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Possibly will lose client over fees

Want to know if fees are reasonable

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I have a client Ltd (one director) who have provided a lot of support going beyond call of duty. For example, constantly chasing them for information so they do not end up with penalties though its got a little better recently. Suddenly, they are demanding all the Company Accounts, Corporation Tax Returns and Self Assessment be filed as soon as possible. I thought this was strange as its normally me chasing ! Last week I didn't get paid via standing order. Now perhaps I am being cynical but they must be planning for a move which is disappointing not the fact they are moving but they are being a little sneaky and lack appreciation. Anyway, not that I need them as just have too much going on.

I don't think they are moving due to the service as I have been in touch with them about once a month (used to be weekly) and everything has been filed on time but recently got some grumbling over the price as they wanted talk to me about it though of course they are too busy

Basically for the following

Corporation Tax
CIS (two Subcontractors). Will be due a CIS refund as well
Payroll (two employees)
Accounting Software
1 Self Assessment
Accounting Software
Dividend Vouchers
Confirmation statement

Monthly Fees: £225 + VAT

Is this reasonable or exorbitant ?

Replies (14)

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By Wilson Philips
09th Oct 2019 23:30

It depends on where you are located but I wouldn’t be doing that lot for less than £4,000 per year.

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By JordanJamieson
09th Oct 2019 23:48

£225 a month doesn’t seem unreasonable - only £2,700 a year.

Accounts & CT - Minimum £1,250
CIS & Payroll - Minimum £150 a quarter - £600 a year
VAT - How longs a piece of string? Is this preparing the VAT from scratch ie bookkeeping, then could get expensive. If it’s minimal work and an overview then minimum £150 a quarter. £600 a year
Self assessment - Depending on complexity, but minimum £150

The rest of the items you mention, we normally roll into the accounts fee.

I would quote an absolute minimum of £2,600 - that’s assuming minimal work and they are a decent client (which they sound like they are not). It could easily turn into £3/4K +

I wouldn’t be too worried about your fee levels - there is always someone out there willing to work for £20 an hour... but you don’t really want the clients that are attracted to those people anyway!

Best of luck!

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By Moonbeam
10th Oct 2019 08:25

Your fee levels sound about right, but it's difficult to say how much I would charge for this client. So much depends on the time taken each month. CIS is a right old pain, and for more than 3 subbies it can take an hour to do the return, depending on the setup. Then all the chasing should be factored in.
But frankly you aren't in love with this client, just suffering the understandable feeling of loss that we all get when a client appears to be leaving. Tell yourself that will give you room for a much better client and stop worrying.
My fees are higher than most of my rivals round here, but I know I give a much better service, and more importantly, clients stay. I am sure you would say the same. Don't benchmark yourself against poor quality rivals.

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By Bob Loblaw
10th Oct 2019 09:39

As others have said your location, how complex their affairs are, etc, etc, have to be taken into account but it seems reasonable enough IMO.

They'll have been provided with a quote that undercuts yours by someone who either severely overestimates their capabilities or underestimates the amount of work that's involved. Or by an absolute shyster who is intending to cut corners.

The fact he's kicked up a stink but now won't discuss it speaks volumes.

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Replying to Bob Loblaw:
By GlobalTax
10th Oct 2019 11:31

Affairs are simple only a few invoices a month turnover around 150K and since I have trained them with the book-keeping its a lot easier.

Location is the issue where I am based as there are around 100 Accountants within a 4 mile radius. Fees seems to be falling and those in CIS are little more price sensitive.

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By bernard michael
10th Oct 2019 09:54

Do the STO's they've paid cover all your fees for the work they are asking to be filed? If not don't file until your total fees are paid up to date

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10th Oct 2019 09:56

Your fees look perfectly reasonable. If the client asks for a cut, refuse, and let them go elsewhere.

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By frankfx
10th Oct 2019 11:31

How do your happy clients view your fees. That I feel is the ideal forum for reliable feedback.

I recall a partner expressing disappointment when a good client announced he was appointing another firm.

Partner " you do not seem to appreciate what we have done"

Client " oh but I do show appreciation. I pay your fees promptly and without question "

In your case you appear to have a PITA client.

Such clients are not even worthy of your time seeking advice on AWEB.

Why not Celebrate when your disengagement letter is dispatched.
That will deliver you with immeasurable delight!!

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By Montrose
10th Oct 2019 13:31

Reasonable. Tell them that you will do no more work till you are paid. On time records, are you ahead or behind he POA's

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By SouthCoastAcc
10th Oct 2019 16:12

Need more info but I'd probably be around the £150 a month mark, if a pain then maybe £180.

I've been told I'm cheap, so you are probably about right, there will always be someone who undercuts you.

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blue sheep
15th Oct 2019 10:21

As others have said depends on a number of things but that is certainly a bit more than we would charge but not exorbitant, mind you I see you have said they do their own book-keeping so yes if that book-keeping is neat it sounds a lot to me, I would have said around the £150 mark

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By Tom 7000
15th Oct 2019 11:23

About right.
Theres always someone more expensive and cheaper

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By indomitable
15th Oct 2019 11:34

Seems about right to me, I would have thought around £2,500 to £2,700 pus VAT per annum as long as you are not doing any bookkeeping.

I would certainly chase them for the unpaid standing order and stick to your pricing it's certainly not exorbitant.

As has been said there are always people willing to do this for a lot less, best to let them go.

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By Mikec1965
16th Oct 2019 15:49

When considering the fee, I also incorporate the level of risk I am exposed to. However, I think what you are describing isn't necessarily a client preparing to move, but one prepared to try and pressure you into a reduced fee.

Your fee is similar to the fee I would charge, and reading some of the replies you have received we may both be undercharging! You must be confident in yourself. You have spent a long time acquiring the knowledge and skills that make you who you are, and that holds value. I think we all struggle with self-esteem when comparing it to the services we provide, and the natural response is to undervalue ourselves.

If the client feels that your fees are too high, he will always find someone cheaper, but who may not give him the value of service that you give him. That's the nature of our profession, I'm afraid. If he is looking around, he may also find out that you are good value and choose to stay.

If you believe that you are providing value to the client then you probably are! And there is an outside possibility that the client is also trying to get on top of the things that you normally need to chase him for and there is nothing sinister going on. Perhaps you should remind him of your expectations of him as well as what he can expect from you?

Do you renew your Letter of Engagement annually?

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