Share this content

Standard's are slipping

Got the usual note from a new firm, which is no big surprise and no sorrow.  He still owes us money, has a company up the proverbial creek with no sign of any paddle and is very prone to failing to turn up when he fixes to drop in.  Two sources of entertainment.  The new firm is Fred's Bookeeping Services and clearly don't know the old quiz question - what's the only word in English with three double letters in succession.  I checked their website and other PR stuff which also is missing a second k.  I hope they have a nice time keeping all those boos.

The second thing is that their letter appears to be a standard takeover letter but instead of asking for reasons, professional or otherwise, blah blah.  But if you look carefully it asks if there is any information that would influence their decision to accept the appointment.  Not sure if that's a fishing trip to ask if he pays his bills.  Of course it's academic, they get authority to act and nothing else until I've been paid.  But am I seeing things that aren't there and this is a commonplace phrasing for some firms - even ones that can spell?


Please login or register to join the discussion.


Is there a hint of irony that you wrote "standard's are slipping", therefore yourself committing a similar grammar faux pas?

However, I sympathise entirely with the sentiment!


Thanks (0)

What is your point?

Isn't "is [there] any information that would influence [our] decision to accept the appointment" much the same as "[are there any] reasons, professional or otherwise, blah blah."?

The main purpose of a professional enquiry letter is to ask this very question.  And you are not giving "authority to act" - it is up to Fred to decide whether to act or not having received your reply to his enquiry.

P.S.  I do hope my grammar is up to thisistibi's standards!

Thanks (0)

Quiz question

I never quite got the hang of that quiz question.  Surely bookkeeping is done by a bookkeeper, so there are two words straight off.

Although the last time I did a quiz with that question in it, my three team mates looked blank whilst I answered in a flash.  They were all amazed for 3 seconds and then called me a sad **** all evening.

Thanks (1)

Er, yes

The use of the grocer's apostrophe was deliberate. [email protected] - it's just a phraseology I've not seen before.  The norm in my experience is that Fred is going to act and is going through a professional courtesy/formality and we reply with the usual "no problems, here's the previous stuff", but this seemed more as if they were in two minds about acting and could I help them make their minds up.  Whether this is their standard letter or is because they harbour doubts about acting for them I can't tell.  If it is a commonplace phrase that you and others have seen, then I presume it's just their normal clearance letter. 

Thanks (0)


I think it is entirely normal.

I would reply, as I have myself in the past,  on the lines of "there are no professional reasons, but you should be aware that we will not be releasing any detailed information until our outstanding fees have been paid".  That might prompt Fred to pressure the client into paying up or perhaps, not to take on the client, from which you can take some consolation in that you have performed your professional duty.

Thanks (0)


... the "I did that deliberately" defense!  Good call.  ;)

Thanks (0)

Pedant's corner

thisistibi wrote:

... the "I did that deliberately" defense!  Good call.  ;)

Did you mean 'defence'?

Thanks (1)

Standard's done slipped...

... innit!

Thanks (0)


Is there only one pedant frequenting the corner then?

Thanks (0)

Quiz questions...

Three more quiz questions:

1. Gordon Ramsay's org employs a person whose job is chef retention. What is his job title?

2. There's a man at the Tower of London who has to try and ensure that the black birds stay put. What's his title?

3. What title do Winchy and the old lags give to the guvnor at the Scrubs?

Clue: all three have three consequitive double letters thereby disproving the quiz question!



Thanks (0)

@ Steve

Steve Kesby wrote:

Is there only one pedant frequenting the corner then?

Isn't it a prerequisite in the accountancy profession? I have it emboldened on my CV. Never fails to prompt nods of approval at job interviews. 

Thanks (0)

Well spotted Andy.  However... my inappropriate use of American English was deliberate.

Thanks (0)


There's also the alternative title for a photographer.

Must add "Pedant. Can provide own corner." to my CV!

Thanks (0)


Give in, whats the photographer's alt title?

Thanks (0)

Isn't it...

... a lookkeeper?

Thanks (0)

better still

Not to be out done by their boss, the subbookkeeper is even better endowed.

Thanks (1)

Being the pedant I am ...

... the black birds at the "Tower" are ravens, admitedly black corvids but not I think the ones intended in the answer!

Thanks (0)

Funnily enough ...

... the blackbird is not a corvid, it has the unfortunate name Turdus merula, and is a member of the Turdidae family, commonly known as thrushes.

Both groups (Corvus and Turdidae) are however passerines.

Thanks (0)

On a separate but related note

I read on a website this morning that "bananas are very good in deserts".  I can only assume that they've got bananas confused with camels.

Thanks (1)

Funny you should say that George ...

... I have to go to a wedding in February and they are having a desert after the wedding breakfast, they haven't said which so we had a sweep and I drew the Gobi!

Thanks (0)

Getting back on topic

The idea of giving "professional clearance" or some other “authority to act” died some twenty years ago!

Agents have no right to give clearance to the incoming firm nor for that matter advise if there are any "professional reasons” why they should not accept the proposed appointment. It is for the new firm, and the new firm alone, to decide on the question “are there any reasons?” in the light of information obtained. Their obligation is to seek information, not clearance.

Accordingly the only correct question for the incoming firm to ask is - “are there any matters which you think we should be aware of before accepting the proposed appointment?”. They don’t need permission, they just need to assess the situation and decide for themselves if there are any professional reasons to reject the proposed appointment. Note the new firm decide, not the old.

Our reply, even to the incorrectly put questions, is usually - “there are no matters which we think you should be aware of before accepting your proposed appointment”. If there are however, matters which we think they should know, we tell them.

So while Fred can’t spell, at least he is up to date on (ICAEW) professional ethics.


Thanks (0)


I agree, that's why a lot of people call it a "professional courtesy letter" rather than professional clearance letter.  There is no obligation for the outgoing accountant to provide anything, but it is professional courtesy to do so.

Thanks (0)

Labels, schmabels

I still have a vast number of clients who have a Schedule D number and pay weekly stamps for their NI.  Fred by the way, does not appear to have any trappings of ICAEW-ness.  Maybe I just don't lose that many clients but previous approaches to takeover have all taken the form of "we're taking over, just thought you should know and by the way can I have a copy of X, Y and Z?".

Fred's approach is "this guy's asked us to take over, do you reckon we should?" 

Thanks (0)

I once started up a retail business ...

and the sign writer spent a whole afternoon of free hand completing the STATIONARY part of the title. He of course had the last laugh as much of the stock did indeed fail to move during the 18 months of my ownership!

Thanks (2)

Ah the Homophones!

Yaw sew wright George A and OGA.

Won seas maw of this awl the thyme.

Sorry two here you're tail Steve!

Thanks (1)

The one that always got me was Plumbase.

Thanks (0)


I always get particularly irritated by the large number of clients I have who somehow manage to buy stationary.   I also have one or two who purchase subsidence when they travel and one who receives renumeration.

I am sure I make my own spelling mistakes, but I don't generally notice those!

Thanks (0)

I have clients with ...

... dividents, make expence claims and have accurals for things they have not been invoiced for yet!

My business partner pacifically told me to mention this on here!

Thanks (0)

And . . .

. . . . the bank reconciliation that is 1 pence out. Grrr!

Thanks (0)