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Discussion:Providing Lacerte backup??

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Discussion Forum Index --> Business Growth Community --> Providing Lacerte backup??


Rach (talk|edits) said:

27 November 2007
I have a corporate client that is changing preparers. She asked if I would provide my Lacerte backup file to give to her new preparer. I have never been asked this before.

My thoughts are that the new preparer has a copy of the prior year return and can enter the information themselves. Her position is that since she paid me to do the work, she has a right to it. I explained to her that I was paid to do the tax return, and this is what I provided to her, but she doesn't seem happy. I have had a lot of conflict with this client (hence her moving on), but I want to make sure that I am not refusing to provide her with something that she is entitled to. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. :)

Jdugancpa (talk|edits) said:

27 November 2007
Tell her she can have it for additional fee. Otherwise, she paid you to provide a tax return, not a Lacerte tax file. Take heart, if she doesn't seem happy with you now, she still won't be happy with you after you give her the file.

Taxfun (talk|edits) said:

27 November 2007
I wonder if there might be a licensing issue with giving a copy of the Lacerte data? Would't the new preparer have to use Lacerte? Lacerete is very jelous about licensing. Several years ago they "fined" a practioner $20,000 for installing the program on his home computer (an unlicensed site). Don't know. What do you think?

Michaelstar (talk|edits) said:

27 November 2007
Taxfun - you make a good point. Rach - call Lacerte with that issue and post the answer for the rest of us to read.

Also, I agree with JD. This is a total PITA client who will not be satisfied no matter what you do. Your better off with out this one.

I feel the computer file is yours and NOT the clients. Have no idea how the AICPA or CA State Board feels about this. Might want to call their hotlines as well and ask just to be on the safe side.

DerekCPA (talk|edits) said:

27 November 2007
I would consider the file to be workpapers and would not give them to the client. She hired you to provide a tax return and that is what you have done.

Snowbird (talk|edits) said:

27 November 2007
I am not an expert on Lacerte but I have been doing a couple of tax returns on a demo. It may be a matter of semantics, but I don't know how you could easily provide a backup file on one client. It appears you can export the data to a file ... text file that is space or comma delimited, then the other firm could import the data. My experience with export files is that you better charge a couple of hours for it ... the other party will be contacting you about where certain information resides, especially if there are blank fields.

San Diego (talk|edits) said:

27 November 2007
The Lacerte file is a working paper and therefore YOUR property. You do not have to give this up. Like it was mentioned before, charge a fee for it. Better yet, if you do not like her, tell her to shove off.

Jdugancpa (talk|edits) said:

27 November 2007
I'm certain there is no requirement by the State Board of Accountancy to provide the tax program data file to the successor accountant. It is not a part of the taxpayer's basic accounting records. However, if you have depreciation schedules (and possibly other calculation workpapers that may not have been printed out but which might be necessary to prepare the following year's return) included in Lacerte that were not provided to the client, they are a part of the t/p's basic records and should therefore be provide (in hard copy) to client.

Kathyt (talk|edits) said:

27 November 2007
Snowbird, it is very simple to backup one client. You just go to file, then back up, and select which client to backup. Very simple.

I have never been asked that before, I'm not sure if I would or not. I did have a new client last year that does her own return, but this year she needed help, next year she will do her own again. She brought me her last year's back up of Turbo Tax, telling me I don't need to re-enter anything, all her information is on the turbo tax backup. I told her I couldn't use it because I don't use turbo tax. She apparently didn't understand because then she wanted me to give her the Lacerte back-up so she can carry it forward in Turbo tax next year. (I guess turbo tax has something similiar to Lacerte's proforma). I tried and tried to explain to her that a backup of Lacerte won't work in Turbo Tax, finally just to shut her up (I got tired of repeating myself) I just saved it in pdf. and gave it to her like that.

JAD (talk|edits) said:

27 November 2007
I have always offered the Lacerte file to the new preparer or to the ex-client and I have always been generous with my thanks when the previous preparer provided it to me. Re-entering depreciation and passive loss carryovers is a huge waste of time. Providing the file is a professional courtesy - not required, but why not? However, if someone asked me for my workpapers, usually I would decline.

Onegreatcpa (talk|edits) said:

27 November 2007
In our little community many of us Lacerte and as a professional courtesy we gladly provide our files when a client wants it. We provide it directly to the next professional. Lacerte has an email option which takes approximately 15 seconds to send the client file to the next preparer. You highlight the client and go to file email and fill in the address to send it. We agree on a password for the client file before it is sent and the professional receiving the file changes the client ID to fit their system. Why try to punish a client who wants to leave? When you know your new client is coming from a Lacerte user and has many items of depreciation or carryovers or AMT credits wouldn't you wish you could just have the file emailed to you?

Natalie (talk|edits) said:

November 27, 2007
I never heard of anyone asking for a backup tax file before, and I never thought to ask for one. I've always re-created the depreciation schedules. It's good to know there's an easy way to handle it in Lacerte.

Larry0434 (talk|edits) said:

28 November 2007
Do not give it out at all, for any amount of money. It is your working papers. I sure hate for them to use information included within it to attack you later.

Dennis (talk|edits) said:

28 November 2007
I'm with The Great One. Typically the new accountant comes over and copies what he wants out of the previous accountant's files. Everybody knows everybody in small towns.

Bottom Line (talk|edits) said:

28 November 2007
I wouldn't give the backup. A copy of the return and the depreciation schedule - yes. This client is a PITA and the backup could come back to haunt you.

Rach (talk|edits) said:

4 December 2007
Okay, quick update. According to Lacerte customer service, it is okay to release indiviudal client back up files. So, no problem with the licensing.

Rach (talk|edits) said:

4 December 2007
Thanks to everyone who responded. I had already told the client I do not provide the Lacerte back up & now I received a nasty letter from the new CPA accusing me of "not taking the high road". He has asked for a copy of the trial balance and copies of all the workpapers to support the balance sheet accounts. My problem is that I was unable to provide a complete trial balance because the client did not provide me with any beginning balance sheet accounts. I was given a pile of bank statements and receipts. Because it is a small corporation they have never had a balance sheet included in their tax return. I compiled the tax return based on the information that was provided to me, but did not compile a balance sheet because I had no starting point and did not need it for tax purposes. Should I have refused to do the return because I could not get balance sheet accounts?

How should I respond to the other CPA?

94nole (talk|edits) said:

4 December 2007
I am with Dennis and the Great One....and I am a little confused and frankly disappointed (that you all really care how I feel, huh?) at the manner that in which many are responding to this post.

Personally, I would pick up the phone and call him. Rational people should act in rational ways. Maybe he is sometimes referred clients that do not meet his practice criteria that he recommends to others. Sounds like an opportunity to forge another business relationship and one less enemy.

And in my experience, it is customary for the two firms to work for the benefit of the client. The acquiror would certainly pay the cost of any transition, copies, etc.

My $.02.

RayR (talk|edits) said:

4 December 2007
Print a copy of the clients tax return to a disk and had it to them. If they have paid for it they have a right to a copy of their tax return. All other work papers are yours and you can hold or release at your discretion.

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