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I just don't know what to charge for this...

I have had an enquiry from a prospect who just wants some company accounts 'signing off'.

He says there is hardly any paperwork, there was not much trade in the year (about £11k's worth) and he just needs the accounts prepared by an accountant and all the relevant forms submitted.

Does anyone get this sort of work and, if so, what do you charge?

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19th Dec 2011 11:54

Whatever you would charge ...

... for preparing the accounts from scratch.

If there really are few transactions, it will not take long to draft the figures, but you must allow time for your expertise in putting the accounts into the correct statutory format and if "all the relevant forms" includes the CT return, also into iXBRL format.

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19th Dec 2011 12:01

@Euan MacLennan

Euan MacLennan wrote:

... for preparing the accounts from scratch.

If there really are few transactions, it will not take long to draft the figures, but you must allow time for your expertise in putting the accounts into the correct statutory format and if "all the relevant forms" includes the CT return, also into iXBRL format.

... must admit I did think that Euan, however small the documentation, it still needs to be prepared to the same standard as the next company, doesn't it?

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By pembo
19th Dec 2011 12:02

careful

This sort of request usually comes from someone who has little idea whats involved in what we do (and usually QED little respect). Notwithstanding the complexity or otherwise you have a duty of care not to let your name be associated with accounts that may be misleading thus even if theres minimal transactions you should still satisfy yourself that the accounts are T & F. I would be inclined to say that if you lend your name to any accounts either explicitly or implicitly then there is a minimum input required of you and that you can quote a fee when you have seen whats involved. To just top and tail their figures in a statutory format with no input to the probity of the figures is however not an option.

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19th Dec 2011 12:09

@pembo

pembo wrote:

This sort of request usually comes from someone who has little idea whats involved in what we do (and usually QED little respect). Notwithstanding the complexity or otherwise you have a duty of care not to let your name be associated with accounts that may be misleading thus even if theres minimal transactions you should still satisfy yourself that the accounts are T & F. I would be inclined to say that if you lend your name to any accounts either explicitly or implicitly then there is a minimum input required of you and that you can quote a fee when you have seen whats involved. To just top and tail their figures in a statutory format with no input to the probity of the figures is however not an option.

... it's 'public sector contracting' with only one contract in the year, turnover is £11k for the year... if that makes any difference!

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PIA

I have stopped quoting for them as they always want it cheap, and it ALWAYS takes as long if not longer than a normal set as the client rarely appreciates what they have gotten into or the rules for taking money out, so not only do you have to do the accounts but you spend a huge amount of time educating a reluctant client about all the rules they have broken and how to run the company properly.

Or accounts time low, client contact time, very high.

And then of course you will be expected to wind the company up for them free too.

 

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19th Dec 2011 13:09

Questions

@Jaybee661 - there are questions for you and the client:

When do they want it done?How do they want it done?What are the payment terms?As an added value firm is this really the work you want?What can you do if you don't do the work?Are you going to charge a set-up fee?

Bob Harper

Crunchers Accounting Franchise

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By Monsoon
19th Dec 2011 13:32

Agree with Euan.

I've had these before and they tend to be PITA jobs. Because there is LOTS to do to get them right.

I had one "Everything is complete, the only thing I need is the directors report and it putting into a statutory format."

No bank reconciled. Spurious entries including "Oh, no, that didn't actually happen, but I though I should be paying about that per month, so I put it in, but I've not paid any of it yet......"

You live and learn. Quote what you would quote for a similar company from a reasonable TB. Preferably establish how reasonable the TB is first. And get 50% up front at least (the aforementioned was also a very slow payer).

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19th Dec 2011 13:43

What is your houlry rate?

For my practice, I have a benchmark where a Small Limited company takes a minimum of 6 hours a year, this will include. Reminder letters to client, accounts prep time, CT600, disclosure checklists etc, other matters. Therefore for a very simple set of Limited company accounts I would expect to do this job myself and not pass it down to a junior. As a rule my minimal fee for a Limited Company is £600, so I am quite happy to quote £600 - £850 for this type of job. If the clients wants to pay me to do it then he will accept my quote, If he wants it cheaper then there is always a cheaper accountant around to do it.

I consider myself to be a profesional accountant and I don't take short cuts. I have procedures and safeguards in place to keep my professional standards as high as possible. I am not perfect, but I do things that other cheaper accountants don't. Therefore I expect I would spend anything from 6 - 8 hours per annum on such a client and this would be reflective in my price.

I consider that now a days, we as accountants are forgetting that everything that goes out of our offices should be to the highest of standards and that we should not accept failings within our own profession as lightly as we seem to do. We should all be looking at increasing the professional profile of all accountants and therefore I would not want to reduce my prices for smaller businesses and take short cuts in the process.

My question for JayBee, is where do you pitch your practice? Set your benchmark and then stick with it. Look at what the minimum you are willing to do for every client and then work out how long it actually takes to do the minimum. There is a good chance that this would fall into the minimum bracket, but then also set a contingency parameter into your quote to take into account that the client may have £11,000 income, but may actually have 500 expense receipts that need to be summarised and then reconciled with the company bank statements. Also there may be disclosure issues that may take time to deal with, even with £11,000 turnover. 2 such items that spring to mind is first Factoring. I had a very small client that factored its debts and the second is overdrawn directors loans and salary v dividends that the client just did not understand and did neither. This then needs to be resolved after the year end within the accounts and can be messy (depending on the client and his perspective on such matters)

 

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19th Dec 2011 15:42

I would recommend you ask them to meet with you first. You can almost guarantee that the paperwork will not be in the correct format and additional work will be required by yourself especially if you do need to convert into iXBRL.

Nothing is ever simple

 

John

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20th Dec 2011 10:49

above sounds as if

There may be...IR35 issues...O/d loan accounts...P11d's....uitf40.....etc etc etc

Always more complicated than it sounded when someone told him to be a limited company and he could do this himself on line...for the price of a bag of chips.

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