Article addresses ethical obligations when buy, sell or discontinue accounting practice

The July issue of the Journal of Accountancy includes a helpful and informative article, entitled, Ethics for CPA firm mergers and acquisitions, which explains the requirements to notify and seek permission from clients when a CPA buys, sells or discontinues an accounting practice. The article addresses the following questions regarding the application of an interpretation in the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct (ET sec. 1.400.205) that has been in effect since last year: 

  1. May a retiring practitioner obtain her client's permission verbally to transfer their records when selling her practice to another CPA? 
  2. What should a CPA selling his practice do if he's unable to get in touch with a client? 
  3. Does a CPA has any ethical obligation to notify a former client if he is discontinuing his practice? 
  4. What should a firm selling its practice to another firm that does not perform certain types of services do with those clients' records? 
  5. What should a CPA do if she seeks permission from her clients in writing when selling her practice but does not hear back from certain clients?