Explainer Video - Understanding and Using Key Dates
What Is The Key Dates Feature?
In order to meet the highest standards of compliance, but also minimise risk, set expectations and develop stronger relationships with your clients, you will want to include key dates in your Letters of Engagement.
Key dates include the dates you intend to start the work for different services, the deadline for all information to be sent over you and the time limit for completion of that work.
Key dates are key for three reasons.
- Clearly communicating the start date of a service manages your liability when you take responsibility for this work.
- Setting a deadline for all information to be sent over to you helps to manage client expectations and starts to train your client to be a good client. If clients miss a deadline you could charge them a premium or make it clear that you will provide the service as soon as possible, but you can’t guarantee it will be filled on time.
- The filing date needs to be communicated to all stakeholders to ensure everyone involved in the relationship is clued in, nothing gets missed and no fines are issued.
How Does It Work?
Once you have completed the set up (see Step 1) you will be able to pull the correct Key Dates table automatically into all of your engagement letters (see Step 2).
You will also be able to override dates when creating a proposal if necessary.
How To Set Up Key Dates
Work through the steps below to configure your Key Dates section.
Step 1. Pre-define key dates from your line items
First, you will want to define the start dates and deadlines for your services within the line item for that service.
Head to Configure > Line Items..
and edit a line item.
Within the contents tab, scroll down to switch Key Dates on for this service using the slider.
In this example we are setting up Key Dates for Annual Accounts..
- Define your start date for the service using a combination of the available drop downs.
👆 For services like Annual Accounts and Directors Tax Returns, which are 12 month services, you can choose the start of the financial year so information is accurate irrespective of the month you bring the client on board.
- Define the deadline for all information using the correct combination of drop downs.
- Define the filing date in the same way.
Save your line item once you're happy.
These dates will now pull through automatically to your engagement letters when you create a proposal (more on this in Step 2).
More Examples of Key Dates Setups
Here are some more examples of how you might use the different options available to set up Key Dates for different services.
Monthly Management Accounts
- Text fields allow you to free type the exact information you need to add.
- If you do a blend of monthly and weekly payroll and want to set different deadlines for these types, then we would recommend creating separate line items for these.
👆 The statutory filing period is set automatically for VAT Returns and changes depending on how frequently these returns are done.
If you offer a blend of monthly, quarterly and annual VAT returns, then we would recommend creating separate line items for these so that this information is accurate.
- Client specified date fields give you huge flexibility to use any date labels that you might need your client to specify, such as 'next statement date' or 'companies birthday' the
- You will be able to specify the exact date when you complete the proposal details.
Step 2. Create a proposal to pull through Key Dates
When you create a proposal and complete the details, the Key Dates for services you set up in Step 1 will pull through automatically.
This is based on the start and end dates you choose when creating your proposal.
- You can override these if needed by selecting edit next to the row for that service.
- You can switch the table off (so that it won't be included in your engagement letter) using the 'Display Key Dates Table; slider.
Why do Payroll and VAT show TBC beneath Filing Deadlines?
To determine the filing deadline for these services the system will need to know the frequency and date of payroll and the VAT period of the firm.
Since you won't know this information until you speak with your prospect or client, you can specify this at the complete proposal stage.
For payroll, choose the frequency and day of the pay run from the drop downs..
and for VAT, define the VAT period.
The table will update automatically.
Once done, review the dates and confirm before moving forwards.
Step 3. Preview Your Engagement Letter
You can preview the Key Dates table in your engagement letter before you send this to your client.
Scroll down to the Letter of Engagement preview, the table will appear after the introduction.
Edit The Key Dates Heading and Introduction in Your PDF
You can choose how you want to present the Key Dates table to your clients within the Engagement Letter.
This enables you to clearly define the dates you assume the liability for each service and set expectations around submission and filing deadlines.
Head to Configure > Letter of Engagement > Key Dates
On this page you can edit the introduction to the key dates table in your engagement letter and overwrite headings within that table such as the deadline for all information and filing deadlines.
- Setting up the rest of your Engagement Letter