Accountants' pet hates: What grinds your gears? | AccountingWEB

Accountants' pet hates: What grinds your gears?

We've all got them - those little things that have the power to drive us completely insane. An amusing post by 'mr clean' recently highlighted a few of the bugbears members' suffer with in their personal lives, but what about at work?

Do dodgy client excuses really get your goat? Are computer issues yanking your chain? Do colleagues' novelty ringtones make you want to throw their phone out the window?

Share your professional pet peeves below!



Anonymous | | Permalink

The clients who want detailed advice, but when told it is more complicated than they thought, and that it will require a meeting to get all the facts together before giving requested dvice, decide they just want a 'quick gut feeling sort of chat' from you, so you quickly warn of them of potential problems, then they go ahead with said plan without proper advice, and then blame you when things go wrong.

Swedish Chef's picture

The broken promises

Swedish Chef | | Permalink

"I'll get all my Tax Return information to you by the end of next week".

Yeah right.    Still doing overtime in January.

pub advice

Anonymous | | Permalink

Clients who ring you up and say they can lower their tax bill because Joe down the pub said to do this or that. Obviously joe is in receipt of all the facts and has been an accountant for years(i think not!)

raybackler's picture

Clients who claim business expenses when its not

raybackler | | Permalink

But my mate does it!  Yes - but its difficult to justify a business expense when the bill shows three childrens meals and is timed at 5.30pm on a Saturday, just after the shops close and long before any sane business person would go anywhere near a family restaurant full of children running around.  Nothing against that type of restaurant, but if I can spot it that easily then so can HMRC!

DeborahLesley's picture

Why do I 'ave to pay tax!!

DeborahLesley | | Permalink


I like how clients get so vitriolic when advising them of their tax liabilities. “Huh, your s’posed to be my accountant, how come I gotta pay tax”.     No, our job is to  make sure you pay the right amount of tax Mmmmm……………. … And how about the client with the missing information.   “You’ve already had all that.” says said client putting the ball immediately back in your court..   Er, no we haven’t. Client already knows this, its just that he cant be arsed to go home and look for it!! And to add a bit of hilarity into the day (clock the date folks!).   Many years ago, back the dark ages of pre self assessment, you know, when you could file about 4 years worth of tax returns in one go, I always use ring the Revenue and order a good supply of blank tax returns to have on hand if such an occasion arose.    Well, one day one of the local district Inspectors rang me ( they did in those days cos  they at least knew who you were) and said “Could you please let me have a couple of blank tax returns as I have run out and so have the central stores”   Priceless!!! Final word.   I once asked a subbie client for his records to prepare his accounts. His answer was “Wos want LP’s or Singles!!!!”  

cash up front

Anonymous | | Permalink

Or the client who wanted a previous years return done pronto, and started hurling abuse when I asked for money up front. According to this guy, all other accountants do the return, submit it, wait for HMRC to 'approve it', and then ask for the fee! (He was a rather 'large' guy, nevertheless, he was shown the door!)

Client's who don't expect to pay tax

martin748 | | Permalink

A client said to me he might as well go back to his previous accountant as he didn't have to pay tax with him......

My pet hate....................

lordburnside | | Permalink

-Clients who fold receipts and put them in envelopes. It takes them ages to do it. If there are 52 weeks worth then I have to open 52 envelopes to do the accounts.

-Subcontractors who turn up 6 months after they received their tax return give you two bus tickets and a receipt for burger and chips and expect you to complete a tax return. They then ring up everyday until the tax refund is in their bank.

-Clients who say I told you 3 years ago that I was moving....... and you are expected to remember.

-Clients who comment on your office saying that all accountants offices have books all over the floor and I have to say I am just having a sort out or "when you are the best you are bound to be busy".....

- Clients who give you all the bank statements except one. They always manage to keep the sheet with the bank charges on which you don't need and lose the one you do need. Its always the most important sheet thats missing!

 - Phone companies ringing up on a weekly basis..................

- Telesales ringing up saying that they can cancel all my debt..............................

- Companies Act 2006 - what a fuss.................



ShirleyM's picture


ShirleyM | | Permalink

The clients (now ex-clients) who expect us to answer queries within 5 minutes of receiving their email, but we wait months, and send endless reminders, for the information we need from them.

DeborahLesley's picture

Can anybody beat this?

DeborahLesley | | Permalink


Changing the subject and on the basis that I do not know where else to put this:

I have just been talking to my colleague in the tax department.  He has worked in this practice for 36 years and has just informed me that he has had the SAME chair for at least 30 years and may even be longer.  His memory aint what it used to be!!

Looking closely, it is rather tatty but he loves it!   Everybody  Aaahhh!!!!



TrevorJSmith's picture

It'll only take you 5 mins

TrevorJSmith | | Permalink

Had an ex client phone up this week, "can I come and see you this week I have three years tax returns outstanding and want you to show me how to fill in the self-employment pages and have some questions on capital allowances, I wont take up much of your time, i'll pay you"!!

All of the above posts, yes I've met them all. :)

It's a small world sometimes, gin and tonic anyone?







cathygrimmer's picture

Very reasonable clients!

cathygrimmer | | Permalink

A Gin & Tonic  this early in the day, Trevor? Your clients must be getting to you!!

The beauty of having a business advising accountants rather than Joe Public is that my clients, without exception, do not have unreasonable expectations about how long advice will take, understand that I will drop everything if I can to do something urgent for them but don't expect it because they know I have other clients and a life outside of work and they (so far!) never complain about the bills. For all of which I am eternally grateful. For any of my clients who may stumble across this thread - many thanks!

Back to work now!



Cathy Grimmer

[email protected]

TrevorJSmith's picture

Very Reasonable 2

TrevorJSmith | | Permalink

lol, i was referring to "gin & tonic" advise, or is it "beer & sandwiches" now.

Fortunately, I have wonderful clients, but over the many years of practising I think I can emphasis with the most the previous comments.

Have a great Sunday!





AnnaKournikovasKnickers's picture

Trevor Smith

AnnaKournikovas... | | Permalink

Hi Trevor,


Are your clients also dyslexic?

TrevorJSmith's picture


TrevorJSmith | | Permalink

Ouch, 15-love to Anna K

Thank you for noticing, i do believe it is empathy I have, but have now emphasised that point enough.

Protect your dog and ensure

kharlhoffman | | Permalink

Protect your dog and ensure accident free tools for all your pets by using pet fence.

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