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Breach of confidentiality

Have I slipped up here?

Didn't find your answer?

I have a client. - online accounting package, Limited Company, etc.  I initially quoted a couple of grand because she said the records were excellent and there werent that many transactions.

It turned out the bookkeepign was a right mess.  I did a load of work to try and sort it but when it became obvious that it was going to be a much bigger job than planned i had to charge her.  There were also lots of extra tasks she wanted doing which hadnt been in the fee quote.  You know the type.............

Unfortunately i play golf with her husband (who doesnt even like the game - he just comes along to get out of the house) otherwise id have disengaged and left her to it.  I wrote off huge amounts of time and settle on a bill quite a bit higher than the quote but much less thsan it should have been.  She had the cheek to moan about it, and although i keep trying to telephone her to discuss, she dodges my calls.  Now, as an excuse, she is insisting on a detailed breakdown of the bill, etc.  I gave her a further discount and she paid, but she is still banging on about this written breakdown of costs.

Anyway, the point is, i was playign golf with her husband the other day and he said "the missus has been having a right go about you overcharging her, telling all her mates, etc.  I didnt realise you were that expensive or I wouldnt have recommended she come see you".  I was a bit miffed, obviously, but the wife had made it clear she didnt want her husband knowing anything about her business activities so i just muttered something like "if she's not happy she could always appoint someone else - I dont want to go into it if that's ok, lets just enjoy this game of golf".

Now, ive been told the client is livid that i have been 'discussing her confidential business' with all and sundry at the local Golf Club!  To my mind, you couldnt make it up - but I'd appreciate your thoughts.  Be honest, have i crossed a line?  No confidential information was divulged, but i did acknowledge that i acted for her.

 

Edit: for anyone who didn't guess, this was indeed a sarcastic response the the 'breach' thread, and anonymity was only required for comedy value. 
 

(c) John Isabel 20/20

Replies (49)

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By SWAccountant
01st Oct 2020 16:05

Is your client a courier, or... wait for it... a driver?

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Replying to SWAccountant:
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By John Isabel
01st Oct 2020 16:10

broomstick operator

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By northernmonkey
01st Oct 2020 16:41

Brilliant! That made me spit my brew out!

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By AWeb72
01st Oct 2020 16:43

Sir/Madam, I doff my cap to you

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
01st Oct 2020 18:17

I dont think its that much of a secret who you act for, given your name is probably on the front of her accounts lodged at Companies House so I can't see the breach myself, especially if the husband recommended you in the first place.

Well rid of bad rubbish by the sounds of it.

Edited to add: I should have not replied and I might have been able to claim the post!

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
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By John Isabel
01st Oct 2020 21:37

To be fair I’ve set my software to remove my name from the front cover of the filleted accounts

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By Paul Crowley
01st Oct 2020 18:30

Superb

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By Paul Crowley
01st Oct 2020 18:36

Has anyone continued to act after a request for itemised bill?

I have but only for two clients who had the same bookkeeper attempt to prepare accounts all on her own.
Both were back within a year, both without the bookkeeper.

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
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By meadowsaw227
02nd Oct 2020 11:58

Having NEVER cocked up a quote for a bill by two and half times I have never been asked for a breakdown.
If I had I would expect to at least explain why I had got it so wrong before the client even asked for it.
But then we are a small friendly practice

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Replying to meadowsaw227:
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By Paul Crowley
02nd Oct 2020 22:24

Take a trip to Most liked, and have a read of Squatters. It is at the top. Just three above this to date

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
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By Tax Dragon
03rd Oct 2020 08:36

Squatters was a swansong. The composer threw himself on his sword after writing it.

The issue won't go away until
a) a definition of "those interested in accountancy issues" is agreed that doesn't include anyone looking for free advice on personal issues
and
b) the views of the professionals that use this forum is given at least equal weight as the objections of the non-professionals.

If we're gonna allow anyone with an interest in accountancy issues equal access, the professionals and non-professionals should be treated with an even hand. Currently it seems there is a bizarre bias towards the non-professionals.

I had another run-in with this bias just the other day. I posted a comment that clearly answered the query in the OP. It got deleted. I've not been told why, so I can only assume it wasn't the answer the OP wanted to hear and they complained. It pushes me away from wanting to help.

Bad moderation, IMHO. (It would be a farce. But it's not funny.)

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Replying to Tax Dragon:
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By Paul Crowley
03rd Oct 2020 09:11

Yes
The deletions are are not notified to poster, I have had at least half a dozen just randomly disappear.
The one you refer to resulted in thread becoming illogical and disorienting.
Moderation takes out a comment and with it responses to the comment.
Better that Moderation simply replaced the post with the word MODERATED and left responses to the post in place.
Completely agree that newbie dummies get treated preferentially to regular posters.
Destroys the integrity of the thread, which other Newbies could genuinely learn from.
It is regulars like yourself that give any answers gravitas.
This becomes a country wide voting forum without experts

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
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By AWeb72
03rd Oct 2020 09:44

This forum has gone downhill so fast in the last few years with what's allowed on and the erratic moderation.

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
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By Tax Dragon
03rd Oct 2020 09:56

That's the stupid thing. The times when I've said something that may have deserved being pulled, I've also had my knuckles wrapped. That comments are deleted without a knuckle-wrapping says to me that the mod knows the comment isn't deserving of being pulled - it really is just being done to appease.

There are better ways of appeasing.

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Replying to Tax Dragon:
RLI
By lionofludesch
03rd Oct 2020 10:03

Quote:

That's the stupid thing. The times when I've said something that may have deserved being pulled, I've also had my knuckles wrapped. That comments are deleted without a knuckle-wrapping says to me that the mod knows the comment isn't deserving of being pulled - it really is just being done to appease.

There are better ways of appeasing.


Wrapped? In clingfilm or summat?
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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By Tax Dragon
03rd Oct 2020 10:15

Good spot.

I needed a figurative bandage...?

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Replying to Tax Dragon:
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By Tax Dragon
03rd Oct 2020 10:22

Quote:

I needed a figurative bandage...?

(i.e. one for my digits...)

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Replying to Tax Dragon:
RLI
By lionofludesch
03rd Oct 2020 10:34

Homonyms, eh?

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By Paul Crowley
03rd Oct 2020 12:39

Are those now deemed to be hate crimes?

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Replying to Tax Dragon:
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By Paul Crowley
03rd Oct 2020 10:05

I had an apology for one that disappeared with the explanation that it was in response to one that was pulled.
But that was because I challenged it.
Just no longer now think it is worth the effort to challenge
It was John that I PM'd

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By SXGuy
01st Oct 2020 18:46

You said the right thing. Sounds like the wife likes to moan about anything and everything. I wouldn't lose much sleep over it.

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Oaklea
By Chris.Mann
01st Oct 2020 18:51

At which point did you explain that your costs would be greater than your original quotation? Or, didn’t you tell her?
As I’ve said elsewhere, anyone who puts them self out to be a professional, should demonstrate professional behaviour.
Fortunately, it’s your call, not mine.
And also, ask yourself, honestly, would you have behaved the same, if the client had “balls”?
Thought not.

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Replying to Chris.Mann:
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By SXGuy
01st Oct 2020 22:38

Which behaviour do you feel the op wouldnt have done if the client had balls? I'm lost.

Please enlighten me.

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Replying to SXGuy:
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By Paul Crowley
02nd Oct 2020 06:59

If the client was not a lady, then probably would not be playing a round with the spouse.
The club has rules about that. Very bad form.

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
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By SXGuy
02nd Oct 2020 08:20

Nope still lost, maybe your referring to an accounting body rule that I may not be aware of. But what's so wrong with someone playing golf with their friend who happend to refer their wife as a client?

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Replying to SXGuy:
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By Paul Crowley
02nd Oct 2020 22:33

If client was He
Then accountant would be playing around with She

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Replying to Chris.Mann:
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By Rgab1947
06th Oct 2020 10:57

Nothing like a bit of sexism and holier than thou attitude.

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By RaxJ
01st Oct 2020 19:29

Read the ACCA code of ethics...

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By Calculatorboy
02nd Oct 2020 01:26

Send her a box of chocolates

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By Justin Bryant
02nd Oct 2020 09:09

Couldn't have put it better myself and the best Friday post for a long time.

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By Bob Loblaw
02nd Oct 2020 09:08

God. This why people think accountants are a sad bunch of boring old wettys isn't it.

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Replying to Bob Loblaw:
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By Justin Bryant
02nd Oct 2020 09:11

You sound like a bundle of laughs yourself.

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By thomas34
02nd Oct 2020 09:36

This thread should be read in conjunction with the one seven down (unless this is the coincidence of the century). The more they're compared the more the story unravels. If the story is genuine don't worry - it's a minor breach which I'm sure all of us have committed some time. If "Fedup" insists upon a written breakdown advise her that there will be an upfront charge. Her marriage sounds great doesn't it?

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By bernard michael
02nd Oct 2020 09:42

It's nice to see the other side of the argument for once. I assume you are the accountant referred to in an earlier post called Breach, which received a large volume of comments

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By paul.benny
02nd Oct 2020 10:50

I first thought this was intended as a humorous riposte to the thread entitled 'breach'. Some people have clearly read it as a genuine response - and that has coloured their responses to the poster of 'breach'.

Perhaps the OP could edit their post to make explicit whether or not they are the accountant criticised.

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Replying to paul.benny:
By Duggimon
02nd Oct 2020 14:06

It is 100% a joke. I didn't write it, but I will bet my house on it being a joke.

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Replying to Duggimon:
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By John Isabel
02nd Oct 2020 21:45

Quote:

It is 100% a joke. I didn't write it, but I will bet my house on it being a joke.

A light hearted post with a hint of exasperation as to the direction not just this site, but perhaps indeed the world, is taking.

Some may call it an allegory (oops that might be too much of a sub-plot hint. One poster has already displayed excellent detective skills). Personally I see it as a form of non-violent protest......

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Replying to Duggimon:
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By Paul Crowley
02nd Oct 2020 22:14

Not my post, but wish it was

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
RLI
By lionofludesch
03rd Oct 2020 06:33

If it had been mine, it wouldn't have been posted anonymously.

Marvellous stuff.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By Paul Crowley
03rd Oct 2020 09:22

The entertainment only works if if it is posted Anon.
But the Jim posting really was a timely fluke.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By John Isabel
07th Oct 2020 12:39

Maybe Really A Wise Old Legend wrote it, and as such anonymity (or even a nom de plume, shrouded by further anominiminyminity) was necessary

Peace out, hombres. I think I'm taking a breather again...........

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By meadowsaw227
02nd Oct 2020 12:01

At the very least a detailed explanation of why the accountant go the quote so badly wrong should have been included with the invoice .

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By dmmarler
06th Oct 2020 11:05

This could be serious - a friend of mine was accused of breaching confidentiality and was taken to the cleaners by his professional body. (I do not know the details, but I suspect it was an equally innocent exchange.) You have no independent record of the discussion with the husband. I would suggest you disengage with the client immediately. I would also recommend you find another golf partner - you should have done this ages ago. The age old advice applies - do not mix business and pleasure.

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Replying to dmmarler:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
06th Oct 2020 11:20

I would go further:

Change golf balls you use , was it a Slazenger 1 & 7 in Goldfinger?
Leave the golf club
Grow a beard or moustache (or if have either already shave them off) and adopt the wearing of glasses, (or stop wearing if wear already)
Sell house and move to an island off the west of Scotland
Fake own death by leaving a pile of your clothes on a beach

It is important that one reacts appropriately to these sorts of unrecorded conversations, maybe Tricky Dickie had the right idea after all.

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Replying to dmmarler:
RLI
By lionofludesch
06th Oct 2020 11:27

Quote:
The age old advice applies - do not mix business and pleasure.

Impossible.

Business IS a pleasure.

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By John Isabel
17th Oct 2020 01:24

Well it’s goodbye from me, and it’s goodbye (oops I mean hello, hopefully) from him.

It looks like I may have struck a deal to get my old life back. As much as I’ve ‘enjoyed’ the last few weeks it’s time to move on.

Congratulations to Cheshire (super sleuth) who didn’t need any hints at all. If you didn’t get it or needed help then ‘boeuf a la mode’ as they say in Peckham.

Id like to think I’ll live on in your hearts when I’m ‘gone’. If your memories are less fond then sorry about that. Either way, don’t forget me - always remember, John Isabel!

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Replying to John Isabel:
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By Cheshire
18th Oct 2020 15:43

Haha. I thought you had to be a great detective in this role. Some folk compare my detective skills to Cagney and Lacey. Although I wonder which one they mean. Hoping as I'm a blond that it's the good looking one they are referring to! Maybe it's just that I'm a lush! Or... be careful you lot.

Anyway I will miss the musings of John Isabel, but hoping to see matters put back to its former glory.

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Replying to John Isabel:
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By Paul Crowley
18th Oct 2020 16:37

The exact problem with this site is that moderation encourages the DIY and the single thread idiot
Moderation is antagonistic to the people who contribute and give direct unglossed advice
Moderation does not encourage getting the facts
Moderation does not accept that DIY direct single trivial question OP usually has missed the the BIG one that DIYer did not realise was there

This thread was an absolute star, and whilst I accept not everyone recognises spoof when they see it, this kind of thread keeps a modicum of entertainment in a sea of Thankless no hope DIYers who throw the toys out of the pram if we do not treat them as special and give answers they want to hear
DIYers are done no favours if responders pander to their wishes, and agree their stupid opinions

Do not shut the membership
Stay well
Keep contributing

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By Cheshire
18th Oct 2020 15:45

Fab initial post BTW

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