Bookkeeping - can I withhold records until I am paid

 I am a self employed bookkeeper and one of my long term clients has recently informed me that he has changed his accountants and that they will also be doing his bookkeeping from now on.  We have had a relaxed working relationship whereby, because I knew of his cash flow problems, I did not chase my money and he would pay lump sums when he could.  Unfortunately he now owes me just under £2k and I am very reluctant to release anything to his new accountants until I have been paid in full.

 

I have already drafted out a letter thinking that I have a right to do this, but now I am unsure if legally I have to hand anything over to them straight away.  I have in my office a complete years worth of invoices, bills etc., PAYE records and I work on my own copy of QuickBooks to do his accounts.  The accountants are asking for all this plus a backup of QB.  I have stated that I would hand over the PAYE records now in order for them to continue with the employee wages.

 

I have seen from his cheque book that my client has post-dated some very large cheques to HMR&C so I can't see him being able to pay me any time soon, but I am afraid that if I hand over everything he will just bluster and may even stop trading (he trades as self-employed).

Can anyone advise my best course of action?  I don't want to go in heavy handed so I thought I would suggest that he sets up a monthly standing order.  If he did this and then reneged on the payments would I have a better  chance of taking him through the courts?

 

I feel that I am having to walk on tender-foot as I don't want to put his back up by making him feel that I can't trust him, but on the other hand I have been taken for a ride by other "nice" clients in the past!

 

Thank you for you time

Comments
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Institute

occca |

The invoices and bills are his. The rest are yours.

petersaxton |
petersaxton's picture

No Institute

Sheila26 |

I have no leverage?

Sheila26 |

You are correct; you don't have much leverage

SteveOH |
SteveOH's picture

£2k owed..

memyself-eye |
memyself-eye's picture

You have leverage

petersaxton |
petersaxton's picture

Thank you all

Sheila26 |

You CAN hold his records - all of them

cymraeg_draig |
cymraeg_draig's picture

SteveOH

cymraeg_draig |
cymraeg_draig's picture

I may be a townie but I'm a country boy at heart

SteveOH |
SteveOH's picture

There is another way.................

cymraeg_draig |
cymraeg_draig's picture

Talking of the Kray twins....

SteveOH |
SteveOH's picture

Sheila - Read, mark and inwardly digest what WD posted......

nigelburge |
nigelburge's picture

How do you place a lien on property?

Sheila26 |

It is easy

nigelburge |
nigelburge's picture

Lien

zarathustra |
zarathustra's picture

You cannot excercise a lien on "Statutory Records"

nigelburge |
nigelburge's picture

Client **!!

Sheila26 |

Payment plan?

petersaxton |
petersaxton's picture

Money laundering Regulation

bobhurn |

My ex-client is a Glaswegian Self Employed carpenter

nigelburge |
nigelburge's picture

Glaswegian

Peter Bonetti |

Naw - nice scot guy

Sheila26 |

Really nice guy

andypartridge |

Sheila Scottish?

petersaxton |
petersaxton's picture

Money Laundering - should I register?

Sheila26 |

Tax isn't everything!

petersaxton |
petersaxton's picture

Unlawful trading

bobhurn |

Glaswegian again

Peter Bonetti |

Illegal trading ?

cymraeg_draig |
cymraeg_draig's picture

Thanks

bobhurn |