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.
Why I hate doing P11Ds
Over the years there have been some consistent themes since my earliest years as a trainee - no-one has ever wanted to do P11Ds or annual returns - or to be the office VAT expert!
And I still hate doing P11Ds:
1. Because clients don't value them, and hence don't value our time doing them on their behalf - i.e you can't charge an adequate fee for all the hassle they are. One of my clients uses a big payroll bureau who charge just £7 per P11D! I'm not interested in competing with that!
2. Because they are always going to be wrong - with the best will in the world, you're never going to get all the expenses right, and even if you could there's no real point as there's no tax at stake; and
3. Because in spite of all the improvements in IT no-one has come up with a decent piece of software for managing the annual P11D workload. Sure, there are programs that fill in the forms, but I haven't seen one that manages submissions and controls the whole client base in the way that SA tax return software does. The Digita/PKF software does about half the job, but it could do a lot more. Most other P11D solutions don't even do that - but then, why would they? Back to my first point - if clients don't want to pay for this work, we are not going to want to invest much on software to provide a service we can't sell profitably!
Solution - get clients to invest in some one-off training so they can do their own P11Ds, and apply for as many dispensations as possible so you don't need to make returns of expenses and reimbursements. Remember you can easily apply for a dispensation online, and now is the time to get them in so that they cover the whole of 2010/11.
Or am I missing a trick? Anyone out there making money from doing P11Ds?