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Requesting information from previous accountant

CaroleCarole Feels At HomeRegistered Posts: 56
I don't know why I get myself into these situations!

A friend asked me if I could prepare her daughters sole trader accounts for her cleaning business as she is going through a divorce and wants to split from her husbands accountants. He has is own financial services company.

So I requested the previous accounts and tax return from the old accountants which they promptly supplied. This is for 2009/10.

From the records they have sent me it seems she has a 50% share in several rental properties and also is a shareholder in her husbands company as she was 'theoretically' paid dividends in 2009/10.

I asked her for information about the rental properties and income from her husbands company for 2010/11 and she cannot supply it as she has no records. She has asked me if I can also request this info from her previous accountants.

I don't think this is ethical but would appreciate other peoples thoughts. I'm not an MIP as I only prepare accounts as favours for friends.
I'm thinking of telling her is beyond my remit and putting her in touch with another accountant.

Comments

  • MonsoonMonsoon Font Of All Knowledge FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 4,071
    Firstly, yes I think she needs to get an accountant in practice, it's one thing to help a friend out, but as you say, this might be a little out of your depth, but it's up to you, depends where the boundaries of your comfort zone are.

    If it was me, and my client knew she had income but did not have access to the records because of the divorce, I would definitely request the information from the previous accountant. I don't see an ethical issue at all. The accountant did used to act for the lady, the information exists and thus I feel the client is entitled to it. The accountant cannot, I don't think, deliberately withhold it, even if the husband disagrees, as the accountant is ethically obliged to be impartial.

    If you can easily get the info, the it may be worth a try but if it gets nasty or tricky then it might be best to hand this one over.

    Good luck.
  • CaroleCarole Feels At Home Registered Posts: 56
    I suppose it depends on what info they already have been supplied by the husband for 2010/11. I will try one letter of request to them and if I get no joy I will pass the job on.

    Many thanks for the advice.
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