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Fees - those not on SO or DD

Payment issues

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As this Covid saga continues, we're finding that clients who don't pay by standing order/Direct debit, or where additional fees are charged - specifically Furlough claims, other grant claims etc are dragging their heels. We know what some of these clients have little income at the moment, and this is where my moral dilema falls...

Do you chase these debts given we know the businesses are currently shut ( albeit some have Furlough and Closure grants), but still financially struggling?

We have had to invest a lot more in staff, and my time to get the work done, but really beginning to feel some clients are taking the poverbial!

We have done some work pro bono, but obviously cannot run our own business as a charity.

How are dealing with these situations?

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By pauld
02nd Feb 2021 16:08

If they have agreed for you to do the work then they should be chased, hence the importance of agreeing fees for work in advance rather than doing extra bits to help and then wondering how much to charge, which results in the water becoming murky.

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By murphy1
02nd Feb 2021 16:13

Yes, we stated all fees prior to any work, and only did claims when we had replies accepting this

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By SXGuy
02nd Feb 2021 16:10

I have had one similar, all you can do is say you apreciate their position but you can't work for free, so they need to either come to an agreement or you have no choice but to disengage.

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Replying to SXGuy:
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By murphy1
02nd Feb 2021 16:14

Thanks. I guess my concern is that we, accountancy firms generally, could take a hit if and when clients go under as a result of Covid

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By SXGuy
02nd Feb 2021 17:02

That's also my concern. And the 20 or so black cabbies I have haven't worked since last March so the chance of getting their fees this year is slim to none.

But at the same time, if we lose fees it's gonna happen regardless, so in my view I won't be working for free to end up losing it all anyway.

I don't know what the answer is, I guess you need to decide whether there's any chance that continuing to help will lead to them getting back to work and paying you.

One thing I will be doing this year is trying to replace those with businesses that are still earning.

Replaced a few but not enough to cover all of them.

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Mark Lee 2017
By Mark Lee
19th Feb 2021 14:39

I'm sure it's not easy to make the right choices between being commercial and being caring. What is crucial to keep in mind is who is your most important client. And the answer is....

....YOU.

If your practice struggles you won't be able to look after any of your clients or your family. So I would encourage you to balance the need for care with the need to be commercial and to ensure you remain solvent and able to practice.

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