Twenty signs you’re a bad accountant

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Mark Lee shares a personal view of issues and qualities that may be holding you back.

Let us be clear before I get into this list. It’s just my view. It’s not about efficiency vs inefficiency, nor about old-style vs new-style and it’s certainly not about qualified vs unqualified.

You may think some of the qualities listed below are obvious – but you may also be surprised how easy it is to fall into the related traps. Or you may disagree of course. In which case, by all means add your comments and we can discuss them.

Equally, if you think I have missed anything from the list, please add that too.

So, in my opinion, what do bad accountants do?

1 - They misrepresent their qualifications

Why should anyone trust an accountant who claims to be qualified when they are not, or who claims to be a member of a body to which they do not belong.

What about those who claim that membership of a particular group or body constitutes a qualification even though membership does not depend on a period of study or exams?

2 - They claim to have more experience than they do

Again this speaks to the issue of trust. There is a big difference, in my mind, between those accountants who offer a wide range of services knowing that they will outsource some work, compared with those who pretend to be more experienced than they are.

Some accountants may feel insecure about their limited experience; others have the confidence to be open, honest and truthful.

3 - They are unaware of what they don’t know

This is more a consequence of ‘unconscious incompetence’. If an accountant doesn’t know what they don’t know, they won’t know when to stop and get a second opinion before telling a client what to do or when predicting the outcome of their dispute with HMRC.

This is dangerous and often leads to protracted negotiations with the accountant trying to resolve things the way they predicted even though a specialist would have known better from the outset.

How does anyone know what they don’t know? It’s more a question of getting a good balance between:

(a)        Confidence that we have a good broad range of knowledge on a specific topic, and keeping uptodate so we can expect to be aware of recent changes, and

(b)        Simply assuming that we know everything and failing to attempt to keep up-to-speed on recent developments

4 - They wing it

There’s a difference between following your gut and guessing how to resolve a client’s issue. Past experiences will invariably impact the advice that accountants give clients. The mistake comes when an accountant recognises that their experiences to date are insufficient but that they will extrapolate and give definitive advice anyway, without checking up first and without any caveats.

5 - They condone tax evasion

This may be more challenging than it seems. It includes knowingly allowing clients to exclude cash takings from their books and to claim tax relief for non-business related (personal) expenditure.

6 - They falsify documents

This came up a lot when I used to present talks on ‘How to avoid professional negligence claims (or worse)’. I outlined some of the implications of the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981.

Among the offences this Act addresses is making a false instrument (eg a document) with the objective of inducing a third party (eg HMRC) to accept it is genuine so that they will do something (or not do something) to their own or to somebody else’s prejudice.

This would include, for example, backdating the minutes of client company Board Meetings to ‘evidence’ the authority for dividends already paid.

7 - They fail to anticipate the advice their clients require

This is a simple client service issue. I’m not suggesting that all accountants need to know everything about all their clients. This is more about recognising that clients do not always know what they need to ask for advice about. Auto-enrolment would be a topical example.

8 - They do not keep up-to-date

There is no excuse for this now, if ever there was. Much of what accountants need to keep up-to-date is now available by way of email updates, websites like AccountingWeb, online newsletters as well as the more conventional training course providers who offer webinars as an option alongside classroom style lectures and updates.

9 - They miss deadlines


10 - They ignore clients

Almost every practice has at least a few old clients who pay a little and expect a lot. It may be tempting to ignore them when they get in touch, especially when the accountant doubts their ability to secure adequate recompense for this latest enquiry. Better to be honest though and avoid getting a bad reputation. 

11 - They spend more time with prospective clients than with paying clients

Perhaps this is simply a case of poor practice. I’m talking about accountants who make plenty of time to meet with and even give advice to prospects, but who rarely have time to meet existing clients – at least not without wanting to charge for this.

The reason this is on my ‘bad signs’ list is because it implies that the accountant is more focused on growing their practice than on giving a good service to their existing clients. There needs to be a reasonable balance in my view.

12 - They boost their time-based fees by being inefficient

Another issue of trust. The facility for accountants to charge more when they are inefficient is one reason why so many clients try to avoid paying time-based fees. Sometimes the accountant may not even be aware they are inefficient; after all there is no incentive to find faster ways to do things when paid by the hour.

13 - They do not clarify the scope of the work they will do

Client service again. Often there will be a perception gap as between what the client expects and what the accountant is willing to do – without increasing the fees.

Even worse are those accountants who undertake the extra work but do not raise the question of additional fees until afterwards.

14 - They reveal a lack of attention to detail

When I was training at Touche Ross in the early 1980s I recall one partner returning to me a letter I had drafted and sent through for signature. He had spotted that the postcode on the envelope was different to that on the letter. I have always remembered the admonishment.

Lack of attention to how we address letters implies a general lack of attention to our work which reduces our credibility and that of our advice.

15 - They blame HMRC to cover-up their own inefficiencies

Another trust issue. Bad accountants have such low esteem that they are unable to admit when they have made a mistake. It’s all too easy and lazy to blame HMRC even when the accountant is the one in the wrong.

16 - They fail to follow up

One of the complaints I often hear is that an accountant hasn’t followed up after sending papers to HMRC (or any third party). They just sit and wait and do not keep the client informed as to what they are doing.

A similar scenario arises when the accountant hasn’t responded to a client’s query or request for action.

17 - They do not keep their promises

It’s easy to lose a client’s trust. Simply promise to do something and then fail to keep your word.  That’s true of all human relationships, of course.

18 - They have insufficient back up and business continuity plans

Whether an accountant relies on the cloud, computer servers in their office or a hosted solution it is crucial they have adequate back up processes in place. Beyond this is the need for the accountant to have a plan to enable them to access all client data etc in the event that physical files, the primary software or online storage facilities cease to be available.

19 - They are indiscreet – whether face to face or online

There is no excuse for breaching client confidentiality, however tempting it may be sometimes. Doing so also breaches one of the five ethical principles that drive the work of most qualified accountants in the UK.

20 - They work entirely alone

I worry about accountants who have no colleagues, back-up, support, or readily accessible facility to provide any of this when needed. Working entirely alone with little day to day communication beyond clients and HMRC is likely to cause accountants to become quite blinkered, dogmatic and insular. Indeed such an approach could well lead to many of the other qualities listed above.


Bad accountants invariably have or generate a bad reputation. I wouldn’t care but for the impact this has on the rest of the profession.

Mark Lee is consultant practice editor of AccountingWEB. He also facilitates The Inner Circle group for accountants, entertains as a conference speaker and is chairman of the Tax Advice Network of independent tax specialists providing help and support to smaller practices.

Mark Lee will be speaking at this year’s Practice Excellence Conference on 6 November at Dexter House in London.

About Mark Lee

Mark Lee 2017

These days Mark Lee focuses his business actiities on  two key activities:

1 - He loves being engaged to speak on stage to audiences of accountants in all size of firms. His latest keynopte talk is: The rise of Robo-Accountants - and how to beat them. He is an accountancy focused speaker, futurist and influencer with a positive reputation for entertaining, engaging and enthusing his audiences.

2 - He loves supporting savvy sole practitioners who want more out of their practice.  More clients, more money, more time, more satisfaction - or everything!

An accountant by profession, Mark moved away from the provision of professional advice in 2006.   He is now a professional speaker, mentor, author and debunker.

Mark is passionate about helping accountants generally so is a keen blogger and commentator in the accounting and tax press. He has been consultant practice editor of AccountingWEB and has written hudnreds of articles here that have been viewed over a million times.

Check out how he could help you here:

Mark no longer gives tax advice despite being a past Chairman of the Chartered Accountants’ Tax Faculty. He is however Chairman of the Tax Advice Network - the UK's highest ranked lead generation website for tax advisers and accountants. The network also publishes a weekly practical tax update for accountants in general practice and full tax support, on demand too.  You can also use it as a lead generation resource for local people seeking tax advice from an accountant.

Mark has extensive network reach through his blog, talks, social media activity, articles and his regular 'Magic of Success' tips and tricks email that goes to thousands of accountants every week.


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25th Sep 2014 12:28


I'll get my coat!!!

Thanks (11)
25th Sep 2014 12:48

No ones perfect

I probably fall down on some of the points but that doesn't make me a bad accountant per se Sometimes due to work pressures omissions happen those times yes I am a bad accountant.

The bad accountants are those who do not respect their clients and try to rip them off with exorbitant charges.   The Accountants that give the profession a bad name who those with no personality.  

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25th Sep 2014 14:30


I would say you should be AIMING to do all 20, and at all times to reach a good professional standard of work.  If you do not always achieve all 20 then that is merely human nature. I messed up this week and sent out a bill to a client that had not been properly agreed, she thought it was included in her annual fees, I thought not. This was poor, but is unusual for us and reminds me not to be lazy on quoting as I annoyed the client. 

The only one i thought a little forced was 20, I think that might be a bit harsh, I use this forum a lot to act as "the rest of the office" as I have just the one assistant and the odd bit of subcontract. 

If you consistently fall down on one or more of these then I think you will struggle to have a strong long term practice which is built mainly on repeat business.

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25th Sep 2014 16:08

Doesn't all that apply to any trade or profession

I can identify some of those 20 traits in virtually every tradesman or professional that I've come across.  Very few, if any, are unique to accountants.  We've got in a painter at home, finally, after several either didn't turn up to give a quote, turned up but didn't give a quote, sent a quote for the wrong job, emblazened their business card and website with the FSB logo (which as we know means nothing) and the one we have is a sole trader, works on his own, but is doing a damn good job at a reasonable price!

I don't agree with number 20.  In this day of the internet, facebook, email, twitter, etc., I feel more informed, part of it, and up to date than I ever did when working in an office of a dozen or more people where "news" within the practice was on a "need to know" basis and most of the office talk was about the footie scores and women.  For example, I've been talking to my clients about the new EU digital services VAT changes since the Spring, but the "profession" only seems to have woken up to it recently given the recent posts on Aweb.  

At the end of the day, it's down to the person concerned.  You can't generalise.

Thanks (10)
By jford
25th Sep 2014 17:16

Science to the rescue

I particularly like Point 3 which reminds me of the brilliant studies of Dunning Kruger.  As David Dunning observed

"If you’re incompetent, you can’t know you’re incompetent… the skills you need to produce a right answer are exactly the skills you need to recognize what a right answer is"

More info is here

Read it and everything in life suddenly will make sense.... unless of course you're too stupid to understand it :-) 


Thanks (4)
25th Sep 2014 18:20

Number 20

Thanks for your comments.

It seems I wasn't sufficiently clear in the opening line of number 20: 

"I worry about accountants who have no colleagues, back-up, support, or readily accessible facility to provide any of this when needed."

For the record I would agree that this includes use of AccountingWeb's Any Answers' forum. 


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26th Sep 2014 09:08

Number 6

Mark - you'll need to define "backdating" since you've put it into the box of "falsifying documents".

To me, backdating is assigning a date to a document which is before the date upon which the events in the document actually happened. Preparing and dating a document (whether it be an invoice, a journal or a minute) to a retrospective date which reflects the date of the event or transaction is not illegal or falsifying that document.

If a director at a board meeting (and it is frequently with himself) decides to vote an interim dividend and pays it out, it becomes a dividend irrespective of the quality of his records and subject to sufficient reserves being available is legal under the Companies Act. Clearly the treatment of such payment could be challenged in the absence of any evidential records such as a note on a cheque stub, a reference on a bank statement, a description in the books, a board minute or a dividend voucher (or a combination of these) but it doesn't alter its accounting treatment.

What you seem to be inferring is that a director sits down and holds a meeting to authorise previous dividend payments and matches the dates of the meetings with these payments. I can assure you that I've never come across this practice in a half century of being in this game.

I notice that your mate Bob hasn't spotted this thread yet - long may this continue.



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By Penfold
26th Sep 2014 09:23
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By mjshort
26th Sep 2014 10:34

More bottom 10s

1. You get prosecuted for fraud

2. You use the word "Conjoined"

3. You charge outrageous fees for a few hours work

4. You join AVN

5. You do not look for the best tax position for your clients.

6. You have a call centre answering your phones

7. You never go to your client's premises

8. Your office hours are 9.30-5.00

9. You like HMRC

10. You spend too much time making lists


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26th Sep 2014 12:18

Could we add...

21 - Spend too long writing lists. :)

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26th Sep 2014 12:21

One more..

Good list, I don't have any of those but I know quite a few accountants who do, you did however forget to mention quoting the names of "Big 4/6/10" accountants as some kind of recognition to clients who have no idea who they are.  I have also acquired a client whose previous accountant served time for fraud and on release from jail went back to accountancy, under someone else's name, said client stuck with him as he "knew what he was doing", fortunately he soon changed his mind when I pointed out to him what fraud is....

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26th Sep 2014 12:49

No 1

I regret the inclusion of No 1 in the list. It creates the impression, and perhaps that is the intention, that a qualification in itself is evidence that the accountant is a good one. I know many accountants who are not formally qualified, and just as much as formally qualified accountants, there are good and bad.



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26th Sep 2014 12:55

Can't resist

@Mark - I can't believe you left this one out:

"They allow clients to keep poor records and by doing so justify their fees for basic compliance because they have to work to complete and correct the bookkeeping every year." 

All firms need to do is a) educate clients why good bookkeeping is important/beneficial b) offer a support programme (software and training) and c) refuse to act for clients who don't keep proper books (which after all is a legal requirement).

That definition probably means 99% of accountants are bad because most do not have the systems, process and/or resources to implement this strategy.

Another one would be not reading/understanding Value Pricing. If they did a number of the above issues would be resolved.

Bob Harper

The More Network and Crunchers


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26th Sep 2014 14:28


Bob Harper wrote:
That definition probably means 99% of accountants are bad because most do not have the systems, process and/or resources to implement this strategy.
Interestingly, 99% is also the percentage of statistics invented on the spot for website comments with the sole purpose of supporting the poster's own views.
Another one would be not reading/understanding Value Pricing.
On the other hand, the number of Bob Harper posts making this statement must be close to 100%, regardless of it being refuted many times.
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By c j d.
26th Sep 2014 16:23

"They allow clients to keep poor records and by doing so justify

I have for the past 5 years, been running a free workshop on the basics of keeping records at a local business centre, and it makes no difference.

One client habitually delivers boxes just before Christmas

I tell my clients I'll charge them for the extra time and they say ok; 

What else do you suggest I and others do?

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27th Sep 2014 07:51

Sell, charge and market
@CJD - good for you.

There are three things you can do:

1) Learn to sell more effectively.

2) Charge them for the training

3) Market yourself so you can afford to walk away from clients who don't play the game.

Get in touch and I will elaborate.

Bob Harper

The More Network and Crunchers

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By wot
26th Sep 2014 13:00

Good accountants apparently have a lot of time on their hands when they're not on the lecture circuit.

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26th Sep 2014 17:23

I'm not in practice

wot wrote:
Good accountants apparently have a lot of time on their hands when they're not on the lecture circuit.

I hope this was intended as a light hearted observation, but to clarify - I left public practice in 2006.

Yes I do lecture and speak at conferences as well as in-house at firms' awaydays etc. But I also earn my living through mentoring/coaching as well as writing on practice focused matters and publishing a weekly practical tax tips newsletter for accountants in general practice. 


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26th Sep 2014 13:21

Ultimately society doesent care about the output enough to make 'accountant' a protected term. Deal with it.

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26th Sep 2014 13:59


An interesting twenty point list, an interesting ten point list and interesting supplementary observations.  Any experienced practitioner will recognise these traits in someone of their knowledge - possibly, as some have noted, in themselves.  Somewhere prominent in the list should be the practitioner who utters the treasonous phrase "I/my firm have an excellent working relationship with H M Revenue and Customs".  I was first articled then (because my mother was a dyed in the wool socialist) employed by H M Revenue an Customs from which I was unceremoniously ejected for having an "inappropriate attitude" - Grant Thornton took me in and eventually I formed my own practice,  "Why is the relevant?" I hear you cry.  It is relevant because when I was with H M Revenue and Customs accountants who enjoyed a so called good working relationship with H M Revenue and Customs were regarded with disdain a kick dogs who would not fight for their clients.  Working with Grant Thornton gave me an insight of how the relationship should actually be. In my own practice I have never sought less than the full measure of entitlement relevant to a client. The whole point of employing an accountant is to obtain high quality representation and not to be sold down the river to protect that "good" relationship which the naive accountant believes he enjoys.

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26th Sep 2014 14:45

The client can't tell the difference

The main problem is that the client can't tell the difference between a qualified accountant and a toy accountant. Here at TaxMatters we spend a lot of time clearing up the mess that incompetent unqualified people who hold themselves out to be accountants have made. Sorry guys but as Mark can testify I get hot under the collar about this issue. He and I had a series of heated emails some time back about this question - as far as I am concerned if you are not qualified as an accountant then you are not an accountant. Allowing these people to call themselves accountants devalues the years of work that qualified people have put in to become accountants.

Unfortunately the last question that potential clients ask is "are you a qualified accountant"? Why would they? If there is a sign on the door which says "accountant" then the question appears to have been answered!

I get the impression from point 1 that Mark has mellowed his point of view a bit but the fraud continues. I was contacted recently by a couple of people who had set up just such a misleading practice and now want to market it as a franchise. These gentleman are from a country where business morality is not taken as seriously as in this country and no doubt the fast buck is the prime consideration. They claimed to be members of an organisation which looks as though it's membership is qualified accountants but guess what.

Long and short of it is that the title accountant should be a protected title conferred by authorised bodies such as ACA or ACCA etc. That is clearly the only way to protect the public 

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26th Sep 2014 14:46


Refuted by people who don't understand doesn't really count, a bit like the people who said the world wasn't round.

Have you read/studied Ron Baker's work?

Bob Harper

The More Network and Crunchers

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26th Sep 2014 15:19

Accountant should be a protected title, to protect clients

At a first glance it looks like the "to do" list that a certain Mr Pearce may have wrote prior to receiving his 7 year custodial sentence earlier this year. Or is it perhaps his memoirs .......

Either way, he now has time to reflect!


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26th Sep 2014 16:45


CJD - dont worry about Bob he doesn't really have much of an idea about small practice or what we actually do. He seems to only speak to some abysmal practices stuffed full of low grade accountants mashing the keyboards with their fists and grunting now and again given his conclusions about what we do. 


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26th Sep 2014 17:08


Whilst I agree with most of the points made I cannot accept that working alone makes you a bad accountant!  I have worked alone for years but maintain CPD and contact with other professionals through forums such as this.  

I agree with the first point to a degree.  I had no period of study or qualifications to sit to gain entry to my professional body.  I did, however, have to produce work for two already registered accountants for a period of time before I could get 'signed off' to become a member.  This, to me, is more of a competency test than most the of the exams for the professional bodies that insist on them. 

What I have a real problem with management accountants that think they are automatically qualified to enter the private practice arena without any prior experience other than sitting doing monthly and year end accounts within one company.  Redundancy strikes and all of a sudden it's let's start a practice time.

I have met so many completely incompetent accountants of this sort locally (particularly with the expanding popularity of accounting franchises) that I shudder to think how many are practising over the UK as a whole.  I have seen so many inaccurate and poorly produced sets of accounts - even balance sheets that didn't, in fact, balance, that I believe these people are the real menace. It should not be possible to hide behind the designatory letters of certain of the bigger professional bodies and claim that you know everything there is to know about accounts preparation and taxation.  

I believe it is these people that do not know the limitations of their knowledge and therefore have to 'wing it'.  That is inexcusable.

And missing deadlines?  Never done that yet and never will. 




Thanks (1)
26th Sep 2014 17:18

Wow - where to start?

Thanks for the many and varied comments.

In my intro I tried to suggest that we avoid getting into the old qualified/unqualified debate - but if that's what you want... 

1 - They misrepresent their qualification

I hope I was only criticising those who lie or mislead clients re the qualification issue. 

6 - They falsify documents

My understanding is that backdating docs to suggest a meeting or decision took place at an earlier date than it did is bad. Recording a decision that was made at an earlier date without attempting to mislead as to when that record was made is fine.  If you are concerned as to the distinction please look into it further as I'm not able to give legal advice.

Other suggestions

Thanks for these. Keep'em coming.



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26th Sep 2014 19:17

glitch on your site
i m just posting to see if i can send this .

the a/web site has a glitch which says thst posting cannot be sent
because i have vrun out of data and but i have 300 mb left and
then when i post it the post dies not go through and you filch my 300 mb putting the useage reserve to zero . Well done !!

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26th Sep 2014 22:09

Management Accountants

AFAccountant criticises management accountants en bloc.  Surely such a general observation is wrong.  Expertise is in the individual and as Mark points out in his list, the key is to not stray into areas of expertise beyond your competence.  As a management accountant (CIMA) who has been in practice for 12 years, I did have a huge learning curve when I first started and had to learn an enormous amount about tax.

I had previously worked in practice before moving into industry and a lot of the ingrained, died in the wool prejudices I saw in the profession as a youngster still exist today.  Take the issue of cloud accounting on which management accountants are better placed to advise than many in practice.  Many practices have dipped a toe in the water with Xero and other offerings, but how many have realised that this opens the door to a new way of collaborating with clients?  Some of the posts on Accounting Web question this approach, but those are probably the accountants giving bad advice to their clients.

The focus for all accountants should be on improving clients businesses, which calls for a wide range of up to date skills being brought to bear and not just those in the narrow area of compliance work, as important as it is.

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27th Sep 2014 11:16

perhaps we should start a thread

20 signs that you are all talk and no action

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By sam ako
27th Sep 2014 13:27

Interesting discussion
As usual a very good article from Mark. If nothing it provides reassurance to those doing the right thing that they are on the right path.
We appreciate the support you give.

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27th Sep 2014 14:13

they falsify documents
This is a tough one, if your extremely honest it seems daft in some circumstances. If altering a date slightly, a date which can never be proved and there is zero resource deployed to catch out those falsifying such dates, then why would you want your client to suffer? It reminds me of the perhaps urban myth of an Australian motorist waiting at a red traffic light in the deserts for days before realising it must be broken
Some rules should and are broken by big and small business all the time.

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30th Sep 2014 13:13

shum mishtake shurely...

This is a tough one, if your <sic> extremely honest it seems daft in some circumstances. If altering a date slightly, a date which can never be proved and there is zero resource deployed to catch out those falsifying such dates, then why...

Perhaps because it is unethical, dishonest and contrary to the high standards of probity expected (and that should be expected) of those of us in the profession. I am not qualified to comment on the legality of such practices, but strongly suspect it fails on that front too. By all means do your utmost to help your clients get things right, but don't get caught in the trap of helping them do wrong by rewriting history (or even ignoring the client doing so)...

Thanks (1)
30th Sep 2014 14:26


slipknot08 wrote:

This is a tough one, if your <sic> extremely honest it seems daft in some circumstances. If altering a date slightly, a date which can never be proved and there is zero resource deployed to catch out those falsifying such dates, then why...

Perhaps because it is unethical, dishonest and contrary to the high standards of probity expected (and that should be expected) of those of us in the profession. I am not qualified to comment on the legality of such practices, but strongly suspect it fails on that front too. By all means do your utmost to help your clients get things right, but don't get caught in the trap of helping them do wrong by rewriting history (or even ignoring the client doing so)...

I'm sorry but your wrong, not all rules should be blindly followed. There needs to be an appraisal. No wonder some stereotypes of accounts prevail. In reality business appraise the risks and proceed to break the rules, if risk/reward is great enough. I'm not talking immoral like bribery or fraud. I'm talking minor outdated hindrances to business.

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27th Sep 2014 15:07

Yes and No

I can agree with raybackler in general terms. Obviously we should seek to improve the way in which we work with clients but I can't get over the feeling that if hackers can get into my Hotmail box then I can't be sure that client data stored in the cloud is safe and I don't want to make it too easy for the CIA or similar to get details of my clients affairs. (OK I know but the last bit is meant to be a little tongue in cheek)

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27th Sep 2014 20:05

Good Accountants

Bad accountants allow unjustified expense claims and ignore a decent code of ethics, turning down genuine offers which would have been to the advantage of creditors

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29th Sep 2014 10:16

The list is just stating the bloody obvious, however I once worked for a Accountants and the senior partner said it was all about PR, he was good at putting up a front and the clients were none the wiser, it was a successful business, though very shambolic, no questions or queries were ever raised regarding accounts prepared.      

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29th Sep 2014 13:39


AndrewV12 wrote:

The list is just stating the bloody obvious, 

To you maybe. But even if it's obvious to everyone else - so what? I'd argue that's a good thing.

Thanks for your anecdote.


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30th Sep 2014 09:49

I agree

Good morning Mark

I do agree with your point, even if a post is stating obvious, lets look into a subject in grater depth anyway, we never know what we may have over looked.





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29th Sep 2014 12:11

I'm with you Mark,

fantastic response to one of your posts. Shows that some Accountants knock off early on Fridays and have nothing better to do.

Accountants are like cups of tea. There is no such thing as a bad one, just some are better than others.


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29th Sep 2014 13:48


As Bob would say oops. If it's obvious to everyone why post it?

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30th Sep 2014 09:46

On some subjects some people read things and quickly come to the conclusion 'thats stating the bloody obvious', whilst other people need to be led, guided and nudged  to reach a conclusion. 



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29th Sep 2014 15:33

clients perspective
I wonder if some clients prefer a 'wide boy' accountant, that sails close to the wind in their favour.

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29th Sep 2014 15:35



Is it obvious to everyone? I simply said that IF it was then that would be a good thing.

Something that is obvious with the benefit of hindsight or when your mind is drawn to it doesn't make a reminder worthless.

Another observation often made is that some things are simply 'common sense'. I suggest this is just another way of dismissing them as 'obvious'. And yet, all too often one finds that what is common sense is not always common practice. Again a reminder can prove useful.

The level of interest in and varied responses to this article also validate my decision to write and publish it - however obvious the points may be to many readers. 

In my opening comments to the article I said:

"You may think some of the qualities listed below are obvious – but you may also be surprised how easy it is to fall into the related traps."



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29th Sep 2014 16:00


You've now highlighted the difference between an Accountant who uses common sense and those that "wing it".

Years ago your post would have been ridiculed and you would have been hung drawn and quartered. Today, however, (because there are bookkeepers trading as accountants (no offence) etc.etc.) things are different and the likely hood of some of the items in your list being the norm are apparent. 

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30th Sep 2014 11:48

Checklist for business owners?

@Mark - how about changing this around and using the 20 signs as a checklist for business owners  - 20 ways to spot a bad accountant :)

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30th Sep 2014 11:53


Thanks for the suggestion. I wrote something like that (albeit from a more positive perspective) some time ago. I may update it now. Given this is a site for accountants however I won't post it here.


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30th Sep 2014 14:52

With dividend dates

what has happened is HMRC are saying dividends have to be voted and minuted. So the DLA goes overdrawn and they get a bit of interest. Too petty for words.

What used to happen is a "clear up" operation. Now it's very easy for one man band ltd. cos and you don't need votes and dates. Where the director(s) is the shareholder(s) then you just have a meeting to decide that as long as there are profits and the corporation tax is accounted for then you can take dividends in whatever shape or form and whenever you see fit. HMRC don't like it but it's legal and it stops all this DLA crap.

HMRC do not want to change where they lose money.


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30th Sep 2014 16:09


Just a little bad

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By afroze
19th Oct 2014 15:04


Years before asked an "ACCA" accountant about five fundamental principles while studying Professional Ethics paper for Taxation and I was told that I can never get client if I follow 'em exactly.


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19th Oct 2014 16:05

I sued a solicitor once for negligence, they took it to the very last minute, cost me a lot of money, years of time, then before the court appearance paid me off. Maximising shareholder (or partner) value is the ethics of business in reality.

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