Bookkeeper: terms and conditions
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- Guidance notes included
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About this document
This document is a comprehensive set of terms and conditions (a contract not intended to be negotiated) for a self-employed, sole trading bookkeeper to present to his or her clients.
It can also be edited by clients wishing to put in place their own agreement with a self-employed bookkeeper or accountant.
The document can be used for a single one-off assignment with a defined end date or goal, such as implementing an accounting system, or for on-going services, such as regular provision of management accounts, cash flow forecasts and budgets and accounts preparation.
Key features of this document
Intellectual property protection
The most striking feature of this agreement is the optional provision for the license of intellectual property developed by the bookkeeper. You are likely to develop tools that save you time, or allow your client to work without you. These might be report templates, or spreadsheets containing macros, or a process for collecting data. This IP is valuable (if only at the replacement cost of your time), so you should make sure that you own the rights to it, and can reuse it for other clients. This contract contains provisions that ensure that IP developed in the course of working for a client remains yours, and not your client's. Your client will be aware that when the contract terminates, he loses the benefit of the use of the IP.
Limitation of liability
A limitation of liability provision does two things: it should set out the boundaries of your responsibilities; and it should limit the amount of damages that the client can seek. We include tough terms to help ensure that your client does not pursue you for something for which you were not responsible.
Emphasis of self employed status of the bookkeeper
The contract emphasises the contractor's self employed status and reducing the chance of employer obligations to arise. Paragraphs that allow work to be delegated to others reinforce that the relationship is not one of employment.
This set of terms and conditions is for a self-employed bookkeeper or accountant working as a sole trader. If you operate through a company, bookkeeping services agreement is more appropriate.
If you offer business consultancy services as well, you might consider using one of our consultancy agreements in place of this agreement for those services.
- Details of the parties
- Detailed description of the services provided
- Use of sub-contractors and delegation of the work
- Hours to be worked
- Licence to use intellectual property developed by the bookkeeper
- Limitation of liability
- Dispute resolution
- Other legal provisions
- Explanatory notes and guidance
This document was written by a solicitor for Net Lawman. It complies with current New Zealand law.
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