Share this content

Clients in meltdown

.

Didn't find your answer?

Am I the only one that starts to feel like the ship's counsellor when a client gets an HMRC enquiry, blows it out of all proportion in their minds, breaks down in tears, and then calls daily for an update because they are genuinely terrified, and I find myself saying almost every other word, "please stop worring, it's only money".

Replies (36)

Please login or register to join the discussion.

By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
19th Nov 2021 15:47

I find the divorces are worst.

I hate people crying at me at the best of times, let alone clients.

Thanks (0)
Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
Tornado
By Tornado
19th Nov 2021 16:12

'I find the divorces are worst.'

It can be a bit harrowing. One client managed to use a whole box of my issues at one session.

Fortunately, this does not happen very often.

Thanks (0)
Replying to Tornado:
avatar
By Hugo Fair
19th Nov 2021 18:17

I really tried not to lower the tone by responding but ...
"client managed to use a whole box of my issues at one session".

I wish I had clients like that ... I'd soon run out of issues (despite HMRC)!

Thanks (5)
Replying to Tornado:
Tornado
By Tornado
19th Nov 2021 20:27

OK own up.

Who nicked the T.

Thanks (4)
Replying to Tornado:
Stepurhan
By stepurhan
20th Nov 2021 10:52

Tornado wrote:

OK own up.

Who nicked the T.


Leather Goddesses of Phobos!

(a riduculously obscure reference, but I just had to post it anyway)

Thanks (0)
Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
avatar
By the_fishmonger
20th Nov 2021 16:23

ireallyshouldknowthisbut wrote:

I find the divorces are worst.

I hate people crying at me at the best of times, let alone clients.

All these ruddy lockdowns have accelerated a rise in divorces, particularly where the couple run a business.

Each party keeps trying to get you 'on their side' even when you point out that you're not their solicitor, you're there only to advise in relation to the business accounting matters (and maybe company secretarial that may be needed later on).

Thinking we might add a 'Relate' sign in the window because it feels more and more that we're expected to be a counsellor/mediator and shoulder to cry on - we're looking at 3 divorcing pairs on the go just now. Enough to make me cry!

PS we have to buy our (t)issues in bulk

Thanks (1)
Replying to the_fishmonger:
avatar
By Mr_awol
22nd Nov 2021 11:13

I had a client saying they didn't want to take any dividends because that would be income her (soon to be ex) husband would want half of.

I suggested she speak to her solicitor about the implications of distorting income, and also that she may then be left with a more valuable company which he might be entitled to half of.

Apparently i was siding with him (never met the guy) and she found someone else to look after her affairs* from then on.

* tax and accounting i mean. I never had any involvement with the other stuff.

Thanks (1)
Replying to the_fishmonger:
avatar
By Rgab1947
23rd Nov 2021 10:06

In one divorce case which ended up with barristers, the barristers were in the same chambers but on different floors. I was shuttling between the two floors, each time being asked "what did the other side say/ask" and trying to get me to agree to a split of the business assets which their client wanted.

Was a tough day but managed (just) to stay neutral.

Thanks (0)
chips_at_mattersey
By Les Howard
19th Nov 2021 16:02

I understand that. I have had to learn to provide reassurance as well as technical VAT stuff!

New marketing wording: 'Good VAT advice means you can sleep at night!'

Thanks (1)
avatar
By Justin Bryant
19th Nov 2021 16:50

That's nothing compared to dealing with suicidal clients re the loan charge. Thanks HMRC & Gideon for that.

Thanks (1)
avatar
By Paul Crowley
19th Nov 2021 18:20

The previously blase clients are the most likely to go that way. Probably with good reason
The advantage of selling the enquiry cover is that I can tell clients that my time is free no matter how long it takes.

Thanks (0)
RLI
By lionofludesch
19th Nov 2021 18:43

It's only money ? Seriously - you said that ?

Great advice - unless it's something you're already short of.

Thanks (3)
Replying to lionofludesch:
Avatar
By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
19th Nov 2021 19:23

Concur, it's only his (the client's) money.

Things might be different, OP, if it was yourstash on the line.

In a separate life, the family business knows the fundamental difference between selling to Joe Public spending his hard-earned, and courting a well-intentioned custodian of someone else's spend budget. Spending someone else's cash is so wonderfully easy-street!

Thanks (1)
Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
avatar
By Hugo Fair
19th Nov 2021 19:52

Especially if the budget-gatekeeper gets a slice of the action (from the "someone else's budget") ... oh sorry, am I not on the Public Sector procurement website?

Thanks (1)
Replying to lionofludesch:
avatar
By adam.arca
20th Nov 2021 08:56

Yes, I was surprised the OP dared say that too.

From my experience, there are huge numbers of clients out there who value their money much more highly than, say, their health.

Thanks (0)
Replying to adam.arca:
RLI
By lionofludesch
20th Nov 2021 09:51

adam.arca wrote:

Yes, I was surprised the OP dared say that too.

From my experience, there are huge numbers of clients out there who value their money much more highly than, say, their health.

There's a reason that, statistically, poorer people are less healthy.

Money is definitely a factor.

Thanks (0)
Replying to lionofludesch:
Avatar
By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
20th Nov 2021 17:53

Isn't money everything in our industry? The core matter?

Yours truly recently got through a bout of Covid, sitting at an open window in the conservatory all night for circa 3 weeks just to get his oxygen levels up to >85 on the old oximeter. (I swore to God if I ever got through that gasping for breath like a goldfish out of water situation then I'd become a reformed character.)

Needless to say, now that I'm on the mend I've returned to my old money-orientated ways. Large tax-bill, sir? Step this way ;-)

Thanks (2)
Replying to lionofludesch:
By SteveHa
22nd Nov 2021 10:45

lionofludesch wrote:

It's only money ? Seriously - you said that ?

Great advice - unless it's something you're already short of.

In context, it was appropriate. She has the money to settle whatever becomes due, and compared with what she was imagining (police knocking at her door, prison, the birch, ostracisation from her family etc.), boiling it down to a purely financial thing should give her some comfort.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By Open all hours
20th Nov 2021 16:47

I use the term ‘it’s only money’ quite regularly with clients. But ONLY when there’s £1.80 due on the filed tax return and I advice them to settle immediately rather than wait till January. Above that and we’re taking serious money.

Thanks (3)
Replying to Open all hours:
avatar
By Hugo Fair
20th Nov 2021 18:09

I shall obviously have to re-calibrate my sense of self-worth - if Linda Evangelista famously "wouldn't even wake up for less than $10,000 a day”, but you're prepared to start taking the money once the sum exceeds £1.80! :-)

Thanks (1)
Replying to Hugo Fair:
Avatar
By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
20th Nov 2021 18:25

I'm sure I'm going to regret asking; but, Hugo just where lies your materiality limit?

Obviously not £1.80 ; (urghh! I so wanted to leave a conventional 1920's-style space between £1.80 and the semi-colon. Otherwise £1.80 is rendered pants, cluttered, and unclear.) Wan't life better when we all adopted GBS's dictum! (And that's rhetoric, so I' m allowed to replace a "?" with "!") So there!

Where was I? Oh, yes.. £18? £180? or perhaps £1,812! We each of us have our price. What amount would coax you from the sancitude of your warm pillow?

Thanks (0)
Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
avatar
By Hugo Fair
20th Nov 2021 19:51

Leaving aside that my comment/ramble was merely a cheap dig at the typo in OpenAllHours' "Above that and we’re taking serious money"... I've never been able to take money seriously when it's mine (although of course I'm always both scrupulous and punctilious with other people's).

So my (cop-out) answer to quantifying my personal materiality is, in the words of Lao-Tze "He who knows enough is enough will always have enough".

Thanks (2)
Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
22nd Nov 2021 11:15

Test yourself- what is the lowest value coin you will bother to bend down to pick up from the street? (really applies to over 60s with creaky knees)

When hoovering inside car and a £1 coin is noticed to be jammed in the seat adjustment mechanism do you:

a. poke a bit with your fingers, not get it, give up?
b. move seat to see if better access, poke about, then give up?
c. reach for toolkit?

Thanks (0)
Replying to DJKL:
RLI
By lionofludesch
22nd Nov 2021 11:37

DJKL wrote:

Test yourself- what is the lowest value coin you will bother to bend down to pick up from the street? (really applies to over 60s with creaky knees)

When hoovering inside car and a £1 coin is noticed to be jammed in the seat adjustment mechanism do you:

a. poke a bit with your fingers, not get it, give up?
b. move seat to see if better access, poke about, then give up?
c. reach for toolkit?

Jeez - I'd prise out a penny.

I've noticed that all mechanics seem to be vertically challenged. If I take my car in for a service or whatever I inevitably have to shift the seat back a foot or so. Is there a height limit beyond which you're not allowed to be a mechanic ?

Thanks (0)
Replying to lionofludesch:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
22nd Nov 2021 11:56

Well, given how these days they pack car engine bays maybe you now need to be smaller to work as a mechanic, I these days certainly struggle to say work under a dashboard lying on my back (odd beer too many)

When I took car maint evening classes back in 1978 we worked on a Morris Minor, I could put my elbow against the engine bay side wall and had space for my forearm to be a right angles to the engine which did not crowd the engine bay, cars them were designed to be worked upon (none of the annoying computers or the protective plastic before even reaching the engine)

I needed to change a headlight on our Mini Countryman a week ago, opened bonnet, plastic cap at rear of light removed and promptly dropped by me down into engine bay where it caught, wedged down beside light fitting. Could I get my fingers in to retrieve, could I hell. A while later entire light assembly removed (only 4 bolts) to retrieve it, now if I had handy a ten year old with smaller hands none of the dismantling would have been needed. (Should have asked to borrow neighbour's grandkid)

Thanks (0)
Replying to DJKL:
RLI
By lionofludesch
22nd Nov 2021 12:13

DJKL wrote:

Well, given how these days they pack car engine bays maybe you now need to be smaller to work as a mechanic....

Some truth in that.

I went in to my local garage to get a new wiper blade last month and the fella said he'd fit it because "you need a degree to do this sort of stuff these days". He reckoned the worst thing is when parts come with a selection of different fittings for different models and you fit the part and then wonder if you should still have all the other bits.

I used to do stuff like change blades and bulbs but I don't bother now. Most places will fit them for free if you're a regular. Changing a wheel would be completely out of my league now. I haven't knelt down for nearly 19 years. I just make sure my AA sub is paid up.

Thanks (0)
Replying to lionofludesch:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
22nd Nov 2021 12:41

I still work on cars, sometimes unwillingly.

My Daughter in Law in October (a week before their delayed wedding reception) managed to drop her engagement ring down the air vent (or so we thought) in the dashboard of my wife's Fiat 500. Ring worth more than car and they were reluctant to trust a garage in case they claimed it had not been found and pocketed it. Well circa ten hours later we now have a car with airbags out, speedo out, wheel removed, heater out and dashboard removed. As it turned out it had actually dropped into the insulation at windscreen below the dashboard (there is a small gap)

The consequence is I am now walking to work, other half says even when I put it back together she will not drive it and I apparently now need to buy another car or start driving her awful Fiat (once rebuilt) and she takes my car.

Thanks (0)
Replying to DJKL:
RLI
By lionofludesch
22nd Nov 2021 12:54

DJKL wrote:

I still work on cars, sometimes unwillingly.

My Daughter in Law in October (a week before their delayed wedding reception) managed to drop her engagement ring down the air vent (or so we thought) in the dashboard of my wife's Fiat 500. Ring worth more than car and they were reluctant to trust a garage in case they claimed it had not been found and pocketed it. Well circa ten hours later we now have a car with airbags out, speedo out, wheel removed, heater out and dashboard removed. As it turned out it had actually dropped into the insulation at windscreen below the dashboard (there is a small gap)

The consequence is I am now walking to work, other half says even when I put it back together she will not drive it and I apparently now need to buy another car or start driving her awful Fiat (once rebuilt) and she takes my car.

Why not sell the ring and replace it with a plastic one out of a lucky bag on the grounds that that's all she can be trusted with ?

Thanks (0)
Replying to lionofludesch:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
22nd Nov 2021 13:08

Has merit but as son bought the ring in the first place it is not my call.

p.s. Son has at least offered a contribution to a replacement car and I have been promised a rather nice malt from Jura if they can source the particular bottling.

https://www.masterofmalt.com/whiskies/jura-16-year-old-whisky/

Thanks (0)
Replying to DJKL:
RLI
By lionofludesch
22nd Nov 2021 13:26

DJKL wrote:

Has merit but as son bought the ring in the first place it is not my call.

p.s. Son has at least offered a contribution to a replacement car and I have been promised a rather nice malt from Jura if they can source the particular bottling.

https://www.masterofmalt.com/whiskies/jura-16-year-old-whisky/

Not all bad news, then.

Thanks (0)
Replying to lionofludesch:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
22nd Nov 2021 13:43

Could be worse.

Thanks (0)
Replying to DJKL:
Tornado
By Tornado
22nd Nov 2021 14:12

Did you find my missing 'T' when you took the car apart?

It has to be somewhere.

Thanks (2)
Replying to Tornado:
RLI
By lionofludesch
22nd Nov 2021 14:26

Tornado wrote:

Did you find my missing 'T' when you took the car apart?

It has to be somewhere.

{chuckle}

Reminds me of the Brick Joke in C'mon Midffild.

Thanks (0)
Replying to Tornado:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
22nd Nov 2021 15:02

Wrong model, would need to break a Ford to find a T

Thanks (1)
Replying to DJKL:
avatar
By Rgab1947
23rd Nov 2021 10:10

I go with a. but I am over 60.

Thanks (0)
SMH
By ShakingMyHead
23rd Nov 2021 14:03

I've got one calling me daily. They've not paid a bill outstanding since January. I've sent the reminder statements. I just let the phone ring.... It's all urgent, urgent, urgent because HMRC are threatening you because you've not paid your taxes... I'm not the shoulder to cry on until you've paid my bill. Those tissues have to be paid for!

Thanks (0)
Share this content