Reducing Assurance Services? Consider These Tips for Building Relationships with Other Service Providers

If you decide to reduce assurance services at your firm, you still have some options when it comes to client care and service.

Too often we see practitioners sending their long-term clients to another practitioner to provide all future services.

Instead of completely handing clients over, consider if there is an option to retain the general business consultation, tax planning and compliance work for the client. In many cases, just as you are focusing your resources on the services you provide, so too are assurance firms.  

You may find you have clients you could sell to an assurance firm. Or, you may wish to complete a partial client transfer where you retain the client and continue to provide accounting, taxation and consultation services. In this case, the assurance practitioner would only be engaged to provide the assurance-related services. These types of arrangements also work well when there are concerns around independence and / or a conflict of interest.

Many practitioners are hesitant about introducing clients to another practitioner. To help you navigate this handoff, there are a few tools you can use. Take into consideration, for example, Rule 306 in the Code of Professional Conduct in British Columbia. This rule addresses the assurance practitioner’s responsibilities in respecting the relationship between you and your client.

While you can find the full text in the Code of Professional Conduct, here’s the gist:

  • CPABC Rule 306 Responsibilities Owed to an Incumbent
    • 306.1 Responsibilities on Accepting Engagements  
      • A registrant accepting an engagement, whether by referral or otherwise, to provide professional services to a client of another registrant having a continuing professional relationship with that client shall not take any action which may impair the ongoing relationship of the other registrant with the client.
    • 306.2 Responsibilities on Referred Engagements
      • A registrant receiving an engagement for services by referral from another registrant shall not provide or offer to provide any additional services to the referred client without the agreement of the referring registrant. The interest of the client being of overriding concern, the referring registrant shall not unreasonably withhold such agreement.

 

For more insights on whether or not you should continue to offer assurance services,  download our Special Report.



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