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Waiting for Professional Clearance

Waiting for Professional Clearance


I have recently set up on my own and have taken on a client from a firm I worked for 3 years ago.  I have written to them (beginning of May) for professional clearance and I know that the client has written to them to inform them of his decision and give permission to send me information.  However, I have heard nothing in response.  I chased with a letter last week and still nothing.

There was nothing in my contract that would stop me approaching clients and it has been 3 years!! 

Could anyone give me any advice on how you might proceed from here?

Thanks for your help,



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24th Jun 2010 09:56

Pick up the phone

I hope you left the previous firm on good terms.

Just pick up the phone and ask the Partner involved when you can expect a response to your letter & the handover information.

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24th Jun 2010 10:28

Professional body

If your old firm is a member of a professional body, write to them including copies of your earlier correspondence and mention the applicable Institute guidance (e.g. ICAEW helpsheet 5/2) and inform them unless they respond within a reasonable timeframe (e.g. seven days from the date of this letter), you will report their practice for professional misconduct.

Most firms are keen to avoid that scenario!

Alternatively if they aren't registered, or you want to play nicely, give them a call and ask what is holding things up.

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By ACDWebb
24th Jun 2010 14:20

Throwing references to professional bodies around

a week after the first reminder seems a bit of a big stick to be waving, without a quick call to see if there is a problem.  Keeping it on a relatively friendly footing might even pick up some steers to new clients who don't fit their profile but might yours - well it's a thought.

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24th Jun 2010 15:51

Two months is a long time to hold onto a professional clearance letter without replying. The ICAEW says on average replies should take around seven  days.

I'd do a reminder letter and call and if they remain unco-operative hit them with the promise to report them to the relevant professional body.


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By pembo
24th Jun 2010 16:09


with prior comments.

Your issue depends largely on if the firm is under a recognised supervisory body. If so then ICAEW or whoever would step in but I agree a phone call may be advisable as I would think this is ego/pride led and they're just being awkward.

If not regulated then if you don't get anywhere I would write saying you assume unless you hear to the contrary within 7 days that its OK to proceed. The issue then is available prior year info that of course would depend on the type/complexity of the client. If a subbie for e.g. you can get what you need from HMRC but if  a company may be more problematical without an opening TB etc.


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24th Jun 2010 16:19

Before you act...

If the predecessor fails to respond to your professional enquiry letter, you should attempt to make contact by other means, for example, by telephone. Before acting, your final step should be to send a recorded-delivery letter stating that in the absence of a response within a specified time you will assume there is noinformation which might affect your decision to act.

In these circumstances you are entitled to conclude that silence means the predecessor has no adverse comments to make.

If you require the link infiormation, however and they are regulated you may have to report them to get it.

Let's hope it doesn't come to that!

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24th Jun 2010 16:21

Toys out of pram

Some firms "sulk" when they lose a client. Contact the senior partner.

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27th Jun 2010 11:26

The Incredible Sulk

I've never understood why some firms throw an Incredible Sulk when they lose a client.

I've always tried to act in an adult manner. If you avoid punative billing on the client's way out, provide the link information in good time and disengage sensibly, then if it's a client you wouldn't mind having back then you have every chance of getting them a year or two down the line when they find the grass isn't always greener.

Acting like a child, by contrast, serves nobody's interests.

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By pembo
28th Jun 2010 09:46

trumpet blow

I can honestly say that bar 1 client the handful I've lost to other firms over the years I have not regretted for a moment....I bumped into the one I did regret a few years later and found he'd moved to another firm again...when I queried why he didn't get back in touch he sheepishly admitted that although our service was the best he'd had he'd been too embarrassed to ring me up...but I agree with the previous posts that "rattle out of pram" is both childish and unprofessional and certainly rule out any chance of a return and have your firm bad mouthed in the process...

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