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Fee for furlough claim?

Are you charging an admin fee for submitting furlough claims?

Didn't find your answer?

Have offered hours upon hours of free of charge advice and support these last few weeks where do we draw the line? Clients should be able to manage the claim themselves through their own Gateway, are your charging a fee if they want you to do it for them?

 

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By Wanderer
20th Apr 2020 08:38

Yes.

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By claudialowe
20th Apr 2020 08:47

Yes - have warned all clients that I will be charging a fee, but that I don't know how much and not until everyone is back at work again......................

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blue sheep
By NH
20th Apr 2020 08:58

NO

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By Jdopus
20th Apr 2020 08:59

No, but it's not entirely charitable. We get paid by DD so it's in our interest to make sure we're not one of the DDs that businesses cancel once their cash gets a little tight.

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boxfile
By spilly
20th Apr 2020 08:59

Surely it's part of payroll duties?

However, we will consider putting up our fees for payroll in the near future.

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Replying to spilly:
Psycho
By Wilson Philips
20th Apr 2020 09:14

Given that this is something completely new I don’t see how it can simply be considered as part of payroll duties. It has in fact nothing to do with payroll and is simply a reimbursement of certain employment costs.

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Replying to Wilson Philips:
boxfile
By spilly
20th Apr 2020 09:27

We are in the same situation as Jdopus with most clients paying by monthly DDs. We've already lost 2 clients to another firm that is currently aggressively targeting local businesses and savagely undercutting our already pretty reasonable fees.
Hence why we are aiming to recoup our costs over the longer-term.

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Replying to spilly:
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By Rgab1947
21st Apr 2020 11:03

Don't think so

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Psycho
By Wilson Philips
20th Apr 2020 09:12

We are charging £50 per employee, up to a maximum of £750. As mentioned above, it’s not part of payroll and clients can make their own claim - chances are they have plenty of time on their hands to do so. I have no problem with charging for the service if they ask us to do it instead - one thing our payroll department does not have is free time.

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Replying to Wilson Philips:
blue sheep
By NH
20th Apr 2020 09:21

lol, bit late for April fools, good one though - £50 lol

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Replying to NH:
Psycho
By Wilson Philips
20th Apr 2020 09:43

Laugh if you want -that is what we are charging, and what most client have so far accepted.

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Replying to Wilson Philips:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
20th Apr 2020 09:53

£250 + VAT per claim here. Covers some of the faffing about over the past few weeks.

I have a stock answer for objectors: "Any accountant who doesn't know enough to charge something for their services doesn't know enough to be a help to your business". Bet you Posh Spice's accountants are charging her!

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Replying to Wilson Philips:
blue sheep
By NH
20th Apr 2020 09:54

Sorry I just didn't for one second assume you were serious, like others have said our clients have agreed to carry on paying us monthly which is enough for me, most of them cannot pay the salary bill this month so I would not for one second have considered adding to their burden

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Replying to NH:
Psycho
By Wilson Philips
20th Apr 2020 10:17

Each to their own. As I said above, many employers in need of claims will have enough time on their hands to submit their own. If they can't be bothered, and ask us to do so on their behalf, this is a service over and above their existing package. Very few have objected to the charge. Experiences will differ, I suppose.

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By Marky
20th Apr 2020 11:54

Do clients really expect us to perform all this work free of charge, would they all really appreciate the effort. What is clearly noticeable is the lack of clients asking if we are charging for all this free work.

The calculation on spreadsheets take time, the client and employee information gathering in an order to complete the claims takes time. I only process monthly payroll and have nearly finished March / April claims and that may leave me further claims for May and June but what if it continues over a longer period.

The majority of my clients wouldn't have a clue how to go about this process, so I've taken away that stress for them.

The guidance takes ages to constantly look at, we're giving advice on Universal Credits etc and trying to work through the maze of holiday pay issues, you'll be exactly the same.

We haven't even mentioned uploading all tax returns to portals for tax returns for 2016/2017 and building a spreadsheet for this self employed scheme(although much simpler).

I want my clients to survive but if you work from home like me, then your not even receiving the directors £719 x 80% salary. The compliance work has fallen way behind due to this unscheduled unpaid work.

I know that I'm building up great goodwill with some clients but some would leave in a heart beat without blinking. I am now beginning to change my mind about not charging a fee, even if it's a token gesture of £25 per employer claim. Surely we must place even a small value on this amount of service. If you run weekly payroll and large payrolls then you have to surely charge something as the work load may be huge.

I've received many spam emails from firms offering an hourly rate for helping process these claims

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Replying to Marky:
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By Chris Ash
20th Apr 2020 12:12

Hi

I have to agree with this. I'm a one man business working from home getting no help whatsoever.
Clients are expecting us to help in every way, most have no clue as to the time and effort in pulling together claims on an ever moving set of rules.
So yes, I'm now having to implement a small charge for each claim submitted, clients are free to do their own but I'll charge them if I have to handhold them through it.

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Replying to Marky:
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By Louise76
20th Apr 2020 12:24

Thank you, this is a really great and helpful response.
Good luck with it all!

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Replying to Marky:
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By Rgab1947
21st Apr 2020 11:39

A free service is valued at ..... nothing.

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Replying to Marky:
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By legerman
21st Apr 2020 11:48

Quote:

I know that I'm building up great goodwill with some clients but some would leave in a heart beat without blinking. I am now beginning to change my mind about not charging a fee, even if it's a token gesture of £25 per employer claim. Surely we must place even a small value on this amount of service. If you run weekly payroll and large payrolls then you have to surely charge something as the work load may be huge.

Whilst I'm not charging for this work, I don't have any issue with your comments. I made a decision not to charge for any help I was able to give during the current crisis, which was a was a choice I made. I'm fortunate enough to only have 7 to do, but would likely have had to charge if I had more than 10-15 say.

£25 a claim is not unreasonable and something I would be comfortable to charge had I wanted to, even more if they had a large number of employees. I don't think I would be able to justify £50 an employee or even £250 a claim though, but that's for others to decide.

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By SXGuy
20th Apr 2020 11:57

I haven't charged, but I only have a handful of claims to make.

I took the personal decision to not charge as I saw it as a way of hopefully having some sort of client retention.

I wouldn't criticise anyone who does wish to charge, if I had clients with 50+ employees I'm sure my opinion would change.

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By Marky
20th Apr 2020 13:14

The value isn't the claim completion, it's everything else in getting to that point. Do we place even a token monetary value on all our advice and work over the last six weeks. If we don't value ourselves even at ridiculous fee levels are we building up future problems with clients - "I thought that would have been free" and their respect.
In saying that, I'm still not sure if I'll charge. It's a difficult one.

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Replying to Marky:
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By Jimess
21st Apr 2020 09:54

Thank you for that, it is something I battle with constantly, getting the balance right when charging clients. I think it goes back to my training when my boss at the time used to tell us that if we don't charge for our time, clients will not respect the work that we do, the training we have gone through and the knowledge we have acquired, and may move on anyway for non monetary reasons. He always had a couple of really big lever arch files on his desk at meetings to give the client the message that a lot of work goes into the reports we prepared. I never did find out what was inside them! I am still on the fence about charging for the job retention scheme work. Even if the clients submit the claims themselves, they are still looking to us to interpret the guidance and calculate the claims, which is a huge amount of work. Most clients appreciate that, but there will be some that don't, and probably won't even care that we have worked late nights and early mornings to get this work done for them. It sort of feels like a mini January all over again - but this time it's going to come back again in 3-4 weeks depending when the next claims need to be made. As an ongoing service for 2-3 months, surely that has to be billable even at a notional amount to give a nod to the work and effort put in by everyone.

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Replying to Jimess:
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By Southwestbeancounter
21st Apr 2020 15:46

Quote:

Thank you for that, it is something I battle with constantly, getting the balance right when charging clients. I think it goes back to my training when my boss at the time used to tell us that if we don't charge for our time, clients will not respect the work that we do, the training we have gone through and the knowledge we have acquired, and may move on anyway for non monetary reasons. He always had a couple of really big lever arch files on his desk at meetings to give the client the message that a lot of work goes into the reports we prepared. I never did find out what was inside them! I am still on the fence about charging for the job retention scheme work. Even if the clients submit the claims themselves, they are still looking to us to interpret the guidance and calculate the claims, which is a huge amount of work. Most clients appreciate that, but there will be some that don't, and probably won't even care that we have worked late nights and early mornings to get this work done for them. It sort of feels like a mini January all over again - but this time it's going to come back again in 3-4 weeks depending when the next claims need to be made. As an ongoing service for 2-3 months, surely that has to be billable even at a notional amount to give a nod to the work and effort put in by everyone.


Agreed!
We have to charge something, unless our usual fee for preparation of the monthly payroll is large enough to absorb some of this extra time. Ours is modest so cannot absorb all of it and not only that, our payroll clients would not expect it to be free.
I agree it's like January all over again but at least most of January's work ended up being billable!
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Replying to Jimess:
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By sallyrichardson
22nd Apr 2020 16:01

I've reviewed all of our payrolls and have no-one who's variable pay in the same month last year is bigger than their average over the last 12 months / period they were employed - so for us May and June will be exactly the same as April, unless any of them come off of furlough (and I don't see that happening in May). So I'm hoping the thorough work we have done so far will pay off, and we are over the worst!

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By Connie1
21st Apr 2020 09:49

Yes, we’re charging. A one off fee to place an employee on furlough (effectively the calcs, especially if midway through a month, EA interaction etc), plus a fee per claim.
Both fees are pretty nominal amounts but they will go some way to covering wage costs.
All advice (within reason) given so far has been free and all clients have accepted the furlough and claim fees.

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By sallyrichardson
21st Apr 2020 09:55

We have decided to charge a "token fee" for the work but have made it absolutely clear that it only covers about 5% of the work we have had to do. We are submitting approx. 20 claims, and I have completed all of the work as most of my team are furloughed, but coming back now. It's a tough one but we have decided to do this, then not reduce our other fees. I have said that future claims at least until June will not have an additional charge as most businesses have furloughed everyone so the payroll will be quicker than usual.
The goodwill we have received back from our clients for this, and for the other support provided, will I think be worth my extra time. Never mind the fallout I would have to deal with if they did it themselves and screwed it up :-)

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By HeatherSimpson
21st Apr 2020 10:08

No charge in my very small practice for my very small clients. All calculations on the free Government support and all related queries done for free, trying to follow the spirit of the Government offer. Clients were all notified in the first two weeks that there would be no cost and to pick up the phone, even if they just needed a chat while they fight to survive.

But I also only have only a few payrolls and no staff or rent to pay, so in a very different position to some. It has been worth it, to be involved from day one, to help to steer clients away from inflated claims and keep them away from the scammers.

Estimating and notifying the self-employed payouts has taken the longest. However, I will probably run out of funds during the related claims and may be in the queue myself by then!

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Replying to HeatherSimpson:
7om
By Tom 7000
21st Apr 2020 12:01

the govt calculator doesnt work if you pay more than 80%. I wrote one in xl to cover our 500+ reclaims which all vary . You can have it if you want - no charge there :) [email protected]

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7om
By Tom 7000
21st Apr 2020 10:34

It seems everyone is split into 2 categories from here and other places.

1. I work from home I have a handful of clients it will take me a morning, I dont want to upset them I will do it for free.

2. We have an office and staff to pay, this will take ages we are charging. So far I have seen

a. 250 flat fee plus £20 per employee
b. £20 per employee, but March for free
c. £20 per employee
d £500 or free if you sign a contract saying you will remain my client for life ( Think that was a jest but my favourite)
d. £50 on here above

Its hard to say whats right but I went for £20 per employee and £10 for March if we do March and April together.

Might be a bit too cheap but had to think of something, with 500 possibly to do its maybe 250 hours work a month....so its gonna net down to about £40 an hour I am hoping... I think maybe it should be at least £30 with hindsight for 1st 2 and then 20 after that.

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blue sheep
By NH
21st Apr 2020 10:50

Of course everyone has to do what they think is best, there is no one size fits all.

Must admit I was shocked at the fixed rate per employee option, there are some payrolls that are extremely straight forward, couple of employees no complications, 10 minute job (i know I've done it) - to charge £100 or more to file that is ludicrous.

Bigger employers with more work involved I can understand.

All I know is that if I was a client, struggling to pay wages with no income and didn't have a clue where to begin but at the same time managing to carry on paying monthly fees and my accountant told me they would help but I would have to find a few hundred to see them right I would be looking for a new accountant at the earliest opportunity.

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Replying to NH:
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By Tom 7000
21st Apr 2020 10:59

I can see you point of view but...

No one values a free service.

Accountant A charges £1000/ hr.
Accountant B charges £240/ hr
Accountant C charges £40/hr
Accountantd D says he will do it for Free.

which is best?

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blue sheep
By NH
21st Apr 2020 11:02

Its not free though is it, they are still paying us the fixed monthly all inclusive rate

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7om
By Tom 7000
21st Apr 2020 11:22

It may need to go up to cover the extra work...

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By Matrix
21st Apr 2020 14:37

But by not charging a fee you are suggesting the monthly fees are too high and there is room/scope for other work.

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blue sheep
By NH
21st Apr 2020 14:47

No I'm afraid that is just incorrect and no client sees it that way - all it means is that in a time of unprecedented crisis we have committed to work for more hours and make slightly less profit than we normally would (as almost every other business in the country is doing btw), as the business owner I am happy to do that, I am able to do that because I have built up sufficient resources and have the capacity to work 7 days a week for a short while.
I appreciate not everyone is in the same situation.

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Replying to Tom 7000:
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By Rgab1947
21st Apr 2020 11:42

A - over the top but if he/she gets away with it why not
B - Fair value
C - May as well become a plumber (they dont do nothing for free)
D - That one will likely bite you in the a*se

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By Marky
21st Apr 2020 10:52

The consensus seems to be leaning towards a token fee on the latest replies. I am going to tell clients today that the March / April claims were free of charge, that's were the majority of the work was performed but the May and June claims are chargeable.
The actual monthly April payroll is now slightly more difficult to produce as well although Moneysoft are on the ball.

Onto the self employed claims next, not sure when I might consider doing some fee work.

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By johnny fartpants
21st Apr 2020 10:52

I am a sole practitioner with only a few clients but will be charging a nominal fee. I have told clients it will be £75+VAT for the advice given & making the claims through the portal (including May & June's claims). Otherwise I'll provide them with the information they need to submit their own claim.

I have 18 payrolls with furloughed staff claims to make. It will take me more than a full day to submit these once I have worked through the calculations. I'll have to make the same claims again in May & June, although I expect the process will be faster 2nd time around.

Hopefully this makes a decent compromise. By the time I have completed the June returns I'll have been working for a lower hourly rate than usual but at least it goes some way to compensate for the last few weeks which have seen many hours working for nothing giving advice on the new measures.

Interestingly ALL clients have seemed more than happy with the fee when faced with the task of doing this for themselves. Likewise I am feeling a lot better now that I'm not doing all this for free.

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Replying to johnny fartpants:
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By Rgab1947
21st Apr 2020 11:45

Quote:

Likewise I am feeling a lot better now that I'm not doing all this for free.

Exactly

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Morph
By kevinringer
21st Apr 2020 13:40

I've had to do considerable extra work this last month. I've spent whole days on the phone with clients telling them what the rules are and what they can and cannot do. Now I'm starting to make claims. I have lost a whole month's normal work which I'll still have to do. Clients do value my service (they wouldn't have contacted me if they did not) and have thanked me for the additional newsletters I've sent out. This is all additional work. There is a cost because I'm going to have to work extra to catch up on normal work (and we haven't started the SEISS claims yet) and may have to engage additional staff. So I will be charging. I'll have to take a view once all the CJRS claims are in.

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By North East Accountant
21st Apr 2020 14:31

If you want to spend longs hours working for nothing (and believe you me i have been there, done that and got the T shirts, short and pants on this) that is of course entirely up to you.

But all the free services in the world will be forgotten when the chips are really down.

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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
21st Apr 2020 14:33

On reflection, I've decided to charge just 80% of our normal fees.

I'm sure most clients will appreciate the underlying message, that we too need to eat.

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By Matrix
21st Apr 2020 14:41

I am charging a monthly fee for all claims except Director only payrolls because those ones really don’t have any income. Most of my other clients are keeping going, anyway they have agreed the fees and seem happy with the work done.

To calculate March was a complete pain, I don’t know why so many are not charging, although it would suggest the monthly fees are too high if there is room for this extra work.

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By Alisondodsworth
21st Apr 2020 15:57

I haven't. The only thing I am charging extra at the moment is to help in forecasts where clients are trying to raise loans. Some of these are taking days at a time and I can't afford not to charge. For everything else I'm just looking at it as my way of trying to help clients keep going in these hard times. I can't help people keep well but I can help their businesses stay well. The furlough claims are actually so easy to do - I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised!

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Replying to Alisondodsworth:
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By sallyrichardson
22nd Apr 2020 16:10

I agree about the claims- I had very low expectations but for once I think the HMRC have done incredibly well and I found it very easy to follow. Although looking at other threads on here lots of people seem to have not quite grasped it...!

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By Moonbeam
21st Apr 2020 17:06

No, and as you say, I've spent hours and hours on about 8 clients' payrolls. I will just charge them for running the payroll. None of them are going to emerge from this in good nick, so I'll have to take the pain as well.

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By Ken Howard
21st Apr 2020 19:33

For "package" clients paying a set monthly amount, where payroll is already included, we're not charging anything extra.

For "per hour" clients or where the monthly package doesn't include payroll, we're charging our usual "per hour" rate for the extra time we're spending re furlough.

Can't think of a fairer way. For the package ones, we're probably going to spend less time on other things due to lower trading activity, so a bit more on the furlough is swings & roundabouts.

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By seitler
21st Apr 2020 22:59

The clients are receiving what is effectively free money so why shouldn't we charge a small amount. There is value involved and they could do it themselves if they wished. I have said there is no need to pay us until they receive the funds

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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
22nd Apr 2020 16:19

Under the circumstances, charging 80% seems appropriate.

My old senior partner was asked by a client, an aviation mechanic, for a discount on his fees.
"I'll give you the same discount I get when I fly with your airline" was his reply.

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By Cheshire
22nd Apr 2020 09:35

If you do not value yourself enough to attach some kind of fee to any and all of the work that you do, then how can we expect clients to value what we do. Not charging is just storing up issues around fees for the future. So if you are discounting the fee just make sure that is made very clear. That at least sets future expectations, engenders some goodwill and may prevent the race to the bottom.

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