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I need a moan

Ex employee

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I know it's my fault.

Turns out a previous employee was a liar and incredibly lazy, he made lots of guesses and assumed a lot more than he should have, now we are having to go through all his work with a fine toothed come and tell the clients the bad news.

I did watch over him carefully, but didn't think he would lie to my face to save himself 10 seconds of work.

Considering keeping my best clients and becoming a sole pract again.

head/wall

Oh and to add to the misery, one new client swore their bookkeeping was done by an experienced and qualified bookkeeper, the client did it themselves,  not a single thing reconciles a complete mess, the only positive is the TB balances. Oh and its all late..

I know there is always additional postings and reclasses to do, but would it be wrong of me to ask him to have another go and get back to me? It would take hours to correct it all, and the client is, shall we say  "very price sensitive". 

Another just wanted the year end accounts done, the bookkeeping wasnt too bad, however the payroll and VAT is very wrong.

Sometimes it pays to pay people who know what they are doing.

Think I need the weekend.  

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By GW
01st May 2019 17:18

Slim wrote:

Oh and to add to the misery, one new client swore their bookkeeping was done by an experienced and qualified bookkeeper, the client did it themselves,  not a single thing reconciles a complete mess, the only positive is the TB balances. Oh and its all late..

I know there is always additional postings and reclasses to do, but would it be wrong of me to ask him to have another go and get back to me? It would take hours to correct it all, and the client is, shall we say  "very price sensitive". 

Isn't the solution here to go back to the client pointing out the problems with the bookkeeping, giving examples and ask if they want to pay you to sort it out.

Thanks (2)
By DJKL
01st May 2019 17:50

This is why file reviews were invented.

A properly completed and cross referenced set of working papers does not take that long to check and tends to throw up fudges by staff, if not complete seniors/managers return it to the staff member with a few choice words.

When I did last work in practice in an actual firm with staff (and it was not a big firm, there were just two partners), I, as a manager, reviewed and signed files from junior staff, completed the front comments/ issues/ concerns etc sheets ( like split page audit query/exception sheets) and the partners then reviewed these front sheets before the accounts went out; reassurances from staff are all well and good but actually checking the working papers , or having a system where someone else competent has confirmed they have checked them (and ensuring they have been fully completed), is essential.

If you do not use proforma index sheets/lead schedule layout sheets/checklists you really need to introduce them to avoid a future repeat.

I suspect people in smaller firms are these days less likely to be this formal as fewer will have been brought up in an audit environment when correctly completing and checking files was rule one from day one. (well it was for me)

Thanks (4)
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01st May 2019 17:53

If you do it as the client expects without question you will be bitter.
If you ask the client to do it they will be bitter.
You need an interim position.

"Here are examples of errors found at first look. There may well be lots more of this type. Do you feel confident enough to go back and look at what you have done and correct them yourself? If not, would you like us to do it for you. I estimate the fee to be £1,000,000 (or your own figure) and we are prepared to offer that as a cap on this occasion."

A small problem becomes a bigger problem when the parties are reluctant to communicate.

Thanks (3)
01st May 2019 19:30

Supervision of staff is a steep learning curve if you're not used to this. Even honest staff won't always ask you before making a cods of things. I now know from years of employing people that you need to watch like a hawk and do lots of checking with juniors and keep training them up in the first few weeks/months.
If they are any good you can soon spot this and won't need to check so much as time goes on. But their work is your responsibility and you are complaining about attitude and lots of mistakes. So you clearly didn't keep a strong eye on them from the start, when you could have insisted they improved, or asked them to leave.
Much the same attitude is required towards clients. If they don't do what they promised to do you need to hold their feet to the fire - in the most charming way, of course.
Asking people to change their behaviour or correct mistakes is an art in itself. If you don't feel happy to do that then it's best just to rely on your own work and forget employing people.
And this is what I know - not always (sadly) what I do.

Thanks (5)
02nd May 2019 09:04

As other have said.

You cant just let employees "do" they need to be properly supervised, no matter their level. Its your name on the door.

my assistant "does" I "review and speak to the client"

This means the automatic quality of what we do is set at a fairly high bar just due to two pairs of eyes on it, not because either of us are gods gift to accounting.

Whilst you cant check everything, I do try and check everything over several files over the course of a week to ensure no systematic slips. Eg I found out last week my assistant had stopped checking Co. House address to what we have on our systems. I didn't spot it for some time as they don't often change.

As for the new client. Well if you quoted based on good record, and they are rubbish, either they pay more, or you hand them back. Simple. If you don't set that now you have a bad client for life.

Thanks (3)
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By Slim
02nd May 2019 12:13

I take the blame, and its a learning curve for me.

In that example, we had a check sheet which would have said "check co house address" and he ticked to say it had been checked without actually checking it.

He was suppose to be a senior, live and learn.

Got a call with the new clients this afternoon to break the good news to them.. That will be fun, it is so much easier if we handle everything, bookkeeping, payroll, vat etc

I suppose I should really stick to what we are engaged to do, but there are not just some complete howlers in there but all the howlers.

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04th May 2019 12:06

Clients lie too - a Partner in a Big Four picked up a new client who said all books were in good order, then sent me out to do some analysis of the business with a view to raising more finance. When I got there I found there was nothing other than a heap of invoices (incomplete), some cheque books and bank statements (also incomplete). On a quick review I also found that post dated cheques had been sent out to various suppliers, etc., and it was really an insolvency job. The Partner had taken the client's word on trust and had not checked what he had been told.

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04th May 2019 12:28

I first employed someone in 1984 and my experience of employees is generally good. I recently went to a dinner celebrating someone's continual employment for 30 years from when I appointed her at the age of 17 to the age of 47. My payroll peaked at around 300 before we split the company into two separate companies. However, at times people lie and you need systems to pick this up. One person I sacked claimed he had a baseball bat with my name on it hence it is not all moonlight and roses.

I still myself don't understand how the Patisserie Valerie situation was allowed to develop in the way it did.

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