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Welcome to the forum and I am sorry it has to be under stressful circumstances.
We are a bookkeeeping company who have clients who come and go. That is business - when they go we provide the incoming bookkeeper with a copy of the file and a complete set of handover notes to decribe the methodology behind our entries. We believe that is our obligation both ethically and legally. To me there is no such thing as itnellectual property rights when you are using propriety software ( be it MYOB or any of the other branded accounting software).
The role and funcion of a sub-contract bookkeeper is to maintain a financial record of the entity, be it NFP, sole trader, proprietry company or trust. Along the way they may prepare reports to show the state of the entity, but their primary obligation is the maintenance of those records. None of this implies ownership of the record.
There is a legal obligation of anyone doing sub-contracting bookkeeping to be a registered BAS Agent, acting under the rules and regulations of the Tax Practioners Board. It is not a preferential matter but a binding obligation to be registered. As a registered BAS Agent your client would be aware of this.You should make sure that you are familiar with the contents of this site : https://www.tpb.gov.au/. You may like to note the page Unregistered Agents. It notes that there are large fines for those who act outside the rules. The 'make a complaint area' may also cover your situation, should such be necessary.
None of the above has anything to do with MYOB and that is the easy part. You should approach the former bookkeeper and request a backup of the most recent file be forwarded to your new bookkeeper with the assurance that the number on the file will be changed, along with handover notes that apply to her treatment of the various aspects of the file. MYOB do have a charge for change of the serial number but i am sure that @Suja_P will try and make sure that this is minimalised at their end. At max this type of change will take 48 hours.
Thank you so much, this is so helpful!
I will definitely touch base with her and request she provide us with the file.
I believe our new bookkeeper is using quickbooks rather than MYOB. Is there a way for the old bookkeeper to provide us with the MYOB file with a new serial number if it's going to quickbooks? What should we do in this situation?
With your reporting year almost at the three quarter mark it is a hell of time to be building a new file. if you have very experienced BAS Agent she will be able to guide the old bookkeeper through the reports that would be needed to build an ongoing file.
The problem will be that a new file will not have a history and you must get that for compliance to ACNC regulations as well as any state regulations. Hidden in the ATO regulations is that you must have the electronic capability to open your file at audit. This means that, although you may continue in QB, you have to have access to an MYOB program to go back through previous years.
In the later versions of MYOB you are able change the Serial Number and if the old bookkeeper has AR201x.x she can wipe off her serial number before supplying a backup. v19 and earlier do need to be amended by MYOB. Your BAS Agent should be able to download a trial copy of the correct version to open the file and extract all of the current details.
There is a chance that QBO offer a file conversion which would meet your needs, but here is not the place to discuss that.