UCM Billing and Collection Policy
Updegrove, Combs & McDaniel, PLC
Billing and Collection Policy
Updegrove, Combs & McDaniel, PLC (UCM) recognizes the value and importance of communicating its policies to our clients. We are committed to building relationships with our clients where we can each communicate expectations and have open discussions. Please review this policy and feel free to discuss any questions you may have with us.
UCM is committed to providing high quality professional services to our clients. This includes the value we bring to the relationship based on our knowledge and history of our clients, awareness of issues affecting them and our availability for planning and consultation. We attract and retain experienced professionals with a wide range of expertise and provide them with such resources as an up-to-date research library, current technology and on-going training.
Our fees are based on the level of expertise required to perform the services by all personnel involved in your engagement and the value provided. Conferences, meetings, consultations via telephone or e-mail, and administrative/technology fees are also a factor in the fees for the services we provide. In addition, you will be billed for out-of-pocket expenses incurred by the Firm during the course of your engagement. These expenses may include but are not limited to shipping costs, mileage or other travel reimbursements.
- UCM has adopted a policy that may require retainers. This practice not only reduces the time and expense spent on collecting outstanding receivables which will minimize fee increases to our clients but also assists our clients with budgeting of our fees. In most cases, clients who have established a history of promptly paying their invoices will not be required to have a retainer on account. The amounts of retainers required are as follows:
- New tax clients – hourly rates typically apply to all of our engagements. Please discuss your particular fee/billing arrangement with your assigned Partner. Retainer amounts do not reflect the total cost of your engagement.
- Clients whose service is expected to exceed $2,000 may be required to pay an advance retainer of $1,000 or 25% of the estimated cost of the engagement, whichever is greater. Advance retainer invoices are due in full when presented.
- Clients whose account has been in excess of 45 days past due within the preceding 12-month period or when services were last rendered, whichever is more recent, may be required to pay an amount equal to the prior year’s fee before new work may begin.
- Clients with an outstanding past due balance are required to pay any unpaid balance plus an amount equal to the prior year’s fee before new work may begin.
- Services such as, but not limited to, IRS representation, offer in compromise, new business start-up consulting, multiple-year tax filings, litigation support or business valuations may require a retainer of 50% of the anticipated cost of the service and will be billed at our standard hourly rates.
UCM reserves the right to require retainers for other engagements not specifically listed above. Should any of the above-listed retainer categories overlap, the Firm reserves the right to decide which category is most applicable for the engagement.
Retainers do not represent the actual cost of the engagement and will not earn interest while held on account by UCM. Any remaining balance is due upon receipt of the final invoice. To the extent the cost of actual services are less than the retainer on account, you will be issued a refund or credit on account for the difference.
UCM will not begin work on an engagement until a required retainer is received.
- Clients may receive monthly invoices when accumulated work in process for an engagement exceeds $1,000.
- Payment for services rendered is “due upon receipt” as stated on all UCM invoices.
- The Firm will apply a late charge, at a rate of 12% per year, on balances that remain unpaid after 30 days from the date of the invoice. There is a cost to UCM to extend credit to our clients. It is unfair to those clients who pay their accounts on time to bear the costs for those who do not pay on time. Late fees are applied at the end of each month on past due balances and are reflected on monthly statements.
The Firm will use opportunities during client meetings to discuss the estimated cost of engagements. Should the services described in the original engagement change, the client may be contacted by the Firm to discuss the effect the change will have on the cost of the engagement.
UCM encourages its clients to be fiscally responsible by paying their invoices to the Firm as agreed upon. This practice will:
- Reduce client costs by avoiding late charges.
- Protect the client’s credit rating.
- Reduce the Firm’s cost by eliminating the need to initiate our collection process.
- For payments not received within 30 days from the date of the invoice, UCM will either call or email one courtesy reminder.
- Work for clients with an outstanding invoice in excess of 45 days from the invoice date will be suspended until the outstanding balance is paid in full. UCM will send one 45-day reminder letter, however, any ongoing work will stop until payment is received.
- Client accounts which remain unpaid 60 days from the date of the invoice and accounts of clients who have failed to follow through with their payment plan may be turned over to a third-party collector and sent for credit reporting.
- Work may resume if a client agrees to a monthly payment plan to resolve their past due account and prepays an amount equal to the prior year’s fee, with the balance due upon completion of the work.
- Clients who, due to unforeseen circumstances, are unable to pay their outstanding balance in full must agree to a monthly payment plan. Payment plans must be reasonable and provide for resolution of the outstanding balance in no more than six months from the date of the invoice.
If a client mails or delivers tax records to our office, we will not commence the preparation of the return if there is an outstanding balance on their account. The Firm accepts no responsibility for the client’s failure to timely file their return due to non-payment of an invoice.
Disputes over fees will be settled by arbitration as outlined in our engagement letter.
This document is proprietary and cannot be copied or used without written permission from UCM.