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Clients struggling with mental health

How do you respond when clients aren't doing what's required of them?

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We've had a handful of these situations over the years, but perhaps due to Coronavirus concerns, quite a few recently.

- Client needs to do something, eg sign off figures, or answer a simple query re a transaction.
- We chase them periodically.
- They eventually respond, not having done whatever we need from them, saying they're in poor mental health.

What do you do/how do you respond in these situations?

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By SXGuy
11th May 2020 12:34

Its a tough one, and really depends how long it goes on for.

I had a client, who didn't respond to quite a number of phone calls, emails over a 6 month period.
During that time he had a HMRC enquiry which could have been settled quite easily, but ignore them as well, and ended up receiving penalties.

After 12 months of trying over and over to sort it all out, I had to disengaged, there was only so much I could do.

Thanks (1)
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By Cheshire
11th May 2020 12:38

Quote:

We've had a handful of these situations over the years, but perhaps due to Coronavirus concerns, quite a few recently.

- Client needs to do something, eg sign off figures, or answer a simple query re a transaction.
- We chase them periodically.
- They eventually respond, not having done whatever we need from them, saying they're in poor mental health.

What do you do/how do you respond in these situations?

Not sure why the question needs to be done on an anon basis, there is nothing sensitive in your post. Pretty sure that most of us have had this scenario occur at some point in our careers.

I have noticed an increase in such behaviour. From some who have clearly got more time on their hands but cannot be bothered/do not think the questions are important or for some other reason that they, no doubt, consider is valid.

I got to the stage this weekend of deciding to dump a few who do this. Im fed up to the back teeth of trying to get answers to simple questions to the point where my nerves are shredded, so for my own mental health Im going to be dis-engaging.

Well its that or ignore the social distancing rules, whilst I go and tip them upsidedown, shake them senseless then dunk them in the canal....think waterboarding.

Although on the basis that after a frustrating long bank holiday weekend working, I decided to sell both my business and my house, maybe I will see if anyone else has any great suggestions.

Dis-engagement letters are almost complete in draft form though.

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Replying to Cheshire:
John Stokdyk, AccountingWEB head of insight
By John Stokdyk
14th May 2020 15:17

There shouldn't be any issue here with an anonymous posting. While the OP may not have breached client confidentiality by what is in the post, they may feel more comfortable discussing the details behind a cloak of anonymity.

This was the kind of situation for which members asked for this option.

PS to OP - if you want to come back and discuss the circumstances in more detail, be warned that your normal user ID will be visible if you respond. [A topic for a different conversation]

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By penelope pitstop
11th May 2020 13:31

Where possible, go visit them at home and guide them through that confusing maze called the UK tax system.

I sometimes find that in the space of an hour at their homes I can transact what would have taken 7 hours in an office, emails, correspondence etc.

And educate them too at the same time.

Thanks (2)
boxfile
By spilly
11th May 2020 13:41

As a parent of someone with bipolar, I would advise that there can be times when someone is more receptive and able to respond to your queries than at others.
If a client is not responding to information requests, I will try to get them to come in for a chat. I ask them to bring in all the paperwork they have, including any unopened correspondence (a sign that they are not coping is a fear of opening anything in case the contents are upsetting).
I will always try several contact methods too, as some will answer a text but not a phone call or email and vice versa.
And although I might have more patience and understanding due to family experience, there does come a time when you have to concede that you simply cannot do anymore. I would however, suggest to a client that a local charity or health group might be able to give them further assistance, then disengage them.

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neand
By neanderthal
11th May 2020 14:18

they have ruined human beings.

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7om
By Tom 7000
15th May 2020 13:01

Say
Its important that you spend 10 minutes doing this now or you will get a huge fine. and HMRC will have no truck with any excuse me old sunshine.

Then you have warned them and when they get fined... you can say

told ya big ears :p

or words to that effect but much more professionally put

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