A culture of complacency? By Steve Roth

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A posting on Any Answers by Roger Evans started a lively debate over accountants' obligation to their clients and how that affects their relationship with the revenue. Roger suggested that the profession is too eager to maintain a cosy relationship with HMRC and unwilling to fight for clients' interests. In the main this was hotly disputed ' although there were some supporters for Roger's stance. So we asked community members. What is their obligation to clients and how does that square with the approach taken with the revenue?

According to AccountingWEB members it all comes down to the relationship between the accountant and the client and the perception on both sides. Some clients want no more than the books balanced, while others want planning to the nth degree. Of course you can'...

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01st Jul 2006 04:04

Missing the point
Steve - your piece misses the point. The person writing in was doing so from the client's perspective. Virtually all the responses you took were from the accoutnant's perspective. When you do that then it misses the point.

The original question arises out of a perception I've seen running true to form for more than 30 years.

It's hard to change that kind of perception when you're navel gazing.

I'll take issue with Emily for whom I have a lot of respect. Sorry - wrong. There are genuine problems with the Big Four in particular. Like illegal. That is rotten. compounded by a trade association - ICAEW - that does nothing substantial about it and which has abrogated its ethical responsibilities. That's for starters.

Then you have the fact that the majority of practitioners complain of being over burdened but do nothing to solve the problem when there are solutions available to tackle the very cost issues they face.

Practitioners won't want to hear that but that's what clients think. Work to change that and you end up with happy clients.

Client engagement letters are fine. But what do practitioners offer that allow clients to fulfil their part of the bargain? Most the time - nothing other than same old, same old.

When the current uptick in fees subsides then maybe practitioners will think again. But by then, it will be too little too late for those that are, as your article title implies, too complacent.

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