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The New Accounting Client Checklist

Starting a new working relationship with a client in the field of accounting requires a systematic approach to ensure seamless collaboration and accurate financial management. This comprehensive New accounting client checklist will guide both accountants and their clients through the essential steps needed to set up and maintain a successful partnership. By following this checklist, both parties can establish a solid foundation for effective communication, efficient workflow, and successful financial outcomes.

Gathering Documentation

  1. Client Information: Request the client’s basic information, including legal name, address, contact details, and business structure (e.g., sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation).
  2. Financial Statements: Ask the client to provide the most recent financial statements, such as balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements, to gain an initial understanding of their financial standing.
  3. Tax Returns: Obtain copies of the client’s recent tax returns to familiarize yourself with their past tax filings and identify potential areas for improvement.
  4. Bank Statements: Request bank statements for the past year to analyze cash flow patterns, reconcile accounts, and ensure accurate recording of transactions.

Establishing Communication Channels

  1. Preferred Communication Method: Determine the client’s preferred mode of communication (e.g., email, phone calls, in-person meetings) and note it for future reference.
  2. Frequency of Communication: Agree upon a communication schedule that allows for regular updates and addresses any urgent matters promptly.
  3. Designated Point of Contact: Identify a primary point of contact on both sides to streamline communication and avoid any miscommunication or delays.

Familiarizing with Accounting Systems

  1. Accounting Software: Confirm the client’s existing accounting software and determine whether it meets the requirements for accurate financial record keeping and reporting.
  2. Chart of Accounts: Request a copy of the client’s chart of accounts to understand their specific categorizations and how transactions are recorded.
  3. Access and Permissions: Obtain necessary access and permissions to the client’s accounting system to retrieve relevant data, troubleshoot issues, and provide timely assistance.

Assessing Compliance and Legal Obligations

  1. Professional Licensing: Verify that the client’s business and the individuals responsible for managing the accounts hold the necessary professional licensing and certifications required by local authorities.
  2. Tax Compliance: Determine if the client is up to date with tax obligations, including filing deadlines, tax registrations, and compliance with relevant tax regulations.
  3. Industry Compliance: Research and understand any industry-specific regulations or reporting requirements that may apply to the client’s business.

Defining Roles and Responsibilities

  1. Scope of Services: Clearly define the scope of services to be provided by the accountant, ensuring both parties are aware of what tasks and responsibilities fall under the agreed-upon engagement.
  2. Deadlines: Establish clear deadlines for the submission of required documentation, financial statements, and any other deliverables to ensure timely completion of accounting tasks.
  3. Data Exchange: Clarify how the client should provide financial data and documents (e.g., by email, through a shared cloud storage platform) and specify any required formats or naming conventions.

By following this New Accounting Client Checklist, both accountants and their clients can start their working relationship on the right foot. Adequate documentation, effective communication, a thorough understanding of accounting systems, and compliance with legal obligations will pave the way for a successful partnership. Regularly reviewing and updating this checklist will also serve as a valuable tool to maintain efficiency and accuracy throughout the accounting process.