley
18th Mar 2024 22:40

No conflict of interest
The risk to address is lack of independence, for accounting and tax purposes.

Financial services are a different matter.

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
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By paul.benny
19th Mar 2024 07:17

Paul Crowley wrote:

No conflict of interest
The risk to address is lack of independence...

Err...aren't they the same thing?

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Replying to paul.benny:
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By Paul Crowley
19th Mar 2024 15:34

Definitely not

Independence means have no financial interest in the client.

Conflict means that you are acting for two persons with opposite interests. EG valuing a business for both buyer and seller

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By Wycher
19th Mar 2024 10:03

One question did they become romantically involved after the POA was signed?

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By InterimAccountant
21st Mar 2024 16:37

As long as its 'Arms Length' you're fine

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By Frank Maher
22nd Mar 2024 11:41

There might be independence and integrity issues if the accountant is either (a) providing expert witness evidence, or (b) advising in relation to the client's matrimonial finance issues. Otherwise, I think there is generally no issue.

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