Share this content

Don't you just love it when this happens....

How would you reply?

Didn't find your answer?

So a while back, some of you may recall I had a client moaning about having to prepare accounts when the company has been in IR35 all year.  I asked what people thought about simply letting the company be struck off by companies house as there is no tax to pay, so if she does not file accounts, there is no tax loss and I would not lose any sleep over that.

Client obviously does not like this suggestion, which is fine.  I  (stupidly) offered to do the accounts for half of our usual fee as a gesture of goodwill.  All went very quiet for a while, and then today I got an email asking if I would reduce this further as she "can't afford it". 

In the meanwhile she has tried using one of these online accountants - presumably the kind that will do your accounts for £tiddly squat if you provide a perfect tb, but as she does not know what a tb is, (I don't mean that to sound rude, I am sure I could not do her job) the price has apparently been getting higher and higher, and, apparently, very stressful, so could I kindly consider reducing my fee as she does not earn a lot to pay for accountancy fees.

I have just seen her IR35 income and it was £100k for a 9 month period.

OK, so there shouldn't be many, if any expenses, but she still has weekly amounts being paid into the company bank account and she was VAT registered.  I think half price is a cracking bargain.

SO lovely people, out of interest,

How would you respond to this delightful email?  and assuming it is not with "get lost".....

What would you charge for doing the accounts and CT return.  Who thinks 50% of usual rates (which are already relatively modest compared to some accountants I could name) is a rip off?

 

 

Replies (49)

Please login or register to join the discussion.

By CazzyT
08th Apr 2021 14:55

I don't think I would have offered half fees as things never quite end up being as simple as you hope but as you've already done that I would politely say:-

"having considered matters again, unfortunately I am unable to offer any further reduction. If you would like my assistance, then please provide all information by [date that suits you]"

Up to them then

Thanks (1)
avatar
By memyself-eye
08th Apr 2021 14:56

50% off
I would double the fee!

(I wouldn't cos I've just retired, but if I hadn't.....)

Thanks (2)
Replying to memyself-eye:
Scooby
By gainsborough
08th Apr 2021 15:40

Go on me-myself....make us all green with envy. How have you been celebrating/spending your time over the last 8 days?

Thanks (0)
Replying to gainsborough:
Avatar
By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
08th Apr 2021 15:44

He's been under an MG most of it, shifting a nut!

Thanks (0)
Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
A Putey FACA
By Arthur Putey
08th Apr 2021 16:17

Did it get shifted? I lost the other thread :-)

Thanks (1)
Replying to Arthur Putey:
avatar
By memyself-eye
08th Apr 2021 17:52

No, the thread ended in success. I told the car who was boss and, after a struggle it accepted the inevitable.

Unlike my wife......

Thanks (0)
Replying to memyself-eye:
Stepurhan
By stepurhan
08th Apr 2021 20:24

memyself-eye wrote:

No, the thread ended in success. I told the car who was boss and, after a struggle it accepted the inevitable.

Unlike my wife......

If you're expecting your wife to acknowledge you as boss I think you are the nut.
Thanks (2)
Replying to stepurhan:
avatar
By memyself-eye
09th Apr 2021 09:47

Funny - she says that too!

Thanks (0)
Replying to gainsborough:
avatar
By memyself-eye
08th Apr 2021 17:50

lying under an MGB struggling with a differential oil seal... and pondering when my (newly acquired and SDLT free) narrowboat's gearbox will be fixed!

Thanks (0)
Replying to memyself-eye:
Scooby
By gainsborough
08th Apr 2021 19:28

Sounds a lot more fun than accountancy/tax/dealing with HMRC. Enjoy!

Thanks (0)
Replying to memyself-eye:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
08th Apr 2021 22:16

Boats, an option for someone who does not drink or take drugs to excess to blow all their money paying others to sand , paint and varnish or the perfect hobby for those with a varnish sniffing habit.

When you calculate your mpg calculate it with reference to the gallons of paint and varnish used, you will be horrified .

Thanks (0)
Replying to DJKL:
avatar
By memyself-eye
09th Apr 2021 09:53

It's a narrow boat - a tin box on the canal - the only varnishing required is the seat on the stern (that's at the back) that you sit on - two strips of wood, about half an hour every 3 years.

This one is aluminium so no rust either!

Thanks (0)
Replying to DJKL:
Avatar
By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
09th Apr 2021 09:57

DJKL wrote:

Boats, an option for someone who does not drink or take drugs to excess to blow all their money...

Uhhu, so there's not too many boat owners north of Hadrian's Wall?

Thanks (0)
Replying to memyself-eye:
avatar
By Carole Baldwin
09th Apr 2021 11:04

Why struggle with an MGB? Just leave it for a week and it will rust through and fall off on it's own.

Thanks (0)
Replying to Carole Baldwin:
Avatar
By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
09th Apr 2021 14:36

Sounds like an old bike!

Thanks (0)
Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
avatar
By Carole Baldwin
09th Apr 2021 14:53

Are you referring to my Yamaha or to me :P

Thanks (0)
Replying to Carole Baldwin:
Avatar
By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
09th Apr 2021 16:47

Ha! Well the topic was old rust-buckets, but if the cap fits... :)

Thanks (0)
Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
avatar
By Carole Baldwin
09th Apr 2021 19:40

Things don't rust if they are regularly serviced :P:P:P

Thanks (0)
Replying to Carole Baldwin:
Avatar
By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
10th Apr 2021 13:00

Not for an old wreck!

(I'm beginning to worry about my kneecaps)

Thanks (0)
Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
avatar
By Carole Baldwin
10th Apr 2021 15:39

It's a bit higher than your kneecaps that you need to worry about.
As they say at Wimbledon "new b**ls please".

Thanks (0)
Replying to Carole Baldwin:
Avatar
By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
10th Apr 2021 16:10

We're back on removing old nuts!

Thanks (0)
Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
avatar
By Hugo Fair
10th Apr 2021 17:08

Don't know how to reply to two posters at the same time ... but 'get a room'!
Once a thread exceeds 50 (and yes I mean posts not posters) I give up ... and this is now on the horizon.

Thanks (0)
Replying to Hugo Fair:
Avatar
By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
10th Apr 2021 17:19

Ooops - Pardon us!

On which note, as they say at Wimbledon, I shall womble off!

Thanks (0)
Replying to Hugo Fair:
avatar
By Carole Baldwin
10th Apr 2021 19:17

Nurse, can we do an emergency humour transplant please.

Thanks (0)
Replying to Carole Baldwin:
avatar
By Hugo Fair
10th Apr 2021 19:59

Humour's intact thank you ... doesn't even require a splint (although I'm sure you could find an interesting use for the hospital's traction equipment)!
I just felt you could open a thread dedicated to Carry On Nurse if you so wished, into which I could dip when/if I was interested.

Thanks (0)
Replying to Hugo Fair:
avatar
By Carole Baldwin
11th Apr 2021 09:32

Your humour may be intact, I'm not so sure about your manners.

Thanks (0)
Replying to Carole Baldwin:
avatar
By Hugo Fair
11th Apr 2021 09:59

"emergency humour transplant" ... mirror.

Thanks (0)
Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
avatar
By Carole Baldwin
10th Apr 2021 19:27

I think I must have squirrel DNA, I've always been partial to nuts, except I don't bury them for later.

Thanks (0)
Replying to Carole Baldwin:
Avatar
By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
11th Apr 2021 10:05

?

Thanks (0)
Replying to Carole Baldwin:
Avatar
By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
11th Apr 2021 09:44

You've teed me up for a one-liner about burying nuts; but I'm not biting.

Thanks (0)
Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
avatar
By Carole Baldwin
11th Apr 2021 11:25

That's all right, you can leave the biting to me. I do enjoy a little nibble on a Sunday morning.

Thanks (0)
Replying to Carole Baldwin:
Avatar
By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
11th Apr 2021 12:00

As they say in Douglas, on yer bike :)

Thanks (0)
Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
avatar
By Carole Baldwin
11th Apr 2021 16:03

I intend to be "on my bike" tomorrow with the lifting of restrictions. Client's can wait, I'm off to sample the delights of the open road again.

Thanks (0)
Replying to Carole Baldwin:
Avatar
By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
11th Apr 2021 21:43

Back in the saddle again? Lucky you!

Watch out for any aged mods.

Thanks (0)
Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
avatar
By Carole Baldwin
12th Apr 2021 10:36

Done all I intend to do for the day. I'm now off to blow the cobwebs off. Booked lunch at a favourite pub about 60 miles away.
I never see any aged mods, happily I think scooters died out with the dinosaurs.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By Paul Crowley
08th Apr 2021 15:12

My worst payers and most awkward clients are those with £100K pa income
In this circumstance I would maintain the offer but would expect to bill immediately
on being reappointed, and would expect payment with records

But I suspect you were never advised that on line cheapy was acting by either client or pretend new agent

The service you supply is worth multiples of online supplier cost

Thanks (0)
boxfile
By spilly
08th Apr 2021 15:10

50% off sounds like a bargain. Of course, I’m assuming you don’t base your fees on gross income/turnover.
Stick to your guns, and maybe add in a caveat that should the work take longer than in previous years, you reserve the right to increase the fee.

Thanks (0)
Jason Croke
By Jason Croke
08th Apr 2021 15:12

To me, whether they can afford it or not is a distraction, what they are saying is they don't value your expertise, actually its worthless to them, but they need you to do this simple filing thingy and so a token fee is all its worth. Whatever the back story, its just a client who doesn't value your expertise and knowledge.

I'd respond that your fee has already been heavily reduced because you value their custom, and that they should recognise the value in your expertise.

You are no doubt familiar with the "story" about the business that spent weeks trying to fix a broken machine and in desperation, they call in an expert who takes 2 minutes, gently taps the machine and it is fixed. When the expert invoices them for £10k and the customer demands a breakdown, the response is £1k to attend the site, £9k to exactly where to hit the machine. Experience is where our value lays.

Thanks (5)
Replying to Jason Croke:
Routemaster image
By tom123
08th Apr 2021 15:59

You are no doubt familiar with the "story" about the business that spent weeks trying to fix a broken machine and in desperation, they call in an expert who takes 2 minutes, gently taps the machine and it is fixed. When the expert invoices them for £10k and the customer demands a breakdown, the response is £1k to attend the site, £9k to exactly where to hit the machine. Experience is where our value lays

I think you may have met our service engineers Jason!

Thanks (0)
Replying to tom123:
avatar
By Hugo Fair
08th Apr 2021 16:58

I wasn't aware the story was supposed to be apocryphal ... as I witnessed it's close cousin back in the late '80s.
The 3rd floor photo-copier (remember those beasties) was refusing to acknowledge any commands, so the FD called in the Xerox engineer. About 5 minutes later he presented his bill for (I think) £250 ... and the FD let loose with choice words on the topic of rip-off merchants.
After he'd run out of breath the Engineer responded (in almost a drawl):
"Well I suppose I could give you a special discount ... (long pause) ... shall we say you only pay me £50 ... (even longer pause) ... of course for that price I'll have to put the machine back in it's original state"!

Thanks (2)
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
08th Apr 2021 15:30

I think my response would be quite simple, "I have underestimated the work required and would need to charge [ insert higher fee between 50% and normal]"

Bye bye to bad rubbish.

Thanks (1)
Scooby
By gainsborough
08th Apr 2021 15:39

I think I would rather have a PITA client who appreciated me than one like this. Charge your normal fees plus a premium or use this as a great opportunity to get rid. Guaranteed clients like these will find something to moan about even if you drastically reduce your fees - just not worth it and unfair to all your "good" clients being charged full whack.

Thanks (0)
Replying to gainsborough:
avatar
By Paul Crowley
08th Apr 2021 16:11

I agree
The small trader who pays, for him, a large fee in proportion to income at normal charge rate is more worthy of the discount

Thanks (0)
My photo
By Matrix
08th Apr 2021 15:45

I would probably have charged more than my usual fee since I would have to learn how to prepare the accounts with all the deemed IR35 stuff. Or I would probably say No if it is just for one year.

If you already know what you are doing and need the money then quote a fee to make it worth your while but don’t give further discount.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By SXGuy
08th Apr 2021 15:58

Have learned never to reduce my fee based on someone claiming poverty.

It is what it is, don't like it find someone else.

Last year I had someone literally beg me to reduce the fee and suggested I could "charge what I liked, double even next year" if I just reduce the fees now.

Needless to say I laughed and advised he sought a new accountant.

Didn't stop him from ringing a week later to inform me that he had indeed found a cheaper one but wanted to give me "one last chance to re consider" before he left.

Thanks (2)
A Putey FACA
By Arthur Putey
08th Apr 2021 16:28

"By apointing another accountant you effectively ended the contract between us. Should you wish to reappoint us we would have to treat you as a new client and we will have to provide you with a new fee quote, and on acceptance we would issue a new engagement letter. I estimate that our fees would be £x [£x being at least normal rate], please let me know if you would like to proceed".

Thanks (6)
Red Leader
By Red Leader
08th Apr 2021 16:41

I agree with other posters. They are taking the p1ss and as Jason says obviously don't value your knowledge and skill. Just disengage, they're not going to improve are they? Well, are they?

Thanks (0)
avatar
By memyself-eye
08th Apr 2021 17:55

This is the issue - we (I use that word in the past tense) accountants are seen in some quarters as mere 'bean counters' not always - but too often.
I bet the client wouldn't ask her doctor to accept half wages!
Stand firm as George Armstrong Custer would have said.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By bernard michael
09th Apr 2021 11:33

I would tell her that the 50% reduction was historic and is no longer available. In fact your fees may have increased in the interim

If she's pulling in £100k for 9 months work she must think you are a mug if she gives you the hard luck story

Thanks (3)
Share this content