Any Answers Answered: Engagement dilemma

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First impressions are everything, and the first few weeks of engagement are vital to a good client-accountant relationship.

This includes how you interact with the client, being open about fees or charges, and what you include in your engagement letter.

An Any Answers query sparked a lively debate on this issue recently, when a member posted that a friend of his was wondering how to get out of an unhappy relationship with his accountant.

The client engaged with his accountant on the basis of...

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About Rachael Power

Your friendly, neighbourhood community editor. 

Twitter: @rachpower10 


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03rd Feb 2014 15:55

Facts and assertions

This article repeats as facts things we only know about second-hand. In particular, the issue of how quickly the accountant resorted to legal threats. In the thread, Flash Gordon posited a perfectly reasonable conversation that could have been interpreted as "accountant leaps straight to legal threat" when nothing of the sort had happened.

As I and others said in the thread, we must bear in mind that all there are two sides to the story. Reporting one side as fact when it could be a misunderstanding or outright lie, which this article appears to do, is not a good idea.

Thanks (1)
03rd Feb 2014 16:15

Relationship breakdown

Hi stepurhan,

While there are of course two sides to every story, relationships break down between accountants and clients every day. This was simply a way of providing a few tips on how to handle it when it does - rather than deal with that one particular issue. 

As always, your feedback is always welcome and appreciated.


Thanks (0)
04th Feb 2014 09:19

Report as reported

Article wrote:
Upon querying this, he was served a legal notice to pay on the same day.

This assertion is repeated as if it was a fact at least three times in the article. The tone of this sentence does not allow for the possibility of this not being the case.

I'm not denying that there has been a relationship breakdown. The tips are also potentially useful.

What I am objecting to is the article apparently taking the one side of this breakdown we've heard as the absolute truth. It needs to be highlighted that the accountant is reported to have done these things. Anything less is lending weight to an unsubstantiated assertion. At the moment we do not know the identity of the accountant, so no named person is being defamed, but it is still not appropriate to treat hearsay in this fashion.

EDIT : I see this has now been amended. Thanks for that.

Thanks (3)
By akr129
04th Feb 2014 16:02

All in fee

I quote 'all in' fees and £1,100 would be quite reasonable and normal for a small limited company.  However it would be out of the question to include a one off non recurring piece of work like a company formation in such a fee.  I think the most likely explanation is that the client has not properly taken on board what the one off fee included and did not include.  The lesson to be learnt is for the accountant to provide a written list of what the fee does and does not include, so that unfortunate misunderstandings do not occur again.

Thanks (2)