An agreement of an accounting office with a client - what to pay attention to?
Accounting offices are one of the groups of entities with which other enterprises cooperate most often. Regardless of whether we are talking about a small one-man business or a large company, they all have to fulfill their accounting obligations, and the accounting office is invaluable in this. What should an accounting office contract with a client look like to ensure the comfort of fruitful cooperation for many years? What to verify before starting cooperation with an accounting office?
What influences the choice of an accounting office?
Choosing an accounting office is a very serious challenge that entrepreneurs usually face at the very beginning of setting up their business. We do not need to mention the benefits of outsourcing accounting services - saving time, minimizing the risk of accounting errors leading to the imposition of high penalties, no stress related to the constant updating of knowledge about accounting regulations.
However, in order to make the choice as good as possible, we suggest which elements to pay attention to when looking for a reliable accounting office. In many other industries, only existing customers can provide the quality of service. In the case of accounting services, a certificate of the Minister of Finance provides very high quality of services. Such a certificate entitles you to keep accounting books, which confirms the high quality of services provided by a given office.
Another factor that customers check is liability insurance, which is a mandatory purchase for every accounting office keeping books of accounts. If an accounting office has a certificate of the Minister and third party liability insurance, entrepreneurs are more likely to start cooperation, which should, however, be preceded by signing an appropriate contract.
An agreement of an accounting office with a client - the most important elements
Let's move on to a specific discussion of a model customer contract with an accounting office. What elements must be included in such a contract? Above all:
Clearly defined parties to the contract, i.e. the name of the company providing accounting services and the name of the company that will use these services.
The term of the contract - most often the contract is concluded for an indefinite period, and the terms of its termination are described in detail. Of course, it is possible to set the duration of the contract for a specific, specific period of time, such as one or five years.
Information on the scope of services provided by the accounting office. Does the contract concern keeping commercial books, tax revenue and expense ledger, or documentation related to HR and payroll issues.In addition, the contract should contain detailed information on the date of delivery of specific documents and the manner in which the accounting office will store these documents.
Information on costs related to the provision of accounting services. Depending on the specifics of a given cooperation, the remuneration may be fixed or depends on the volume of work.
Additional information - The contract of the accounting office with the client should also contain other additional information, such as the office's obligation to bear liability related to errors, the GDPR statement, and any powers of attorney that may be important in the course of cooperation between the company and the accounting office.
Clear and transparent rules of cooperation
Regardless of how extensive the contract will be constructed, let's remember one most important issue. We are talking about transparency. The cooperation of the accounting office with the client should take place without any problems and misunderstandings - after all, both parties try to make sure that everything is in the best order on the financial side of the company.
Therefore, if the contract or any of its points is unclear for the entrepreneur, the bureau's duty is to dispel any doubts and explain the legitimacy of this point.
What legal loops in the contract should both parties avoid?
As previously mentioned, the basis for successful cooperation between the accounting office and the client is the transparency of cooperation and an agreement between the accounting office and the client that is understandable to both parties. Therefore, on the one hand, it is unacceptable for the accounting office to include points in the contract that violate good manners, and on the other hand, for the client to include provisions that may be inadequate to the agreed price of services. What legal loops should both parties avoid?
The first of the provisions found in contracts is limiting the liability of the accounting office only to damage caused intentionally. What does this mean for the customer in practice? That in the event of an accidental accounting error (which in practice accounts for 99% of cases), the client cannot seek compensation from the harm caused. Potential redress for such a record is possible only in the event that the person responsible for keeping the books will make a deliberate mistake. Another provision of this type is the client's obligation to verify accounting entries, which is associated with his specialist knowledge. Isn't that why the entrepreneur outsources certain processes to separate entities, due to the fact that he does not know it himself?
On the other hand, in contracts between the accounting office and the client, there are occasional entries that hit the accounting office. An example is the provision on a number of contractual penalties that are not justified in practice, mainly due to third party liability insurance securing most cases.
Is an oral contract for the provision of accounting services as binding as a written contract?
According to the current interpretation of legal provisions, an oral contract for the provision of accounting services is also binding, provided that the confirmation of such services are cyclical invoices issued to the client. In a situation where the cooperation is not confirmed by a written contract, the client has the right to pursue claims for errors or negligence, as long as the accounting services were performed on a continuous and not occasional basis.