Author Topic: Question for CPAs - contract work for non attest services  (Read 395 times)

Avolonte

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I have a few questions for CPAs regarding doing some work as a contractor. Some background: I have a full-time job as an accountant (industry). I have passed the CPA exam and should finish up all the paperwork to get a license shortly. I'm thinking of doing some work on the side as a bookkeeper.

One of these jobs is short term, about 10-12 weeks in the fall, during which time I'll most likely receive the license. This job involves inputting payroll hours into a website and having a third party process the payroll, bank reconciliations, other reconciliations (balance sheet recons in Excel, etc), inputting deposits from scanned check copies (no cash), invoicing clients, preparing budget to actual reports, and running financial statements in Quickbooks. All this is done remotely on websites to which I'll have my own log in information.

The company sent me a pretty standard contract, which they send to all contractors, and I'd like to add some language to it to the effect that I'm  not auditing this information--that I'm just doing transactional work. Can anyone point me to some actual examples of engagement letters with language that I can use? Also, I understand I should get some professional liability insurance. Can someone point me to a good place for that (AICPA)? Anything else I'm not thinking of? Thanks for any help!

Sibley

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Re: Question for CPAs - contract work for non attest services
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2018, 10:08:03 AM »
I'll be honest and say that I think you're way over thinking this and none of this should be necessary. However, I haven't done that type of work and haven't thought it though. Make sure that your primary employer is ok with you moonlighting.

@Cpa Cat, do you have any thoughts? I can't remember any of the other CPAs on the forum off hand.

pbkmaine

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Re: Question for CPAs - contract work for non attest services
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2018, 10:24:40 AM »
The best way to approach this, IMO, is to check with your local CPA society. In fact, as a new CPA, joining your local society and attending meetings is a great way to learn the ropes and get CPE credits.

My CPA is currently inactive, but when I worked at EY we were not even allowed to use the CPA credential on our business cards because of its association with attest services. 

Greenstache

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Re: Question for CPAs - contract work for non attest services
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2018, 10:28:02 AM »
Do you have access to Checkpoint through your job (less likely that you'd be able to access with an industry module)?  They have dozens of engagement letter examples for all sorts of situations, so there's bound to be one that would have language you could tailor for this purpose.  I'd look in the nonattest / consulting modules if you have access to those.  (The actual AICPA standards for consulting services are pretty slim and don't have sample engagement letter wording, since an engagement letter isn't required - I think you're taking the right path by being very careful in defining scope up front, though!!)

Liability insurance - I've not had to purchase this myself, but as a rule the AICPA is supposed to be pretty competitive in their insurance pricing.  Your state society might also have relationships with insurers they recommend, as well as preferential rates negotiated for their members.

Avolonte

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Re: Question for CPAs - contract work for non attest services
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2018, 09:44:28 PM »
Thanks for all the replies! I'll definitely check out the state society and Checkpoint.

Yeah, I may be overthinking it. I used to do this work occasionally before without a second thought. Then it was suggested to me that things might be different now with the CPA license, and this being new to me, I wanted to be careful.

Proud Foot

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Re: Question for CPAs - contract work for non attest services
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2018, 01:16:21 PM »
With the contract work will you be holding yourself out as a CPA? Will your contracts reference your CPA status anywhere? I think this may make a difference as well.  I agree with the others that you should contact your state CPA society as well as state board of accountancy.

Cpa Cat

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Re: Question for CPAs - contract work for non attest services
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2018, 07:01:35 PM »
I get my professional liability insurance via the AICPA's partnership with Aon. You don't have to be an AICPA member and I've found them to be very competitive when I've compared quotes. Aon provides engagement letter examples. Having taken many of their risk management webinars, they would almost certainly agree with you that you should have language about not providing attest services and not being responsible for detecting fraud or theft.

It's probably not entirely necessary for bookkeeping jobs, but since they're having you sign a contract anyway, I think it's a good idea to adjust the language to suit you.

If you can't find any good examples, don't let it discourage you. You know what you want to put in there - stick it in there. You can probably cover it in a sentence.