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Client engagement and tight deadline

Not got professional clearance yet

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Prospective client asked if I can help with the co. accounts. Companies House deadline is 31/10/18. Have sent off the professional clearance to current accountant this morning but on the basis I don't hear from them by tomorrow can someone clarify what is the recommended course  of action?

Replies (19)

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RLI
By lionofludesch
29th Oct 2018 15:44

Shorten the year end.

Also consider declining the client's instructions.

He sounds like trouble.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By newstarter01
29th Oct 2018 15:54

Can I shorten the ARD on clients instruction even before receiving professional clearance?

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RLI
By lionofludesch
29th Oct 2018 15:56

Yes.

If you're toey about it, get him to push the button.

Hope he's got the webfiling code ....... still, if not, that's a sharp £150 lesson in not leaving stuff till the last minute.

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By Pygmy
29th Oct 2018 15:56

The client can shorten their own accounting year, however, provided they have the authentication code

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By Manchester_man
29th Oct 2018 19:37

What's the betting the client hasn't a clue what the authentication code is?

I can count only a handful of times I've asked a new client for the code and they've had more than the faintest idea what it was.

It's their own fault.

Ps, I'd be a little bit suspicious as to why the accounts haven't already been done, particularly as they have an accountant already.

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Replying to Manchester_man:
By petersaxton
30th Oct 2018 07:21

Manchester_man wrote:

What's the betting the client hasn't a clue what the authentication code is?

I can count only a handful of times I've asked a new client for the code and they've had more than the faintest idea what it was.


I've been approached by new clients and they haven't a clue about the authentication code. Companies House say they are sent the code when they have formed the company and when the confirmation statement reminder is sent and I have seen them on those documents but people say they haven't received them. If I received anything that I didn't know anything about I would read it carefully especially if I wasn't going to employ an accountant. It's amazing how lots of people wait until the last minute before getting an accountant. By this time they have lost everything!
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By lionofludesch
30th Oct 2018 07:38

Ah - but you're not an average client, Peter.

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By Kaylee100
29th Oct 2018 21:10

I wouldnt act until all is in order. He asked you to act too close to the deadline and, if everything fell into place as it often does, then fair enough. However, it cant be expected, so I would warn a fine is a possibility.

Then ensure next years are on time so as not to repeat with greater penalties.

Hopefully you will hear back from the previous agent very soon. I try to reply to clearance requests within 24 hours now as I know how important it often is but, holidays, sickness, computers refusing to boot!, sometimes a super quick turnaround just isnt possible, however much I try.

Good luck!

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By Matrix
30th Oct 2018 06:26

Good advice already given. You need to manage client expectations on this one.

Make sure you are paid in advance and don't promise to meet the deadline.

I assume you have seen the records if you think it is possible and you don't say whether you need handover information.

So be realistic and ideally shorten the AP, I once did this with a client in the initial meeting but admittedly the client logged in.

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By carnmores
30th Oct 2018 11:22

you can accept without professional clearance. if its a good client and you must have formed a view by now then under instruction you can file. if the accounts need changing they can be amended later.

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Replying to carnmores:
RLI
By lionofludesch
30th Oct 2018 13:56

Mmmm - but how are they going to be filed without the access code?

I think we can discount "good client" - bloke who turns up two days before the deadline ?

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By carnmores
30th Oct 2018 14:10

its more problematic but where there is a will there is a way. on a couple of occasions in the last 5 years i have sent accounts for special delivery the next day and also turned up at companies house offices at 11pm on the deadline and letterboxed them. obviously this is a problem if not near Cardiff London Belfast or Edinburgh. the code belongs to the company not the accountants so i would send an email to old accountants telling them that unless they hand the code over they will be responsible for the fine. in practice this should come from the company director

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Replying to carnmores:
RLI
By lionofludesch
30th Oct 2018 14:34

I wouldn't be filing estimated accounts for a client I'd met two days ago and driving to Companies House to deliver them by hand.

My PI insurers wouldn't like it and neither would I.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By carnmores
30th Oct 2018 14:58

i didnt say i would Lion! i said i had filed (non estimated) in the past and with clients i trust who just got the information to me very late. its a possibility no more than that we just dont have all the info at moment to make a call

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By pauljohnston
31st Oct 2018 10:08

OK If this is not the first set of accounts - have you downloaded last years filleted accounts from Companies House. This will give you a partial starting point.

As others have said not a lot can be done. If a full set of last years accounts are available you could prepare accounts and have them delivered by courier.

Make sure you are paid upfront. Tell client £150 fine comming his way and then get on with the job.

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By TheChief
31st Oct 2018 10:12

This situation is not always the clients fault. What happens if you have been chasing the previous accountants and you still get no response? Is that the clients fault?

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By Kaylee100
31st Oct 2018 10:24

I've had that happen in the past (accountant had moved abroad) and there is a process my Institute advised me to follow to keep my files in order.

There isn't any indication that is the case here though, as the OP says he had only just sent off for professional clearance that morning.

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Replying to TheChief:
RLI
By lionofludesch
31st Oct 2018 10:25

I've every sympathy with folk who have been let down by others but it's almost certainly not the OP's fault and he shouldn't get drawn into submitting accounts with which he's not happy just to save a £150 penalty.

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By andy.partridge
31st Oct 2018 14:18

Relax. The client is the architect of their own problem. At present you do not know if it is a simple one or a can of worms. Don't get drawn into making it your problem.

You sound like you want to be the accountant who only gives their client good news. It's a lovely fluffy idea, but the job isn't quite like that.

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