2.PPS Prospective Client Meetings & Initial Contact
ABRT Members are encouraged to represent to clients that they subscribe to ABRT’s Code of Ethics and PPS.
ABRT Members are required to assess their ability to undertake engagements by:
- interviewing all clients to ensure a clear understanding of the engagement required;
- considering if they have sufficient knowledge, competence and capabilities to manage all issues relating to the engagement;
- determining if there are any issues that require any specific skills or knowledge in order to provide a quality service to the client;
- considering if there are sufficient resources and time to undertake the engagement in a timely manner and to meet client objectives.
Matters that I/we consider prior to accepting a client engagement include:
- the identity of the client ensuring this can be verified by legal documentation;
- where relevant, the business reputation of the client’s principal owners, key management and any known related parties;
- for a client operating a business, the nature of the client’s operations, including its business practices;
- the attitude of the client towards tax compliance;
- whether the client displays an aggressive approach to keeping my fees as low as possible;
- signs of inappropriate limits to the scope of the engagement including the client’s inability to provide appropriate documentation, receipts and other supporting evidence that enables the preparation and lodgement of BAS / tax returns accurately and in compliance with lodgement requirements;
- signs of client involvement in money laundering or other criminal activities;
- the client’s reasons for seeking to appoint me/us and for leaving their previous accountant;
- whether acceptance of the client would create any threats to my/our independence that cannot be reduced to an acceptable level by putting adequate safeguards in place;
- whether acceptance of the client would create any threats to the professional and ethical requirements of the ABRT Code of Ethics.
The advising member must therefore satisfy himself that the directors are aware of their responsibilities. He should also obtain written instructions from the board of directors which clearly define the matters on which he is to advise.
If the advising member receives instructions which would require him to act in a manner materially contrary to the Statements of Insolvency Practice, he should only accept those instructions after careful consideration of the implications of acceptance in that particular case. Where the directors act contrary to the guidance contained in this statement the advising member may be called upon to show that the directors’ actions were undertaken either without his knowledge or against his advice.
This means targeting the sort of clients you wish to work with and becoming more selective with the clients you take on. In the early stages of a firm’s life, many firms take on nearly all clients. That’s because the need for building the client base is most important.
As you plan your growth strategies, you will be looking for growth that:
- Comes from a type of work you specialize in, or prefer doing;
- Produces a superior level of profitability;
- Comes from a preferred type of client; and
- Is suited to your firm and team mix.