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Single email to clients of deadlines for next 3 to 5 years

We are thinking about sending one email to a client with deadlines for submission of  information for the next 3 may be 5 years. This would deadlines for VAT, year end accounts and SA100.

We would ask clients that they should put the dates in their diary and further reminders will not be sent. Further, we will say that if the information if the info is not  received on time, submissions deadlines with HMRC and Companies House may be missed. We will say it in a better way than this.

This would cut down on admin. We are not sure how clients would take it and whether this would work.

We are looking for feedback on this idea/procedure.



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06th Sep 2011 17:27


Good luck!

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By Flash Gordon
06th Sep 2011 17:35

Sounds like a way to lose clients

I'm not convinced clients would take it too well. Plus I don't trust any of mine to remember something a month in advance! I always email a reminder for CT & SA100 payments otherwise they'll forget and blame me for not reminding them (despite it being clearly in black & white when I issue the accounts or whatever)

Clients like, in my ever so humble but not expert opinion, to be spoon-fed and hand-held. They don't think for themselves, don't remember what you said and don't employ common sense.

It might save you time in theory but.......

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06th Sep 2011 17:44

On website

Seems a bit overkill, isn't it easier to say VAT return due a mnoth after the VAT period, accounts due 9 months after year end, rather than list them all down for 3 - 5 years?  Also it would not cut down on admin as half would be back onto you in 6 months saying "I think you sent me a list of deadlines 6 months ago but I've lost them".

Just do a page on your website with deadlines & penalties and refer to it as a PS on emails & letters for the next couple of months "As people tend to get confuesd over deadlines and penalties we've provided details on" or words to that effect.

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06th Sep 2011 17:49

How about automated emails

Thanks for the feedback. How about combining this with automated emails. I am thinking this would work by sending  the same email at deadline time - VAT, SA100 etc. This email would have all the deadlines set. 

Where can I get software that sends automated emails on specified dates?

EDIT - Just read Paul's response. Sounds like a good idea.

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By Locutus
06th Sep 2011 18:26

Can't see how sending 3 - 5 years of deadlines will help

You say "we would ask clients that they should put the dates [3 - 5 year deadlines] in their diary and further reminders will not be sent".  My diary only extends to December 2011 !!

Whilst giving a client 5 years of deadlines in one go may possibly discharge your professional duty to advise of the deadlines, I don't think it is good client care to tell a client in 2016 that they have a late filing penalty ... but don't blame us as we told you all the deadlines back in 2011 and also said we wouldn't send any more reminders.  It wouldn't cut much ice with me if I was a client and I would certainly end up taking my business elsewhere.

If I was a client, I would expect my accountant to inform me by letter or e-mail of deadlines at least once a year so that arrangements can be made to avoid penalties.

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06th Sep 2011 23:10


Paul Scholes -" or words to that effect..


Hmmm - are you suggesting that Wombats are thick? 

There's actually a very active society for the protection of wombats in Australia - one 'phone CALL is all it will take.



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06th Sep 2011 18:53

For M$ Outlook but ...

On your website have a page with a list of deadline dates as per @PaulScholes suggestion

Then have a link titled 'Add to your Outlook Calendar'

This link should explain -

The result is the events are placed in the clients calendar and end up being triggered as notifications x days before the event - per Outlooks normal way of doing things


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06th Sep 2011 20:45

I'd be very annoyed if I was on the receiving end
I someone who I paid to keep me compliant with my tax and accounting affairs sent me an email telling me what the deadlines were for the next 3-5 years I wouldn't be happy.

I would have to ask - why are they sending me this? Can't they just remind me every year or when deadlines are looming?

Get a decent autoresponder like aweber r constant contact and plug the dates etc in there, this will do it for you.

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06th Sep 2011 21:25

How to lose clients

I'll add the OPs suggestion to the list.

I think there is only one accountant who would come up with this idea.

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07th Sep 2011 09:10

Short Answer... No, no, no.

This is indeed a surefire way to lose clients.

Think about it: client misses deadline in two years' time - you tell client it was his own fault 'cos he should have read your email of two years' ago - client gets the knock and leaves. (I would if I was the client.)

You really don't seriously think this might be worth doing, do you? Have you not realised by now that some clients never read letters, let alone emails?

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06th Sep 2011 22:28

You're missing a trick

A quick email, regularly, gives you visibility with clients and a feeling of proactivity - quick and simple win. 

The email you propose, whilst efficient, looses that advantage and runs the risk of the We-never-hear-from-our-accountant gripe from clients.

I'm a great believer that the more you can get in a clients inbox, other than spam, the better!

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06th Sep 2011 22:32


Sorry to Op - need to tie off lose end posted by O_G.

Some of my best friends are wombats, it's just in my experience, although highly intelligent, they lack a sense of urgency.

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06th Sep 2011 23:38


Actually Paul you should go to Australia if you get the chance.

Wombats are lovely creatures, BUT, they are like animated bulldozers. Put a fence across a wombats regular route and it will walk straight through it.  They are well known for destroying fences, or anything else in their way.

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07th Sep 2011 07:45


Owain_Glyndwr wrote:

Actually Paul you should go to Australia if you get the chance.

For once, I agree. Which is why I now have an office in Perth.

(As a visitor, I prefer Sydney and the East Coast, but there are a number of reasons that make Perth more suitable for business purposes.)

And I agree about wombats - hit one of those in an ordinary car, and you're facing an expensive visit to the car vet. (I've seen a car having to be "put down" after hitting one.)

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By Luke
07th Sep 2011 10:01

A rather naive suggestion I think

Do you seriously think this would go down well with clients?  Even if you think they should know their deadlines, it is part of our client service to remind them when deadlines are approaching.

After all, nearly all self employed people know about 31 January but how many do we have to remind about it at this time of year?  Loads of them.

I can't imagine how you think this is a plausible idea that would do the job you want it to do without you ending up with less clients.

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07th Sep 2011 10:27


Thank you for the feedback . All saying it will not work. Some pointing out how did I even think about this. That is the point in asking feedback. On the basis I get the feedback I do not mind being called inexperienced, fool, naive etc. I knew they will be some response like this. In the end I do get the feedback.

Based on the feedback I will not risk this on my exisiting premium (A) clients. I will try it out on my C category clients. If they go, that would be okay with me.

The other way I will try this out is at an early stage when we come fee discussion. "Your fee will reduce by X, if you meet these deadlines (given in writing) without any further reminders. If you would like regular reminders the fee would be the full amount." 




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By blok
07th Sep 2011 10:46


Why complicate things?

You are trying to find solutions to problems that either dont exist or cant be solved.


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07th Sep 2011 11:10

Set your own deadline

I know this topic has been mentioned many times before but if, like many, you struggle to encourage clients to get their stuff to you in time to comfortably meet the statutory deadlines then set your own deadline.

We've set 3 months from tax/accounts year end for the past 4 years and it works well.  We send year end reminder/checklist with a note that they have 3 months, a reminder a month later and another a month after that and have achieved over 70% in all 4 years, with the stragglers arriving within another 2 but always with requests for an extension.

Although it's not actually what matters (the date setting is what's key) we reserve the right to add %s to our fee for late info.  My clients would not appreciate me charging higher in anticipation that they were going to be late.

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07th Sep 2011 18:35

Company deadline

Given that most of my company clients have a year end of 31 March, I find that bringing forward the deadline from 31 January to 31 December has reduced the problems I have faced. Some of my clients have responded to my chasing for information and my remaining company clients usually send the data before December and my remaining personal clients usually send data before January. This slight change in the deadline has really reduced the pressure on me. I don't think I'll be able to get the majority of information within six months but with the deadline change and me chasing clients more vigorously it has made my job a lot less stressful. If anybody leaves it to the last week or so they will only have themselves to blame.

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07th Sep 2011 21:42

"That is the point in asking

"That is the point in asking feedback. On the basis I get the feedback I do not mind being called inexperienced, fool, naive etc. I knew they will be some response like this. In the end I do get the feedback."

Wasn't the answer to your question obvious? Are you really saying you didn't think that nobody would think it was a good idea?

Everybody could clog up Any Answers with crazy questions but you are the only one who tries to do that.

Why don't you spend 10 seconds thinking about the responses you will get before asking the questions?

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09th Sep 2011 16:10

Communication is key

I actually think the idea to send the email with 3-5 year deadlines is a sound one; however, with some caveats.

What you could do is send it with an import routine so that clients can perhaps import the dates straight into their calendar. this can be relatively easilly set up but would rely on the client being mildly computer savvy.

I do think though that client communication is the biggest key to customer satisfaction. A reminder every now and then of important upcoming dates keeps that communication stream alive, particularly for those clients that you do only need to see once a year or so.

Therefore send the detailed email reminder when you take on the client but back it up with follow on ones.

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