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Company accounts for cheaper than £300?

Does it really exist out there?

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I do a few tax returns for friends and family on the side for cheap. About a year ago a friend of my uncle set up his own company for a side business he has selling stuff through Amazon. 

Well it was time to do his accounts and he asked a rough price and I quoted £300 including company accounts, tax returns, and personal tax return, thinking it would be cheap and cheerful, doing a favour for someone. He then got back to me a day later saying he found it cheaper and could I price match? I flat out refused and told him to do one, offended he would even ask considering I answered lots of tax questions since he has started. 

Question is, who is doing it that cheap? 

 

Replies (31)

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
17th Nov 2021 17:45

I imagine it will be a compliance factory churning out rubbish with zero thought, experience, insurance or regulation and probably costing their client thousands of pounds in the longer run.

Our minimum fee for a standalone self assessment tax return is £300 inc VAT. Even the 'simple ones' take some time to do properly and ask all the right questions.

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
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By Paul Crowley
17th Nov 2021 19:44

Agree exactly
Nothing at all less than £250 plus VAT

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By Catherine Newman
17th Nov 2021 17:46

I have recently subscribed to People Per Hour. It seems a lot of people are. I wouldn't get out of bed for some of the rates bid for. I bid higher but don't get accepted. Just accept that you provide a quality service (I hope). Limited companies take far more work as you have to provide tagged accounts, disclosures, balance sheets.

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Replying to Catherine Newman:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
17th Nov 2021 17:59

To be fair with the right software/nominal codes set up etc this is pretty straightforward, especially if any particular accounts wording /disclosures/notes can be b/fwd from prior year. ( I waste most time on related party notes, but if none then really straightforward)

TaxCalc Accounts production can have me from input of ETB to final accounts, review/check and then import into CT600 (checked against excel tax comp done when preparing ETB) all easily within one hour (if only a few nominals to post then far less)

The time is more in the books and ETB not in the final accounts, and often is little different from the time say doing partnership accounts.

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Replying to DJKL:
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
17th Nov 2021 18:14

The accounts production tends to be trivial.

its getting a decent TB with which to produce the accounts which takes the time and doing the tax planning, advice and all of the rest of it.

I would be as happy as Larry chucking a TB through out accounts prep software for £300+VAT a pop (indeed I would get my no.2 to punch it) but it would be garbage in/garbage out low quality product of dubious use to assess the client tax position. That is not the business I am in.

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
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By Catherine Newman
17th Nov 2021 18:23

This reply is so true. You need to know all of the facts re the directors. If you take it on cold you need to know why they are leaving their old accountants.

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
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By Catherine Newman
17th Nov 2021 18:25

Also you don't have the authorisation for a one-off and can't check their HMRC account.

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Replying to DJKL:
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By Catherine Newman
17th Nov 2021 18:19

I am just responding to the OP. I couldn't care less whether I get the work. If people want to put their necks on the line and not do the work to my standard fair play to them.

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Replying to Catherine Newman:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
19th Nov 2021 09:31

It was more your point re companies somehow being more time consuming than other forms of accounts to which I took exception, in my experience if using software there is little difference re final accounts production for a sole trader, a partnership or a limited.

Whether £300 would cover costs would certainly depend upon books, as does the cost of completing virtually all accounts.

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By rmillaree
17th Nov 2021 18:00

Being frank if you can do it for x cheap why are you surprised someone can do it for 20% less? - its always a race to the bottom if you look hard enough. Presumably you are happy getting £300 for a days labour - if someone else does not have enough work to keep them going it makes sense that that person would take £250 if they alternative is getting nothing as they have no work on.

Why would you get offended that someone didn't accept you quote and asked the question if you would do it for less? you either take work or you don't seems pointless taking offence when someone is simply trying to get the lowest price possible.

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By SXGuy
17th Nov 2021 18:07

Sounds like he was either trying it on, or a mate who does his own self assessment has offered to do his peice of cake accounts.

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RLI
By lionofludesch
17th Nov 2021 18:25

Is it a dormant company ?

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By Jim100
17th Nov 2021 19:27

I come across this all the time from accountants outside ICAEW and ACCA or even from those unqualified. With software some simple accounts and tax returns can take only hour or two so £150 an hour is still decent. Also there are qualified accountants based in places like India that are advertising to UK business. £300 is a lot of money in India.

I have also come across dodgy accountants that are dead cheap and also help the client to evade tax. They get business by getting clients promising no tax.

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By Paul Crowley
17th Nov 2021 19:49

You did right
Uncle is a liar and has no respect for your skills
Look in the mirror and say to youself 'you are worth it' once a day for 3 weeks as a punishment for doubting youself

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Flag of the Soviet Union
By thevaliant
17th Nov 2021 20:23

Ten years ago I lived in a flat, ran the flat management company and did the accounts. Wanted rid and wanted to sell.

Handed over to an agent a year before I sold. The first year, for service charge accounts of seven flats (so not massive but still), the accountant charged £150.
I considered that very cheap.
What was probably happening though was the agent and accountant were in bed together and I'm pretty sure the agent and accountant were so close they probably shared revenues.
After I'd left, the insurance charge had nearly tripled and the management fee had gone up by about 20%.
I then found out the agent had appointed themselves a director (despite the articles preventing non flat owners being directors) and were filing the accounts with the (ICAEW) accountants turning a blind eye to matters. A former neighbour told me the agents were basically preventing them seeing the accounts and had largely highjacked the company from the flat owners (who were entirely apathetic about the whole lot, being mostly absent landlords).

We've also lost clients to cheaper fees, only for them to return two years later when the new accountants tripled the fee. Clearly loss leaders to get them in the door and then triple the fee and hope they don't want to move again.

So I suspect cheap fees usually come with some sort of kickback involved, or else are year one loss leaders.

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Caroline
By accountantccole
18th Nov 2021 09:21

Bonkers price - he will get what he pays for.
Value your time!

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By williams lester accountants
18th Nov 2021 09:39

MuayThai wrote:

I do a few tax returns for friends and family on the side for cheap. About a year ago a friend of my uncle set up his own company for a side business he has selling stuff through Amazon. 

Well it was time to do his accounts and he asked a rough price and I quoted £300 including company accounts, tax returns, and personal tax return, thinking it would be cheap and cheerful, doing a favour for someone. He then got back to me a day later saying he found it cheaper and could I price match? I flat out refused and told him to do one, offended he would even ask considering I answered lots of tax questions since he has started. 

Question is, who is doing it that cheap? 

 

Not sure how you even do it for £300 if you only do a few! As by the time you have paid for AML & PII, you must be making a loss.....

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By jon_griffey
18th Nov 2021 09:41

I was asked to quote for a job recently. It was a supplier of office equipment. Ltd co, turnover probably £500K. Previous accountants were charging £250 for the accounts. Basically whatever fell out of Xero, that was posted as their accounts, with little further thought. It was riddled with serious errors. The corker was that half of the cost of sales purchases, which as a supplier of office equipment comprises desks, chairs, was posted to the fixed asset office equipment account and depreciated. Its the same old story - people go for cheap, the client doesn't understand the accounts so rubbish gets filed and everybody is happy.

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By Justin Bryant
18th Nov 2021 09:54

Blame CH & HMRC for not bothering to police accounts quality. If these clients knew their c*ap accounts were a false economy in terms of fines, enquiries, assessments & all the rest of it then clearly no-one would be charging less than c£300.

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By Duggimon
18th Nov 2021 10:04

If your only connection to this guy is that he's a friend of your uncle I don't know why you'd give him a low rate in the first place. I can't imagine your work is worth so little or you wouldn't be posting on here asking for second opinions.

Tell him to do one, take the lower offer and accept their rubbish service. I wouldn't be surprised if he was making it up and agrees to your £300 and comes back, though for your sake I hope not as you'd have escaped a bullet there.

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Glenn Martin
By Glenn Martin
18th Nov 2021 10:26

Your quote is bonkers low so if he has got cheaper elsewhere let him go.

For me the best advice you can give them is why even pay the £250, just do it yourself as you are not getting any advice so why even pay £250

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Replying to Glennzy:
RLI
By lionofludesch
18th Nov 2021 10:37

Glennzy wrote:

Your quote is bonkers low so if he has got cheaper elsewhere let him go.

[chuckle]

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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
18th Nov 2021 11:04

The practice that post letters to companies approaching their Companies House offering £300 statutory accounts is offering, if you read their smallprint, first year only accounts at that low fee. Subsequent years can (and no doubt will) cost more. They also assume a high standard set of books / TB as a starting point - otherwise they'll want extra to straighten out your books. Ker-ching!

My wife and I one went into a Soho restaurant with a board outside offering lunch-time specials of lasagne @£7.95, but emerged an hour later having racked up a £50 bill. Even the bread rolls were a £1 extra. Get the idea?

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Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
RedFive
By RedFive
18th Nov 2021 13:19

Your problem there was Soho. it's the extras in the booth out back that get you ;-)

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Replying to RedFive:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
19th Nov 2021 13:43

Ha ha!

Now that you mention it, there was a 20% service charge added to the bill.

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By Leywood
18th Nov 2021 11:35

[quote=MuayThai] ''I do a few tax returns for friends and family on the side for cheap.''

Your first mistake, working for friends and family

Your second mistake, working on the cheap. For anyone!

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Replying to Leywood:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
18th Nov 2021 12:03

Your third mistake, presumably, is doing accounts on the side (you should be registered for money laundering supervision).

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Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
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By Paul Crowley
19th Nov 2021 12:21

OP dodged a bullet
Need to register with HMRC as supplying company services as well
The accounting bodies to that for members in practice, but not those in employment

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By legerman
18th Nov 2021 13:05

I was asked to quote a Ltd Company and because I knew the bookkeeper believed it to be fairly straight forward so I quoted less than my normal price.

Apparently the previous year they paid £200 + VAT. Declined it on the spot and had a sneaky look at their accounts once filed. Same accountants as previous year so they must have gone back to them.

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By sallyrichardson
19th Nov 2021 09:40

Don't waste your time worrying about people who don't value what you do. Don't try to argue with them, don't spend hours explaining false economies and possible fines if they have crap accounts being submitted by cheap and nasty "tax advisors". Life is too short and there are plenty of people out there who will value what you do. :-)

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By towat
19th Nov 2021 10:27

To paraphrase something I heard recently "you're not paying for the hours it takes to do the job but the years it has taken me to learn how to do the job".
You could get your car serviced cheaply provided they don't do any additional safety checks but I would rather pay a bit extra knowing everything is ok.

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