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How do you deal with lazy clients

clients who do not provide paperwork

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I'm interested to learn how most of you deal with clients who are always too lazy to provide complete information for self assessment. They have provided mortgage statetments for half the year, bank statements with many of the months missing, and missing expenses etc.

I waste a lot of times, chasing for these information and explaining to them why it is important to include accurate and complete fiqures when submitting their tax return. It is their opinion that I should use whatever information they've provide,  to get the return out of the way.  I'm uncomfortable doing this because of possible comeback from HMRC.

How do you deal with such clients ? Am I being unreasonably too stricts with my requests or would you do the same

Replies (26)

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By Wanderer
24th Jan 2022 21:09

Just keep batting it back until they supply what you require.

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Replying to Wanderer:
RLI
By lionofludesch
25th Jan 2022 06:34

Wanderer wrote:

Just keep batting it back until they supply what you require.

Yeah - I'd do that. And, if I got fed up with them, send a letter saying that another accountant might be better placed to deal with their particular requirements.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
By williams lester accountants
25th Jan 2022 10:32

+1

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By rmillaree
24th Jan 2022 21:20

why does treat them mean, keep them keen spring to mind - hmmm

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By Calculatorboy
24th Jan 2022 23:17

1 write them a polite disengagement letter and thank them for engaging me in the past ( sarcasm)

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ghm
By TaxTeddy
25th Jan 2022 08:55

It's an interesting point and one which seems to have become worse this year than in earlier years. I find that if I can deal with all of the data in "one hit" I am much more efficient in preparing the tax return and my thought process is much clearer. But returning time and again to the working papers (particularly as I only have on-screen notes and calculations) just seems so much more difficult. I don't know, maybe it's my age.

What I will say is that as I have been going through the tax return process this year I have been producing a 1-2-3 grading of clients and some hard questions are about to be asked during February - March.

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Replying to TaxTeddy:
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By rmillaree
25th Jan 2022 09:24

"But returning time and again to the working papers (particularly as I only have on-screen notes and calculations) just seems so much more difficult. I don't know, maybe it's my age."

Are you 51 1/2 ? - i feel exactly the same

Must admit i am looking forward to next month - semi clean year with no "new nightmares" like seiss/furlough/brexit/reverse charge cis/mtd vat /vat ioss/cgt 30 day reporting / transition to cloud software with staff still learning - blah . My excuses for not being on the ball from next month are nil :)

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Replying to TaxTeddy:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
25th Jan 2022 10:53

All work that is stop start takes longer, every time you have to reopen the records, recap where you had got to, you burn time.

The secret, easier said than done, is check records when they arrive, chase at that point and do not work on a case until everything is in hand.

Of course this is easier said than done but will likely result in fewer hours spent on the case.

it is why, when I first started, our office manager checked all books etc arriving and chased missing data prior to issuing the job to one of us.

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Replying to DJKL:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
25th Jan 2022 12:31

DJKL wrote:

it is why, when I first started, our office manager checked all books etc arriving and chased missing data prior to issuing the job to one of us.

We too had an office manager who'd list everything meticulously and carefully log and store each job in its own box in his walk-in his cupboard.

Terrific sport watching him flap whenever a box went missing, which mysteriously they often did ;-)

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Replying to DJKL:
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By Hugo Fair
25th Jan 2022 14:06

"All work that is stop start takes longer, every time you have to reopen the records, recap where you had got to, you burn time" ... wholeheartedly agree and this applies to everything.

One of the first improvements my wife made to my life was when she pointed out that opening the mail over breakfast (remember those days) and then putting the contents in a pile (virtual in-tray) for later investigation ... was a waste of effort!

Of course this has no relevance to MTD!

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Replying to Hugo Fair:
RLI
By lionofludesch
25th Jan 2022 14:31

Hugo Fair wrote:

"All work that is stop start takes longer, every time you have to reopen the records, recap where you had got to, you burn time" ... wholeheartedly agree and this applies to everything.

One of the first improvements my wife made to my life was when she pointed out that opening the mail over breakfast (remember those days) and then putting the contents in a pile (virtual in-tray) for later investigation ... was a waste of effort!

Of course this has no relevance to MTD!

Jeez - what time do you have breakfast? Our post rarely arrives before dinner time.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
25th Jan 2022 15:28

At least you can have breakfast at midday, you are retired.

One of the best meals one can ever have is that endless brunch that starts circa 11.00 and meanders on for a couple of hours with an endless supply of orange juice, coffee/tea and toast (with butter and marmalade)

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Replying to DJKL:
RLI
By lionofludesch
25th Jan 2022 15:44

DJKL wrote:

At least you can have breakfast at midday, you are retired.

Naw - I never lig in after 7.30.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
25th Jan 2022 17:06

I do- my sleep pattern is now 6 hours a night for five or six nights then a 10 hour sleep to refresh the batteries once a week.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By Hugo Fair
25th Jan 2022 17:07

Breakfast was 7:30 sharp - and woe betide the postie if my mail wasn't ready to accompany it. This was the early '80s.

Of course my parents rued the day when deliveries were cut to one per day ... and used to bang on about sending invites in the morning to dinner that evening - and getting answers in time to change their order with the local butcher!

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Replying to Hugo Fair:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
25th Jan 2022 15:18

You should have sorted in using the toast rack.

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Replying to DJKL:
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By Hugo Fair
25th Jan 2022 16:59

Spot on.
Although she used the concept of 'efficiency' to grab my attention (and turned out to be quite correct in doing so) ... I think her underlying gripe was the assorted mail (in not very neat 'category' piles) that encumbered the table-top until I got around to dealing with them - not always on the same day!

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Replying to TaxTeddy:
Slim
By Slim
25th Jan 2022 13:44

I got roasted by a client last week as I hadn't part prepared his tax return, I was waiting on some final information before I did and told him so. He was somewhat rude but as I was taken aback didn't defend myself. Sigh.

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Scooby
By gainsborough
25th Jan 2022 09:19

Same here Teddy - I do find that this year has been worse. Some clients sending some stuff in August and then drip-feeding or sending duplicate info over the next few months.

For the worst offenders, I emailed a bullet-point list of missing info and then just strike through on the email what they have sent and bounce it back to them.

Post-31st January, I will put fees up for the ones I want to keep and disengage those who are taking too much time.

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Replying to gainsborough:
ALISK
By atleastisoundknowledgable...
25th Jan 2022 09:31

gainsborough wrote:

For the worst offenders, I emailed a bullet-point list of missing info and then just strike through on the email what they have sent and bounce it back to them.

I do this. Depressing the amount of times I see in the email that the original was sent 3+ months ago

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Replying to atleastisoundknowledgable...:
Scooby
By gainsborough
26th Jan 2022 14:13

So true and even more so when it's the same *!#*!# info that's been requested and sent for the last 10 years!

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
25th Jan 2022 09:25

There is a sharp correlation between those who submit data to you in in April and those who think its fine mid January and the completeness of that work.

Choose your clients wisely.

Always sack some bad clients every year. You will be able to replace them with twice that number of good ones the following. We are down to a few "slightly annoying" as the shockers are long gone, but a few have tipped me over this year around the repayment of the grants who might get the bullet in Feb.

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By bernard michael
25th Jan 2022 09:26

I send an e-mail detailing the missing information and saying that I can't complete and file until I have it.
HMRC didn't help by moving the penalty goal posts yet again as the clients think they have an extra month to do nothing

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By Truthsayer
25th Jan 2022 12:04

Just carry on insisting on the full information. The client might then push back by saying they have lost it, or it is too difficult etc, in which case stick to your guns and say that such chasing and delay increases the time that needs to be spent, and this will have an effect on future years' fees. Either the client will get the information or go elsewhere, so you win both ways.

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Glenn Martin
By Glenn Martin
25th Jan 2022 16:17

Your firm your rules.

Most firms now work on monthly fees, do most work monthly and so the bottle neck from SA season ruins you work flow and effects how well you can serve clients who are buying monthly services from you. Do you want to lose clients who pay £1000 per month for finance function by running after £200 tax return jobs that need 6 chases and bring the papers in 29.01.

Either tolerate them, charge them loads or get rid.

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Replying to Glennzy:
RLI
By lionofludesch
25th Jan 2022 17:28

Glennzy wrote:

Your firm your rules.

You're right, Glennzy.

Don't let clients dictate the terms.

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