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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 41221
Experience:  Run my own successful business/contract law practice.
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I replaced my past Bookkeeper, that is an Independent Contractor

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I replaced my past Bookkeeper, that is an Independent Contractor because she was not willing to come to my office. She did the books remotely. I told her that I needed a Bookkeeper that would work in house. She said "great" and she agreed she was too busy. After I had the conversation with her, I asked her to stay on until Judy began. She agreed but did not honor her word. I e-mailed her my 2012 taxes that needed to be paid to the Feds and State. She inturn, sent the e-mail to my receptionist and told her to pay this. I payed my own taxes. She also stood us up on payroll, and Judy had to change her schedule to make sure my Employee's received their checks on time. I found that she was paying herself online without invoicing us. I questioned her about it and she said that she did send invoices. I asked her to e-mail over the invoices from 2006, with no response. She did give the passwords to our Quickbooks and the EDD, but they do not work. Judy e-mailed her directly, and she responded to me that it is up to me to give Judy that information. She stopped working in April, and on May 20th, my Receptionist was going throughy bank statement, and found she had paid herself $400.00. I called her and she said that I owed her that for the "Newsletter" that she created for my Company.. which I did not ask her to do and we did not use the newsletter. That is another reason for her departure, she wanted to do be involved in other area's of my Company, which put the books on the back burner. I was receiving penalties from the Feds and State, because we were late on payment, when we had plenty of money in the bank. I questioned her about my concern regarding these matters, and her response was that we needed to pay.
I am sorry for the lengthy e-mail, but I am tired and frustrated at her lack of cooperation to speak with the new Bookkeeper, it is costing my business money that is not neccessary. I am paying the new Bookkeeper to try and figure out what is going on with the books, with no tools or info to work with. Is the past Bookkeeper at all responsible for passing on the info, passwords, invoices, etc. to my new Bookkeeper and CPA.
Also,I have just changed the business from a Sole Prop to a S-Corp, we are changing Tax ID#'s, bank account #, etc. So we are busy putting this all together, and we are very excited. My Banker, Michelle, from Citibank, highly suggested I keep my Sole Prop bank account open until all is smoothly moving along, but is not aware of my past Bookkeeper still has my bank account and password. Any advise... just want to move on and grow the business of 21 years.

Many Thanks,

Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns.

To answer directly, I am sorry to hear that you are in this situation. An independent contractor can argue that he or she owes whatever they created for the business, such as formulas, spreadsheets, and applications (if no agreement exists denoting otherwise), but passwords, invoices, and other pertinent information belongs to the business, and not the contractor--she was simply the custodian of that information but not the rightful owner. To be frank, if she has been so uncooperative and cost you money, you may want to send her a formal letter from an attorney demanding the return of that information, the money that she wrongly paid herself, or you would consider potential legal action, for example suing her for breach and intentional interference with your business interest. It also may help to change the password XXXXX your account and remove her s an authorized party with the bank.

Good luck.

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