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England- are accountants supposed to provide client care information

Customer Question

England- are accountants supposed to provide client care information and advice in writing
Similar to lawyers
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  WendyW-Mod replied 4 years ago.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.
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Expert:  Fran-mod replied 4 years ago.
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Expert:  TonyTax replied 4 years ago.
Hi.

Can you give me an idea of what you are getting at please.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Perhaps if I phrase the other way round
Where advice is given should it not be in writing
When you go to see an accountant should you receive terms of engagement letters
Is there a code of practice that gives guidance
Expert:  TonyTax replied 4 years ago.

Thanks.

Not all accountants are affiliated to one of the professional bodies and so some won't follow what are accepted as standard practices. The main accountancy bodies can be found here and here.

When an accountant takes on a new client, they should ask the client to sign a letter of engagement which sets out the rights and responsibilities of both parties. The contents of such a letter will vary from firm to firm but its all common sense.

As far as advice is concerned, if a client calls their accountant and asks a quick question, there probably won't be a follow up letter. I make a file note of the conversation. If the client asks for specific detailed advice, that advice should be confirmed in writing to avoid any misunderstanding.

Let me know if you need further clarification.

TonyTax, Tax Consultant
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 15711
Experience: Inc Tax, CGT, Corp Tax, IHT, VAT.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you
Complex tax advice was given by a reputable firm about a large sum but nothing in writing until the wife made a fuss at which time the accountant wrote to her outlining the advice which she has tried to check,and it all appears a moot point.Her concern is that the advice given seems to hae been given in a cavalier way and the only written advice is to her.

Does this created duty of care towards the wife as it acknowledges her concern?

The accountant in question has been the husband's accountant for many years,he says he trusts him and sees no need for a second opinion
Would written advice couched with various caveats not be the usual practice?

You mention attendance notes/ file notes - if matters are of considerable significance would you not expect such notes to be followed in writing
What is the proof that such conversations took place if they are not followed up in writing?

Expert:  TonyTax replied 4 years ago.
As I said before different fiirms do things different ways. I cannot comment really as it's not really a tax matter save to say that on complex matters I'd put everything in writing.

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