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Who's decision, bookkeeping expense.

Bookkeeper or Director?

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Good evening all,

I just need a bit of advice in how I'm best dealing with expenses when doing the bookkeeping if possible please.

If i see a purchase which I would deem was for personal use (ie:trainers) but the Director states are for business purposes as he works many hours and goes through them quickly. I look at w&e with expenses and get flustered if it doesnt apply!


They are not steel toe boots or any kind that are designed for the purpose of his job, but yes he certainly does work long hours.


Is it worth me explaining why I don't agree? Should I just post to DLA or accept it is his decision and I am the processor of instruction and do as I am told, or allow 50% etc. Bik... List goes on, or at least I do, I have a habit of looking into things too much sometimes.

He also does charity marathons and intends to use these trainers for this  too, so I could be being unreasonable maybe?

I'm a little unsure of my position in this really. The accountant goes through everything at year end anyway but I don't want to 'hope' I've applied the correct tax treatment.

* edit : The business is a pub.

Thank you all for any advice.

Replies (7)

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By Anonymous.
04th Jul 2020 18:33

New To Accountancy wrote:

The accountant goes through everything at year end anyway but I don't want to 'hope' I've applied the correct tax treatment.

If you are the bookkeeper rather than the accountant who prepares the tax returns, it isn't really your problem per se. Do you speak to teh accountant? If you don't want to put your concerns in writing, you could have a discussion setting out your concerns. The accountant can then take up the matter if need be.

If you think that the client is making incorrect claims for tax relief, you need to consider your money laundering reporting responsibilities.

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Replying to Anonymous.:
By New To Accountancy
04th Jul 2020 18:45

Yes I do speak to the accountant but I always CC the client in and do not want to look as though I'm 'snitching' even if I word it in a non accusatory manner, I also don't want the accountant to respond with a 'of course its fine' email, and embarrass myself for questioning it.

Edit: with regards to MLR, I'd rather not allow it and inform the director - but then, what if it is fine and I've made the wrong decision to disallow it. Again, I look into things to much I think.
Thank you

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Replying to New To Accountancy:
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
04th Jul 2020 18:56

Don't EVER be embarrassed for getting stuff wrong. Its called learning. I 'learn' all the time.

Also doing a "can I just check on this I am not sure?" is exactly what you should be doing, its not snitching, its improving the quality of your work.

No accountant expects bookkeepers to get the tax right 100% of the time. Accountants DO expect you to ask about things you don't know, so long as its not something you can easily look up or every 5 minutes.

I should point out the fact you are worrying about all of this mean s you are probably doing a really good job. Its people who dont think about stuff who do a bad one!

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
By New To Accountancy
04th Jul 2020 19:21

Thank you so much, I feel much better. Yes I'll send a ' just checking' email and at least that way I've not got a list building for him ready for year end. I don't want him to feel he has to correct anything either that I should be doing, so this solves it.
Thank you once again

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
04th Jul 2020 18:51

As you note, you cant claim footwear unless its protective. Almost no clothing can be claimed, but often clients put it in as logically it seems OK, but you just cant. Its a common area of misconception.

The fact he does charity does not mean you can then fiddle your tax.

The question really to me is if the director is claiming due to him thinking he can? Or because he knows he cant and is trying it on?

Former needs education, later needs someone else to do his books. Its futile him *thinking* you have done one thing when in fact you have not, and its also I would suggest dishonest on your part to not tell them what you have done, even for very sound reasons.

Having said all of that its really up to you if you want to just keep your head down and get paid or feel good about your job. You are a bookkeeper not an accountant so by leaning into the world of tax you are doing things you don't have to. If the former just stick the lot in, say nothing. if the latter, raise the points, and if they insist say you will put it on the list for the accountant. If they are half decent they will spot it and pull it out anyhow.

You will also find if you challenge things regularly the clients will take the hint and stop putting dodgy stuff in. What I try to do is say to the client "Ok, pretend I am the tax inspector, why is this a business expense?" You soon find out what stands up!

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
By New To Accountancy
04th Jul 2020 19:16

Thank you for your help.

The charity marathons he does, he states has claimed the costs of clothing in the past as he has advertised his company on the kit and gained revenue as the marathon club members come back to the pub afterwards. The company logo is on all of their kits.

I'd always raise the matter over just doing my job, I'll learn nothing otherwise and I take it far too seriously. I've already prepared a list for the accountant, the accountant is the best I've come across so far so I've so much respect for him to just 'shove' the lot in. He has already offered me more work so I want to keep him happy.

I like the tax inspector comment, thanks for that.

Thank you for your advice.

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By frankfx
04th Jul 2020 19:25

Top marks to ideally should responses.

May help.

Do speak and engage with the accountant.

If he is good, he will welcome your feedback.

Mutual trust.

Though some accountants may want to play deaf....then finger point at a later time.

You point out some valid areas of doubt to the accountant.

Then find accountant disregards your concerns... what should you do?

Do you belong to a professional body?

I am sure that they can provide practical guidance.

You may want to check out your concerns with them and the action you should take.

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