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How much work do AWeber users do on clients' books before producing accounts and tax returns?

How much work do AWeber users do on clients'...

I just wondered how much work people do on client's books when they are only engaged to prepare the year-end accounts and tax return and not to do the bookkeeping.

Do people do things like ensure all balance sheet balances are supported, review the P&L to ensure it makes sense and no obvious DLA/BIK items not picked up etc, or do people simply take the client's TB, whack it into the accounts preparation software and send it back?

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03rd Mar 2016 12:06

If I simply took the clients TB and put it in to statutory format, I would feel embarrassed to call myself an accountant. I would be nothing more than a form filler.

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03rd Mar 2016 13:37

Any accountant worth his or her salt is going to:

Prepare or check the bank reconciliation;Reconcile the VAT balance with the return nearest to the year end;Reconcile the PAYE balance with the payroll records;Review repairs and legal expenses for capital items;Review sundries for disallowable items;Review fixed assets for scrappings;Put through depreciation charges and accruals and prepayments;If the client is a company, insert a CT provision, adjust any b/fwd provisions as required, calculate the deferred tax and reconcile the tax charge.

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03rd Mar 2016 13:49

Agree with the above, although we are not auditing. If the client confirms to me that his business bank balance per his bank statement at the close of 31st December is £12,345.67, and that matches the cloud bookkeeping software he's using, I believe him, I don't make him prove it with a physical statement.

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03rd Mar 2016 13:56

I feel like if that's what the client wanted then they wouldn't bother engaging an accountant. Yes, the figures in the accounts are the director's responsibility ultimately but how can you provide any kind of value for money if you don't delve deep enough to get a good idea of how the business is working.

If you could replace your role with an easily automated program then your role is pretty worthless.

We have a lot of clients for whom the accounts preparation essentially includes bookkeeping because they have no real books to speak of but even with those who keep immaculate records we still read everything they send in, collect evidence of anything important and prepare the various lead schedules.

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By chatman
03rd Mar 2016 18:33

Thanks.

Thanks for all your responses. You must all have taken over clients, on occasion, whose previous accountants only appear to have taken the latter approach though. I know I have. Maybe those people aren't the ones who respond to questions on AWeb.

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03rd Mar 2016 18:43

Yes, I definitely have come across them. Exactly the same debtor sat on the balance sheet year after year, unquestioned, has been seen more than once. Usually by large, cheap, fixed fee practices (nothing wrong with fixed fees, of course) whose few qualified staff, I imagine, leave all the work to trainee bookkeepers and never review it.

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04th Mar 2016 14:46

I once took over a client whose previous (unqualified) accountant had simply made up the figures without any reference to the accounting records, or the truth, at all. So blatantly and shamelessly was it done that the company's taxable profits came out at £10,000 per annum - yes this was a  few years ago when the rate of CT on £10k profits was 0%. The PYA in the first accounts I was responsible for was of the order of £250k.

Did HMRC ever enquire into any of the dodgy accounts prepared by my predecessor?

No.

I told the clients to expect an enquiry from HMRC into the first accounts I did for them because they would not be able to resist finding out why such a massive PYA was necessary.

An enquiry did indeed ensue. But astonishingly, to me, the PYA was not mentioned once in a string of correspondence, meetings and site visits extending over at least two years. It was all about apparently low level of income take by the proprietors etc - all settled at negligible cost. 

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