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NSW Accountants - Legal to Act for Both Parties in Business?

Discussion in 'Commercial Law Forum' started by Mucj, 23 April 2015.

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  1. Mucj

    Mucj New Member

    23 April 2015
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    Hi, I was represented by my accountant when purchasing a business. Turns out he was also acting for the seller as well and I ended up with a lemon. Just wondering if, under Australian commercial law, he should have advised me if accountants can act for both parties, and if so how?
  2. Tracy B

    Tracy B Well-Known Member

    24 December 2014
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    Hi Mucj,

    If the accountant was acting as your agent or representative, then they may owe a fiduciary duty to act in your best interests. If this is the case, you might have an action at law. However, I suspect they were just providing accounting services to you and therefore, was probably not acting as your agent or representative. In this case, there is nothing under law (that I know of) that prevents them from acting for both sides. However, is the accountant part of a professional body? If so, there will probably be something in that body's practising ethics that recommends against acting in such circumstances unless the accountant gets approval from both parties.

    Did the accountant tell you they were also acting for the other side? Was the accountant found by you or was it recommended to you by the other side (e.g. to save costs)? Did you get your business terms checked by an independent lawyer?

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