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Protect and Collect - The Effective Use of Engagement Letters


Learn to craft an engagement letter that builds the foundation of the accountant-client relationship.

Clients seldom have a complete understanding or appreciation of what professional services they need, how they will be obtained, at what cost when to expect results, and what their responsibilities are to help achieve their goals. For this reason, a client's expectations might not align with the services that they believe they have requested and are prepared to pay for. When this misalignment of expectations occurs, frustration, disappointment, and even blame are likely to follow. Fees go unpaid and relationships are dashed.

This presentation will explain how the effective use of engagement letters keeps client services on track, keeps expectations aligned, results in fees paid in full and on time, and leads to even more business. The live webinar identifies the essential contents of an engagement letter, separating the single focus of a particular engagement from the cornucopia of offerings on websites. It will help you explain your responsibilities--and the limits on them--as well as your client's responsibilities, to achieve the results for which you were hired. You will also come to understand that an engagement letter, being essentially a contract, allows you to shape the agreement beyond the specific service for which you were hired, by for example including defensive language that would increase certainty and lessen stress around the possibility of professional liability disputes. These include damages caps, time limitations on lawsuits, handling fee disputes efficiently and confidentially, and more. The webinar provides essential information about how to achieve client engagement and client satisfaction while managing your business risk and your professional liability risk.



Jonathan S. Ziss, J.D.

Jonathan S. Ziss, J.D.

Goldberg Segalla

  • Partner, Goldberg Segalla LLP, a national litigation firm with over 400 attorneys
  • Co-chair of the firm’s Management & Professional Liability Practice Group, with over 35 years of experience
  • A frequent columnist, author, and lecturer on accountant professional liability risk management and avoidance
  • Has appeared in CA, CT, DE, FL, MT, NJ, PA, and NY and has represented clients including professional service firms, non-profits, and for-profit businesses in many other states as well
  • Successfully argued to the Supreme Court of Delaware, a leading forum for financial litigation, that in an audit malpractice dispute, management’s unclean hands should be a viable defense even if the auditor’s conduct fell below the standard of due care
  • Has tried dozens of cases to verdict and has handled countless administrative investigations and proceedings, mediations, and arbitrations
  • Chosen to serve as an expert witness in an accountant malpractice case, addressing the enforceability of engagement letters and the differentiation among attestation levels
  • Honors graduate of Franklin & Marshall College (elected Phi Beta Kappa); graduate of Villanova University’s Charles Widger School of Law (staff member, The Villanova Law Review)
  • Can be contacted at [email protected] or 267-519-6820 (office), or 215-480-2572 (mobile)

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