Life is tough on the front line of accountancy. For more than five years, our intrepid correspondent has been bringing us news and views from a typical West Country practice.
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I suppose the fact that I am posting this on Sunday evening says it all - despite a marked improvement in tax return filing in the last couple of years, it seems most clients are back to their same old ways this year.
As I said earlier this month, the carrot and stick approach seemed to be quite effective in 2010 and 2011. We returned to the stick-only approach this year - higher fees for tax information provided late, but no discounts for earlier delivery - and this hasn't had much of an impact. We started the month with a record number of returns simply not started at all, accounts not yet in, etc. The tax team have been working all hours to catch up, and once again I think we will get to 31 January with few if any unfiled returns. The snow didn't exactly help, we had a couple of days when the office was inaccessible to a number of staff members who had to work from home, so I am sure we lost a few hours there.
So this week it's the dash for the line. Frantic calls to the stragglers. Telephone and email to get clients' approval of returns sent but not yet returned. I'm looking forward to Friday!