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Best / cheapest way to return client records

Returning client records via post / courier

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Like many practices I have lots of client records that the clients are slow or unwilling to collect.  It's a waste of admin time to keep emailing / ringing and now the main office is mostly closed I don't want to make a special trip to open the office for no shows.

So I'd like to arrange to post back or courier back and clear the decks (probably start including as part of fee too but initially charge back to clients). 

Parcels vary from boxes to a few pages.  We used to return previous years when following years came in but this has changed this year as most are posting in when the office is closed and we are collecting later.  Also theres always the gone away client who don't return the folowing year so we get stuck with those records.

Does anyone have any tips / know of most cost effective solution for this.  Your help as always is very appreciated. 

Replies (10)

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By sarahg
13th Feb 2021 16:53

We are paperless, so we don't have this issue

I used to tell them they had to be collected by X date otherwise I would post them back and charge the postage plus an admin fee

However, if your office is not open, this could be tricky

How much would it really cost just to send them all back and clear the decks then implement something for the future?

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By frankfx
13th Feb 2021 18:27

How impractical would it be to courier the documents yourself?

A day out of the office!

On essential travel?

Or use a , local courier.

Cheap, may not be secure.

A suitable covering letter may avoid the problem arising again.

Also affords the opportunity to identify a paperless solution, tailored to individual client requirements.

Thanks (1)
By lionofludesch
13th Feb 2021 18:30

I'd do it myself. I like a day out.

Failing that, Royal Mail for small stuff. Courier is probably cheaper for the bigger stuff.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
13th Feb 2021 20:09


I have one or two few remnants of, '90s clients' most recent records sat at the end of my desk. They've been there for 2 or 3 years, and still accumulating! And they all (the clients, that is) date way back to the day; I want to say from 15 or 20 years ago here, when one still warmed up the sealing machine and paid somebody to dispatch a printed and bound copy of their accounts.

I shall make a note to bundle them all up; this Spring, and move said aged clients into paperless territories. Except to say that, despite recent attempts to transition 100% to a paperless office, they (the old-school clients) are so much of a blast from the past that I'm unable to bring myself to move them away from the their post office habits and / or otherwise terminate / offend their sensibilities.

So every invoice from each and every imaginable source - from crow-catcher to shotgun cartridge supplier - is still delivered to yours truly courtesy of Royal Mail.

Old clients. What a wonderful breath of fresh air they are. And I actually mean that! I don't want to get the Forum too over-excited here, you understand, but one, for example, was a compatriot and fell0w-model of Dianna Rigg and Susan Hampshire during the late 'fifties. Seriously, could you imagine either of them using anything other than Mr Postman?

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Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
By Paul Crowley
14th Feb 2021 00:05

I still get people complaining about not getting the blue bound copies of accounts. The same people that ask for PDFs when applying for loans.
And yes everyone gets all the pdfs in one email every year.

The PDF thing is 'new' for the people who were not my clients before 2 partners retired 5 years ago

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Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
Hallerud at Easter
14th Feb 2021 18:22

Just think how much all the old paper records ,ledgers , stamps and pads, adding machines , textbooks etc will be worth when your heirs and successors are selling them to the "Museums of Accountancy" that will be be springing up fifty years from now, wonder what a twenty year set of Whillans might go for?

Chambers Street Museum in Edinburgh has a section with 1950s and 60s tech which is filled with familiar bits of kit, I wander round going, we had that (space hopper), we had that (mono cassette player) etc. I have just been browsing E Bay to see how much all the toys I used to have are now worth, it is frightening when you look at older Britains , Timpo, Action Man outfits, Avalon Hill board games etc.

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By meadowsaw227
15th Feb 2021 11:42

Spent a whole day before Christmas delivering about 20 sets of books/papers etc back to various clients.
First drop was at 8.00 am and the last was around 3.00 pm covering 200 + miles.
Planned the route carefully and it all went very smoothly and was quite an enjoyable drive through the countryside.
Looking forward to the next trip.

Thanks (1)
By North East Accountant
16th Feb 2021 10:34

We have this same problem as our records store was bursting at the seams.

Tax lady has been ringing clients since 1st Feb saying that our storage is full so we're going to have to get additional storage.

We really don't want to have to charge you so please can you come and collect your records on this date at this time.

By 9.00am this morning 227 sets of books have been returned (Some clients had 5 years worth).

Even in the snow last week we only had 2 no shows.

Thanks (3)
By Tom 7000
16th Feb 2021 12:51

come and collect your records before 16/3/21 ( 30 days) ... or we will post them to you and charge you £25 for the signed for delivery cost

works either way...

Thanks (1)
A Putey FACA
By Arthur Putey
16th Feb 2021 14:34

If the records are over retention thresholds we ask clients if they want them shredded rather than returned.

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