This resource has been developed for the UK market – if you are not based in the UK then you should consider how the information and advice can be applied in your market.
Letters of engagement are mandatory. On accepting an appointment, the practitioner must send the client a letter of engagement. This forms the basis of a contractual relationship between the practitioner and the client. 

A properly worded letter of engagement establishes the framework in which the client relationship is managed.

It should set out the work that is to be performed and the basis on which the fees will be charged. (It is rarely worthwhile suing a client for non-payment of fees if you do not have a letter of engagement in place.) 

Many practitioners now limit their liability for work done by an appropriately worded clause in the letter of engagement. The liability cap should be discussed and agreed with the client at the start of the assignment. 

Dispute resolution

Another area that is strongly recommended to be included in a letter of engagement is that of dispute resolution.

Whilst a client should be informed that they have the right to approach ACCA if a dispute cannot be resolved satisfactorily, in the first instance, the engagement letter should explain the firm’s internal disputes resolution procedure.

In particular, it should identify the person within the firm that the client should contact in the event that he or she is dissatisfied with the service received. 

For UK members, we have free factsheets available containing engagement letters that members can use.

However we believe that the future of this area lies in the integration of payment, money laundering requirements and engagement letters into a single onboarding process so in the UK we have partnered with Ignition who can offer their product with ACCA templates. You can have a free trial of their product - more information is available here.

You can hear more about the importance of engagement letters in these webinars:

Ignition also has a free guide on getting started with client engagement letters.

Factsheets available for immediate download

UK members can download our free Technical Factsheet Engagement Letters for Tax Practitioners, Technical Factsheet Engagement Letters - Accounts production, updated VAT schedules for use from 1 January 2021 following the end of the transition period on departure from the EU, and a subcontractor agreement.