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2020 says most accountants are charging £250 for iXBRL

I attended 2020 small firms conference yesterday. One point that was mentioned that accountants should charge addditional £250 for iXbrl. The point made was that most of their members do this.  They said this was one way to increase fees.

With simplicity of VT, I do not see any justification for additional fees. Further, I am not adding any  value to the client by doing this.

On this aspect I think 2020 is completely out of touch with reality. Am I wrong?


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06th Jul 2011 10:02


I went to software user meeting a couple of months ago and this issue was raised, many of the firms there said they were planning to charge or were already doing so.

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06th Jul 2011 10:17

my question would be....

has your software costs increase?  (and time spent putting together the accounts)......if so i can see it is reasonable...but my provider isn't charging more (well than the usual annual rise that is) - not sure it would go down well with some cash strapped clients either - especially if it hasn't cost me anyway!

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06th Jul 2011 10:25

You are not wrong but, in my opinion, absolutely right.

If one is using VT, I see no justification in charging extra. I certainly don't.

BTW - Please don't talk about added value! It just brings out the creatures that live under bridges!!

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06th Jul 2011 10:30

Absolutely not

Although it took Sage some time to get their act togther on iXBRL (the update was made available on their website  on 31 March), i found thr iXBRL issue takes little time.

I have had only 2 clients with issues were there were literally hundreds of problems with tags, but I just wiped the lot and reinstalled the TBs again. It took an hour on both counts!

That is from a total of 30 clients whose iXBRL accounts I have filed since 1 April 2011, so I'm happy! When the iXBRL bit goes smoothly, it only takes another minute, so these guys are trying it on. Let's hope their clients vote with their feet! 

My only issue is that in my opinion, a detailed tagged P&L should be submitted too and the software houses should address this quickly as it will result in more enquiries, not less. This is a step backwards for HMRC, when under pdf, we WOULD as a matter of course file a detailed P&L. I am not going to pretend I understand what my software does for tagging so I am not going to attempt it for a detailed P&L until Sage and others address this.

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By sanjiro
06th Jul 2011 10:39

My question would be....

What would you advise a client to do?

There is unfortunately only one answer here and if that is the case then why should you treat your own business and future any differently?


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06th Jul 2011 10:52

I half agree with them

I feel that as a small practice, with the increased changes in regulations and the more HMRC become inefficient and causing me to spend more time on non chargeable issues, th emore I realise that my fees have to increase. I would agree that IBRXL has caused me some additional time, as did HMRC last year and I suspect next year something else will be on the horizon.

So to comment that compliance time costs are definately increasing, so should the cost borne to the client. 

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06th Jul 2011 11:46

The converstion

 Accountant: I need to charge you more.

Client: Why, does it cost more?

Accountant: No.

Client: Does it take longer?

Accountant: No.

Client: Do I benefit?

Accountant: No.

Client: Was that a £10 note you just used to light your havanna cigar?

Accountant: Oh yes indeed! 

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06th Jul 2011 11:46

Phew, thought I was missing out...

... on an extra £250, but it seems not.

With VT there's little difference in time between a few moments to produce and attach the relevant pdfs and to produce an attach the ixbrl files, so on that basis I wouldn't charge extra (£250!?!). I have had more trouble with adjusting to using Keytime, but that's another issue, and is just overhead.

However, there is the general upward pressure on costs and compaliance burdens which one could justify in passing on - within reason.

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06th Jul 2011 11:50

£250 is too much in most cases

I suspect there are people on here doing Ltd accounts for sub £500 fro small companies (we don't). In the light of that £250 is too much. We've been adding £75 - £100.

I also remember taking the 2020 suggestion of charging £150 for mortgage references a few years ago, which turned out to be a bit of an own-goal, so I stopped.


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By djw090
06th Jul 2011 12:15

Yes and No

For most work there is no measurable impact on time and so cost. However, we do have certain odd ball clients who want special things in there accounts that need extra tailoring. These tend to be trade associations, flat management companies etc. rather than normal commercial businesses. IXBRL increases the cost of these features where the extra cost was already a problem to recover.

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06th Jul 2011 12:23

We have raised our prices but not by anything like £250

We had to change our software and procedures for iXBRL so we have increased our charges for CT600 filing by about £50 - that would have enabled us to break-even with the level of Ltd Co clients we had when the decision was made.

Since then we gained more Ltd Co clients so we are effectively in the money a bit

£250 strikes me as gouging the customer and abusing our position of trust (much like a doctor saying you need this vital injection of sucrose-and-aqua for £100)

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By petew
06th Jul 2011 12:29

£250 is far too much!

I work for a large small firm (if you see where I'm coming from) we are not charging for the iXBRL, in most cases it probably adds between 15-30 minutes to WIP so could justify an increase by maybe £50-£100 but anymore than that is just ripping clients off.

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06th Jul 2011 13:53

Yes and No

We have warned clients that costs may increase in 2013 when full implementation of iXBRL comes in. Currently, small companies do not take more than 5 minutes so no additional cost to the client. We also prepare accounts for a lot of large companies and groups where the ccounts need a lot of customisation and therefore some of the automatic tagging functionality is lost. Manually tagging these accounts can take up to 2 hours currently and the cost is usually passed on to the client, especially when most of the customisation of the accounts is due to client wishes rather than GAAP requirements.

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06th Jul 2011 14:44


You'll find a lot of people in advisory roles who try to suggest something that sounds good but is totally unrealistic.

Take no notice of them and make up your own mind.

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06th Jul 2011 18:35

If there's bad news make it cheap

This represents an increase in compliance this year and, regardless of how great the software is, there was still a learning curve, webinars, testing (bit of hair loss) etc etc and so I felt it right to make a small nominal one-off charge.

We have also taken the opportunity to over tag to make sure we are familiar with the taxonomy and be better prepared for 2 years time.

For my average client £250 would be unreasonable and I judged £85 would be acceptable as a one-off charge, and it was. At an accountants' group I attended the majority planned to do the same and the average seemed to be about £100.

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