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Piece work questions

Just wondering how these things work

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Hi all

Let's say for whatever reason you expect you won't be able to do all your personal returns this year, you estimate you will miss the target by 2 a week.  Someone messages you and asks if you need any assistance (they must be psychic!) and you tell them you can pay them £x/hour £x/return.

I did continue this story but do you know what, I'll just ask!  If I were to approach firms offering to do a return here and there (I appreciate my 'hit' rate might be nil, it's just something I'm considering) and they were to pass me something to do, how exposed would I be?  As in, heaven forbid, say I misunderstand something/apply an old rule/lose the ability to add up/whatever, and the client suffers financial loss, am I about to get sued by the accountant or is it a case of their checks take that off me (and I get black-balled by them for obvious reasons!)?  Not trying to absolve myself (I always do my best of course), just curious where in the scale of self-emplyed 'my client my risk' and employed 'my employer's client, their risk' I am, as I have only ever been the latter. 

Happy to get PPI (and likely will regardless, as I'd also like a few of my own clients), but just curious which work will cost me my house if I err :)

Replies (8)

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
17th Sep 2021 09:01

its quite routine for many firms to use subbies. I do from time to time.

But I treat it like an employee doing the crunching, I still will give it a review my side and do the client side chat and take ownership of it, so your liability is to your wages. The number of review points my side is going to determine if you get used again. I have had a former head of a decent size firm working for me (they were a bit bored between jobs, ICAEW & CTA). I still reviewed it even though it was of course scrupulous.

I wouldn't over complicate a well used route by suggesting you take ownership etc. Some firms might be happy you speaking to the client, but I wouldn't be. Depends how personal/impersonal they area.

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
Quack
By Constantly Confused
17th Sep 2021 09:13

Thanks.

To be clear, I have no interest in involving myself with the client, my ideal scenario would be I do some returns for some places but all I do is up to review stage and I have no client contact.

A quiet life for me!

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Replying to Constantly Confused:
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
17th Sep 2021 10:27

Sounds like a standard subbie arrangement. You shouldn't have any liability or risk albeit your T&C's could spell that out. Its should be the head firm's risk, I think the worst that would happen is they don't pay your bill if the work sucks, but this seems pretty unlikely. From your posts I imagine your work is pretty decent.

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
Quack
By Constantly Confused
17th Sep 2021 12:14

Even I, self-deprecating as I am, would say the work I do is decent. I don't envisage anyone getting into issues from relying on my work, but you never know so I was just wanting to check how much trouble I could get myself into :)

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RLI
By lionofludesch
17th Sep 2021 10:02

The question would be, with whom are you contracting ?

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Replying to lionofludesch:
Quack
By Constantly Confused
17th Sep 2021 12:24

lionofludesch wrote:

The question would be, with whom are you contracting ?

That was I suppose an unasked part of my question - I assume I would always be engaged by the accountant (and would be very uncomfortable if they tried to say I was engaged by the client - unless they want me to have them entirely of course, which is a different matter), but wasn't sure if that was the way it worked as I've never done it from either side.

Just things I'm considering, while full SE might (would) be too much for me, some sort of hybrid part time employment with a SE element to fill the gaps might work...

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Replying to Constantly Confused:
RLI
By lionofludesch
17th Sep 2021 12:35

Constantly Confused wrote:

That was I suppose an unasked part of my question - I assume I would always be engaged by the accountant (and would be very uncomfortable if they tried to say I was engaged by the client - unless they want me to have them entirely of course, which is a different matter), but wasn't sure if that was the way it worked as I've never done it from either side.

If you were to be engaged by the client, you've got your AML procedure to consider.

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By Southwestbeancounter
17th Sep 2021 14:43

I started off that way over 30 years ago whilst I was building up my own client base.

I subbied for two firms in the next town and got paid an hourly rate. I didn't go as far as the tax return stage, I just prepared the draft accounts ready for the senior partner to discuss with the client and then they took it from there. Once a week or so I'd pick the work up and drop it back the following week.

It worked well and I was covered under their insurance. As I built up my own clients I gradually pulled away from this work and ironically as I got bigger I actually ended up having one of the guys I started working for being a subcontractor of mine!

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