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Are you open yet ?

When are accountants allowed to open their doors again ?

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Do we come under the same category as most shops and allowed to see clients again for meetings from June 15th ?

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By Duggimon
02nd Jun 2020 12:20

I think you can meet them in the park, like in a cold war spy movie.

Thanks (4)
Replying to Duggimon:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
02nd Jun 2020 13:13

Moscow Rules-

A set of accounts are pinned to a pavilion on Hampstead Heath, countered by a tax return fluttering from a tree, the meeting is on.

Initial recognition messages-

Gerald, The Mole - "The Debit is nearest the window"
Polyakov, The Handler- " A reducing balance , but not via weight watchers"

Gerald then slides to Polyakov a fiche ( accounts etc from Companies House on fiche as we are evidently still in the 1980s/early 90s) , gets up from the bench and leaves.

Thanks (8)
Replying to DJKL:
Morph
By kevinringer
03rd Jun 2020 13:04

DJKL, don't leave it there - I want to know what happens next ;-)

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Replying to kevinringer:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
03rd Jun 2020 18:01

Just read the Karla Trilogy written by my favourite living author, my effort is a very, very, poor pastiche .

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By BIGWAL
02nd Jun 2020 12:43

Perfectly OK if you are based in Barnard Castle

Thanks (1)
Replying to BIGWAL:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
02nd Jun 2020 16:14

Barnard's Star is actually where Dominic ought to be next encouraged to visit, circa six light years will also give him plenty of trip to check his eyesight and will certainly have seen me out by the time he would return.

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By BIGWAL
02nd Jun 2020 12:44

Duplicated

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By fawltybasil2575
02nd Jun 2020 13:43

@ seitler (OP).

I note your question:-

"Do we come under the same category as most shops and allowed to see clients again for meetings from June 15th ?

The direct answer, to the first part of that question ("same category as most shops"), is simply "No" (largely due to your headline questions being based upon the incorrect premise that accountancy offices are, per se, currently forbidden from "opening its doors").

The direct answer to the second part of that question (ie "allowed to see clients again . . .") is also "No", for the same reason (ie its being based upon an incorrect
premise that accountants are, per se, currently forbidden from seeing clients, ie irrespective of whether such meetings are at the accountants' office or elsewhere). Such meetings, regardless of location, remain acceptable, as long as the "social distancing" aspect is adhered to (I have accordingly continued to have meetings, at my office and elsewhere, throughout).

The guidance has been that accountants should, as should others, work from home where this is practicable: hence, if not so practicable, working at the accountants' office remains acceptable.

As a result of my above comments, both your headline question and your supplementary headline question, are necessarily (in intending no offence), and as mentioned above, rendered redundant.

Basil.

Thanks (4)
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By Cloudcounter
02nd Jun 2020 13:48

I think that the rules in England are the same as here in Wales on this point, but you'd be advised to check. Offices have never been forbidden to be open. Not in law at least - perhaps by some uninformed council workers.

There is a long list of businesses that must close, beginning with restaurants and pubs, and including diverse trades such as hairdressers betting shops and car showrooms. No mention of offices.

There is then a list of shops and similar businessses that may be open, and
regulations to the effect that businesses offering goods for sale or hire in a shop must close unless they are on that list. Again no mention of offices.

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
02nd Jun 2020 13:57

Ive got a telephone.

Works a treat.

Thanks (1)
Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
Morph
By kevinringer
03rd Jun 2020 13:05

ireallyshouldknowthisbut wrote:

Ive got a telephone.

Works a treat.

That's a shame. Ours were down for the whole of last week and I actually got some work done!
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By northernmonkey
02nd Jun 2020 14:10

The government guidance is quite clear for offices - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/o...

Meetings should continue to be minimised and held remotely as far as possible.

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By mbee1
02nd Jun 2020 15:53

Sometimes i think accountants, like Parliament, work in the dark ages. Have you never heard of the telephone, Skype, Zoom, MS Teams, etc. All we have arranged is for one person who lives near the office to arrange to go in if a client needs to drop something off. In and out in as few minutes as possible

We collect the post usually once a fortnight or so from the Post Office as we have a PO Box.

Digital telephone system so we can use an app on a mobile to make and receive calls.

Who needs an office!

Thanks (1)
Replying to mbee1:
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By Mr_awol
02nd Jun 2020 17:11

To be fair we run both options, although retain some more 'traditional' aspects of our service.

The fact is that I have clients who like a meeting, who like getting a bound set of accounts and then coming in so I can either explain the bits they don't understand or point at the signature pages, then start talking about sport. They are happy with the service and yes they pay a small premium for it, and yes I waste a bit of time I don't bill out, but it helps build a personal relationship and a lot of people want that.

I also have clients who have left firms who leapt too forcefully into the digital approach.

On the other hand, I do have some clients who would prefer a bit of further modernisation on our part.

It's a balancing act and digital isn't always better - especially when its just for the sake of it.

Thanks (1)
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By Mr_awol
02nd Jun 2020 16:02

As others have said:
1) We were never required to close. Our office has remained open throughout (albeit we decided it was safer for staff, clients, us, and our continuity planning if we reduced to a skeleton staff and enforced home working on all employees where possible)
2) You can already have meetings. Again, we voluntarily ceased face to face meetings and have chosen not to reintroduce them yet. We went earlier than other local firms in stopping the face to face contact and will probably wait longer than others before reintroducing them. In the meantime we have been getting the office ready to ensure that we can have a Covid compliant hygiene policy in place for staff and guests when we do welcome people back in.

If you are struggling to reconcile the above with the current or previous guidelines (or if you have a need to stoke your sense of self importance) you could always do what half the population seems to have done and refer to yourself as a 'keyworker'.

Thanks (0)
Replying to Mr_awol:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
02nd Jun 2020 16:16

Special dispensation for locksmiths?

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Replying to DJKL:
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By Mr_awol
02nd Jun 2020 17:16

Nope. I imagine a lot of their work involves the very absence of keys.

The chap at the local Timpsons, however...…………….

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By NYB
02nd Jun 2020 16:15

My husband works until 12.00 each day locked in his office. At 12.00 someone else takes over and he "works" from home in the afternoon. Seems to be for about an hour. All I can say is he is having the time of his life and its as I always have told him. Most of the time you dont NEED to see clients. They dont NEED to come in and spend half an hour yakking taking up the day. The books are delivered and collected from outside his door. He is doing the same work in half the time and irritating me by lying flat out in garden. Got that off my chest!
He is dying to be locked down again totally.

Thanks (1)
BirdnCo
By BirdnCo
03rd Jun 2020 10:26

If the offices are closed and no face to face meetings, how are practitioners dealing with their AML duties, in particular for new clients - electronically or postponing these until the offices are opened again?

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Replying to BirdnCo:
By coops456
03rd Jun 2020 14:47

If you're a member of a professional body, this will be one of their FAQs. See e.g. https://www.att.org.uk/technical/news/guidance-meeting-client-due-dilige...

Thanks (1)
Replying to coops456:
BirdnCo
By BirdnCo
04th Jun 2020 12:13

Thanks coops456, we have already seen the similar advice, I was just enquiring to what everyone else was doing.

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By petestar1969
03rd Jun 2020 10:27

I've been back in my office for two weeks. I work alone in a serviced office complex, no issues with social distancing.

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Replying to petestar1969:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
03rd Jun 2020 10:41

Has your landlord managed to source a lot of wall mounted dispensers for the common areas, signage etc?

Whilst we have managed to have delivered nearly everything else the wall mounted dispensers for hand sanitiser were tricky to source and I am still awaiting their arrival, though at least the first batch have today cleared customs

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Morph
By kevinringer
03rd Jun 2020 13:08

Our office has been staffed throughout by about 25% of our workforce with the remainder working from home. Clients leave records in the front porch: the inner door is locked. It's been working well until the phone system went down last week. Took the phone engineers a week to fix but at least we got some work done.

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By Homeworker
03rd Jun 2020 13:41

As we have always worked from home, the only effect the lockdown would have had is to stop me seeing clients in person. I say "would have", as we moved from Herts to Leics two years ago, so I have been dealing with pretty much all clients remotely since then anyway. Accounts records are either sent by post (and put aside for a day or two) or by email, or those who have set up accounting systems online have provided access to us. It works fine on the whole. The only clients I have struggled with are the pensioners, who I would normally go and see in order to "prize" the information I need out of them, as they don't have a clue what I need!

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By North East Accountant
03rd Jun 2020 17:15

Per the Government guidelines offices have never had to close.

Only if your business is on the special list did you have to close your business.

What you had to do (and still have to do) is work from home if possible and if it's not possible go to work (unless you are on the special list).

Not every client is all singing and dancing on the cloud and many still bring in their shoe boxes, carrier bags etc full of stuff and it's great as it's all work for us to do.

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