If you are an accountant and you have a client that you have worked with several times, it is inevitable that you know one or two of the ways they tend to behave, and on some occasions, a bond of trust has been created, but despite the fact that you can establish a friendship and trust with your client, the best thing is that your professional relationship is always clear.
Maybe they are dissatisfied with the last accounting service that you offered them; it could be this time it was because they didn’t like the proposed pricing on a fee schedule. Whatever the case may be, you probably have an idea of what could be so it is better to maintain a good relationship with your client and have an engagement letter.
Why Should You Always Have a bookkeeper’s engagement letter?
The commercial agreement between a professional firm and its clients is outlined in engagement letters. The pricing schedule, duties, and commitments of the firm and the client are described. Each party may be in legal limbo without it.
Although verbal agreements are legally enforceable, it can be challenging to enforce them. When it comes to it, just agreeing on something won’t always hold up in court.
Client Relationship Without an Engagement Letter Horror Story.
Engagement letters can be used to set expectations, so when a client first enters into a relationship with you without signing one, the expectations may change in the middle of the project, which may result in a number of conflicts where the client is unhappy, or your team is forced to meet unrealistic deadlines.
Engagement letters assist in risk reduction, can lower professional liability insurance (also known as E&O insurance) premiums, and are frequently required by insurers.
The most terrifying aspect is the possibility that you could lose clients, run into legal issues, lose your credibility, and waste time and money if it turns out that you don’t perform the job as it should. Every single one of these issues can come down to a simple miscommunication problem that can be avoided by setting the guidelines with a strong engagement letter.
Do not be the protagonist of your own horror movie and write a clear engagement letter with all the details to protect you and your business.
Dos And Don’ts with Your engagement letter.
Creating an engagement letter is not an easy thing, there are many aspects to consider, and it must be meticulously written. If you want to get a head start with yours, check out this article where we talk in detail about what an engagement letter is and how it can help you when it comes to an audit process. In it, you’ll also find a free audit engagement letter template you can use to start your own!
But for those who want to create their letter in a more personalized way, here is a simple guide on what to do and what not to do when writing your engagement letter.
7 Step Guides for What to Include in Your Engagement Letter.
Most engagement letters contain the following 7 sections:
Step One: Recognition:
Who will be using your services should be carefully identified. It’s crucial to be specific about whether it’s a person, a group, an entity, or a piece of an entity.
Step Two: Services Provided
Maybe the most significant section of the engagement letter is the scope of services. By outlining a specific list of services you’ll under, you can avoid scope creep and prevent the client from having unreasonably high expectations for the work that will be done.
Be specific about what each of your services entails.
Step Three: Duration of Relationship
Provide the start and end dates of the engagement. If there is a specific deliverable, you can additionally include projected delivery dates (ex. an audit).
Step Four: Fee Schedule
Describe the amount and frequency of bills the client will receive. It’s a good idea to include a clause outlining what would happen if the client requests additional services not listed in the engagement letter.
You may insert a provision that details what will transpire in the event of late payment. It can involve a late fee or service suspension.
Step Five: Responsibilities
In most engagements, the client is required to facilitate parts of the work and to produce specified records or information. Be clear about what the client is expected to do and what information you will need from them to complete the service.
Step Six: Professional Standards
Please refer to the standards of professionalism that apply to this engagement. This varies based on where you are.
Step Seven: Confirmation of Terms
A confirmation of terms that establishes that the client understands the business contract should be included at the bottom of your engagement letter.
With these steps, you now have a clear guide of what you should include when writing your engagement letter, but it’s also important to know what to not include.
What To Avoid When Writing a bookkeeper engagement letter.
The emphasis of creating an engagement letter is on customer experience and satisfaction; therefore, we went ahead and compiled a list of blunders you should steer clear of while writing an engagement letter.
Using Generic Language:
You should compose an engagement letter in clear, concise language. The scope of your job will be expanded if the language you use to describe it is ambiguous or general. This could result in disagreements between you and your client.
It’s doubtful that your client is conversant with legal or accounting jargon. It’s simple for an accountant to overlook that clients might not grasp the jargon or technical terms used in your engagement letter.
As a result, be sure to check your letter and delete (or explicitly explain): Abbreviations, legal definitions, and terms only a CPA would understand.
Make sure your clients can read and comprehend the full engagement letter, and adjust the language as needed.
Marketing Your Business:
Some businesses employ engagement letters as a last-ditch sales effort. Nonetheless, we would advise against doing such because you are giving a contract to your clients, not a marketing piece. Your attempt to pitch further services may, at best, come off as inappropriate. Clients may, at worst, believe that you are deceiving them into spending more money on something unrelated to what you had previously discussed.
Customers Being Compelled to Use A Wet Signature:
A physical signature on a document is neither required nor convenient. Clients will put off printing and signing your letter if you make them, till they have more time. Nobody will gain from the waiting period that follows.
Sending Or Receiving the Letter on A Cloud Storage Service:
In an increasingly digital world, it can be tempting to store your sensitive documents in the cloud for easy and efficient sharing, and while cloud storage services are fantastic tools for cooperation, it might not be the best idea to rely on them for engagement letters. Despite their convenience and accessibility, the privacy of our data stored on these platforms cannot be guaranteed, raising potential security risks for the letters.
Important information between folders and emails may get lost without explanation since cloud services are operated as a shared collaboration space between teams. Whether it’s due to outdated technology, system changes, cyber security concerns, or misuse by your team members, vital pieces of information may suddenly become unavailable again.
A well-constructed engagement letter reflects your professional conduct and creates a good impression amongst clients who use your services. Taking the time to consider all aspects of the process, including what to avoid, is key for bookkeepers to establish a successful relationship with their customers. To make things easier, be sure that if you are going to automate part of the process or trying to help yourself through the use of an app or software, the ideal thing is that you think carefully about the tool so you can make sure it’s safe and friendly to use with your clients.
A Safe Way to Automating Your Engagement Letter Collection.
Manual techniques can be quite time-consuming, whether it’s looking for the appropriate papers, making sure all procedures are completed precisely, or making sure of compliance. But, thanks to automation solutions, you may now forget about these time-consuming tasks. By using a secure solution to automate the process of collecting engagement letters, you can be confident that the necessary data is gathered precisely and on time while freeing up essential people resources.
File Request Pro is an excellent choice for keeping sensitive documents secure and safely stored. The level of security offered by the File Request Pro platform meets all the standards set by regulatory bodies which makes it an ideal solution for storing confidential documents. Unlike ubiquitous cloud storage services, File Request Pro prevents any unwanted eyes from ever accessing sensitive documents.
File Request Pro offers powerful branding tools to make sure your content collection process looks and feels like it is uniquely yours. You can customize design elements, and copy, and even use custom CSS for more advanced tweaking. allows you to embed forms directly into your website so you can guarantee a consistent brand experience that increases customer trust.
After providing File Request Pro with the information it needs, like the name of your file folder, you can upload multiple files simultaneously or have anyone else who is collaborating with you on the project add their own. File Request Pro then stores all these uploaded documents in one secure and private online drive. As a result, instead of spending time manually organizing your files into a Cloud folder, File Request Pro simplifies this process by having them automatically migrated into the Cloud in an efficient, organized manner.
File request Pro makes it easy to stay organized and collect the documents you need during an audit. It allows you to add additional questions to your form, providing more information when needed. You can also set reminders so that you do not have to worry about the client forgetting to send documents or answer questions. In the following video, we show you how to set reminders and send a file request.
As you can see, it is possible to handle engagement letters securely and efficiently with automation. File Request Pro makes it easy to protect your documents and keep them organized for future use. By eliminating manual tasks associated with document collections, you can free up more time and energy spent on other important projects. Furthermore, automating the document collection process allows you to reduce your organization’s expenses significantly while ensuring security in handling confidential customer information. If automated document solutions are something you’re considering, look no further than File Request Pro!
Crafting an engagement letter for your accounting clients is essential to ensure ongoing customer service and build customer relationships. This blog post can serve as a guide, highlighting the Dos and Don’ts of your engagement letter.
To begin, make sure you include recognition of the client and services provided. Additionally, you should provide information on the duration of the relationship, fee schedule, responsibilities for both parties, and professional standards that must be followed. Ultimately, confirmation of terms should be included in the letter such as clarifying whether wet signatures are necessary or if cloud storage services will be used. To finish off your engagement letter with the success we encourage you to avoid using generic language and jargon usage when writing and refrain from trying to market your business through this document.
An engagement letter serves as something which both the client and accountant can look back on for guidance so that everyone remains to understand about expectations for each step of your journey together!