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Time to say goodbye to Mr Bloggs

Have you had one of these

I could list the things that drive me wild about Mr Bloggs, who is basically a decent person, but there are so many. I've had that nagging feeling it's time to say goodbye for a long time and ignored it.

Mr B asks me how to do things and then decides his is a better method (which carefully ignores HMRC's requirements), and doesn't consider HMRC deadlines apply to him. The final straw today was yet another question about something I've answered many times, and it's time to face the music. I tell myself doing nothing will send me crackers (or more insane than I already am).

To cheer me up, who's been your most irritating client to date, and why? My Mr Bloggs wins the prize for me by a long chalk.
 

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12th Oct 2018 11:54

There are so so many of them.

Dump em and enjoy your freedom!

I try not to dwell on them

My current one edging out of the door for asking the most tedious questions about the smallest of details. For several years she has demanded a full reconciliation from her workings to the final numbers with every minor category change or addition included, but she has out done herself this year by repeatedly disputing our treatment of the prepaid rents on her two flat as we did a "its about half a month" and she wants it to the pigging day. I really cant be arsed to reissue the return. I am beginning to wish I had as I get daily essays quoting all sorts of stuff she has clearly spend hours researching in the internet, and I keep saying various of "I note your concern, but its not material and it will pop up next time around." I don't say, "albeit some other mug will be filing it". All for about £12 of tax which she will pay next year anyhow.

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12th Oct 2018 12:02

See Accountant A reply for helpful posts on impossible clients!

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12th Oct 2018 12:21

I've had a few Mr B's in my time (no Mrs B's) but my worse two clients were both bullies.

The first was the pompous MD/founder of a large audit client who used to tell me how much he was respected by his staff, which was a euphemism for "feared by". He also told me about his investments in the USA and the barn at home converted to an air conditioned wine store and how they were none of HMRC's business.

Following an audit where he had refused to answer queries from my audit manager I called him and he started by saying that if "that woman" returned next year, he'd lock her out, to which I said that he wouldn't have to as none of us would be there.

The other was a woman and her company who, despite divorce many years before, had never managed to rid of herself of her bumptious ex-husband who remained a director.

For years they attended meetings and I watched her cower by his side as he told me about all the tax dodges she and I could engineer. This ended with him bullying a female colleague and it gave me great delight to call him and tell him what I thought of him.

In anger he shouted that, in his X decades in business, he'd never been sacked by a professional. I thanked him for calling me professional and told him there was a first time for anything.

Watching this the other day reminded me of him:
https://twitter.com/_SJPeace_/status/1050245114638098432

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12th Oct 2018 23:16

In the film, Boiler Room, who do they tell you NOT to pitch?

You don't pitch the ?????

It is true. They are a nightmare.

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By SXGuy
13th Oct 2018 08:34

New client Friday, needed to tell me right from the start he was a stotnch left wing socialist who thinks everyone should be paying more towards the state.

To which I said, fair enough shall we agree on your tax being 20k then? And I'll just work everything else backwards from that.

Clearly I was joking, but he kinda got my point.

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13th Oct 2018 09:07

Oh gosh where to start. The ones who keep asking whether this or that is allowable for tax (it usually isn’t), who don’t imagine for one minute that I might try to maximise their tax efficiency for them and who obviously can’t be bothered to read the links I send them. The ones who have a mate who says they would save tax if..... The ones who haven’t even got the most tenuous grasp of the difference between a balance sheet item and an expense. The ones who expect me to train them in all aspects of using cloud software (MTD here we come) without ever clicking on the ? button. And these are all, like you say, basically decent people, so I grin and bear it.

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By Tornado
13th Oct 2018 10:11

After 25 years, he still tells me things like 'I phoned two tax specialists and they said I ought to be doing this'

I told him that this was akin to taking advice from the bloke down the pub as the people he phoned knew absolutely nothing about him, and would obviously tell him something to encourage him to engage their services.

After telling him that if he no longer trusted my judgement he should find another tax adviser, he sticks around as he knows that no one else will put up with him.

The time to part, however, is getting very near now. The only compensation is that because of his attitude and time wasting, he pays more than other clients for my service. One advantage of charging by the hour.

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13th Oct 2018 11:15

I consider myself a spoilt brat having heard what others are putting up with.
The idea of charging more for someone you're prepared to carry on with but who drives you wild is a good one.

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to Moonbeam
15th Oct 2018 08:35

I used to have a client (who sadly died very young) who would ring up at any time of day (even night) and especially at weekends. I said fine but it's double rates at weekends. The weekend calls stopped.

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14th Oct 2018 22:33

I've got a couple who act ever so surprised when I remind them that their corporation tax is due at the end of the month. This is following on from a discussion about it when the accounts were finalised 6 months previously and me sending them an email containing the tax return, tax comp, and stating the amount due, due date, ref number and instructions how to pay it.

I have a female client who incorporated almost 2 years ago. Periodically, she sits down with a mortgage advisor to look at options available as she is a private tenant wanting a mortgage. No matter how many times I tell her that her income consists of a salary and dividends, she still asks "but what's me profit for this tax year?" and "when does the year go up to, it confuses me, is it April or January?".

A client who, every year when we do the accounts says...
Client: can't I put some wages down for my wife.
Me: she's a higher rate taxpayer working full time so there'd be no advantage
Client: well what about my daughter?
Me: what does she do in the business?
Client: nothing, she's only 6 but can't I just put it through so "we" can use her tax allowances?
Me: no, blah blah blah
Client: what about food, can I claim for that?
Me:. Yawn

Cients who say "I've done most of it for you anyway, so it won't take you long, there's hardly anything there".

Gotta love em!

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to Manchester_man
15th Oct 2018 08:22

“Cients who say "I've done most of it for you anyway, so it won't take you long, there's hardly anything there".”

That’s a regular, especially for potential clients looking for a fixed quote.

Best question I’ve ever had “I’ve a dormant company. How do I make it active”. Answer “do something”.

Most groaning question:
Near the end of a 2.5hr meeting, in which we’d gone through every (about 1,000) line entry on a £2m event budget, which included which items had been accrued so they appeared in the accounts, the stats & CT600 to discuss the reserves available to distribute, 1 of the 2 directors said “remind me, what are the accounts again?” He had 2 packs of paper in front of him, 1 said ‘BUDGET’, the other ‘ACCOUNTS’.

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to atleastisoundknowledgable...
16th Oct 2018 09:03

Or the dormant company that only has a few transactions.

So its not dormant then?

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15th Oct 2018 21:47

Today-
Client: the tax return you’ve sent me is wrong.
Me: in what respect?
Client: i has more salary than that
Me: are you getting the salary/dividends thing mixed up again?
Client: no, I definitely mean salary
Me: we do your payroll, so we know what the salary is
Client: what about my other job
Me: what other job?

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to atleastisoundknowledgable...
16th Oct 2018 08:20

Ah well if the HMRC APIs worked you would have found that other job when you did a check. Just saying.

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to WhiteRose
16th Oct 2018 08:25

I think your third word is the poignant one.

I can’t be the only person who doesn’t bother with it as it’s broken/wrong more often than working/correct?!

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16th Oct 2018 10:46

The humourless ones who sit too long . . . . . and with whom anything approaching a chat is impossible.
The whingers.
The pernickety to the point of O.C.D..
The unpleasant.
The know-alls.
The ones with the bright ideas which, invariably, are the worst thing to do rather than the best.
Worst of all, maybe, the stoooopid!

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to lh3f9764bg1g
23rd Oct 2018 11:30

Who does that leave???

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16th Oct 2018 13:16

Life's too short to entertain such client's. Hopefully you can sniff them out at the first meeting and if you are already lumbered with them for one reason or another, drop em.

Not quite on the same line but I remember an evening meeting some years ago with a potential client whose paperwork was a nightmare and a not particularly nice chap either but went through with it due to a recommendation from an existing client. After an hour or so the bells were ringing and they said 'walk away, no run.....!' Said I could not help but quoted a figure (as a guideline for him - trying to be at least a little bit helpful). I quoted £1500 for a small limited company, he said I will double it (after I said thanks but no thanks) and went home that night a very happy man.

My biggest issue remains with HMRC, not the under manned staff, but the system. Not fit for purpose. MTD will of course remedy all of that........

'Where do I sign?'

'The same place you have been for the last twenty years....'

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23rd Oct 2018 11:41

"I've spoken to x, who says they're paying / I should be paying far less tax than that"
"I've calculated my tax and your calculation is wrong" (normally payments on account or similar)
"I just take all of the money that comes in from customers out to my personal account because it's my money" (and so don't have enough for your fees / CT / IT).
"How come I have to pay all this tax when Starbucks don't?"
"How can I pay myself £42k and not pay any tax"
There also ought to be an exam, like a driving test, for being a company director. I completely accept that someone might be excellent at whatever manual job it is that they've been doing since they left school but that doesn't mean they should be let loose with running any business, never mind a company!

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