ie we can pluck some figures from the air and key it in. Its not as if the clients are being taxed on it.
Well, we 'can' but whether we should, or whether it's best practice is another thing.
There's lots of areas in practice work where you 'can' shortcut, but I don't think as professionals we should advocate not following guidelines and rules as they are intended.
Everyone's client mix is different. Remember we're talking about unincorporated business here (at the moment!). You will get clients which are engaged in the manner you say (although I expect most of those will be companies), but many accountants will have many clients with the sterotypical shoe-box once a year with tatty receipts and dubious records. It's dealing with those which will be the challenge, especially if it involves additional work, time and money on both sides.
Does make you wonder how one-man band accountants are going to cope with this?
The challenge for any accountant is going to be turning this into chargeable work. No one wants to overcharge clients, but time is money, and if you have to take 14 weeks then thats a considerable investment in terms of chargeable time, and that's before you get to the ongoing costs of both administrating this and doing the actual numbers work.
At the moment it's feasable to take someones records, produce a quality set of sole trader accounts, and do their tax return for a few hundred pounds (prices will vary!) but can that really be increased by 50%-100% to take account of the additional work? I guess it will have to be.
'AccountingWEB member Kernowlive suggests that the exemption for micro-businesses should be around £50,000, dropping to £40,000 then £30,000 in subsequent years.'
That would be hugely confusing, especially when you consider self-employed people have pretty changeable levels of income. I don't think many accountants would want to go through their clients and make an assessment of which needs quarterly reporting and which don't and to explain that to clients.
If we're going to have quarterly reporting, then make it simple. Either tie it in with VAT registration, which makes sense. Or make pretty much everyone do it (the £10,000 limit). Any middle path or changing limits yearly is just going to be a clusterf**k.
If you can't see where these steps lead, then I have a bridge to sell you....
Save our FRSSE!
Accountants for UK GAAP, not EU PAP!
Difference between accounts and audit.
All these things would result in under-payment of tax, and preparing accounts and returns could be considered "facilitating" that under-payment of tax. Unless the amounts involved materially distort the accounts, there may be no way for the accountant to spot these. There comes a point at which we have to accept that, without evidence to the contrary, our client is telling us the truth. Will such innocent accountants be subject to prosecution
Well indeed. Accounts prep is not an Audit. That is a fundamental ascept of our work. We are not responsible for the accuracy of the accounts we provide (to a certain point) as we have to rely on information provided by clients, and we have to operate on a certain amount of good faith, not mistrust.
bookmarklee wrote:andyjdicker wrote:
But isn't that the general opinion of the vast majority of people in business (those which work for themselves), not just accountants.
Sorry Andy - Accountants are in a special position compared with most other businesses. This is because if you're providing a decent service your clients need your service and advice year after year. And many clients perceive it to be difficult to change accountants so sometimes stay longer than they might otherwise do. As a result accountants, almost uniquely, feel far less need to seek out new clients. The majority of their annual fees this year will also be billable each year. Few non-accountants operate on that basis.
Well not really. It's the same as any on-going service provider. Banks. insurance, telephone and many many more, all of which have people which stick with them because they can't be bothered to change. We're not special snowflakes in that regard.
Yes, we can all do better and improve, thats the same as any business, but the language of this article was inflammatory, and not particularly constructive. I would think that most users of this site are here because they want to be able to improve their business and how they conduct themselves, not to be beaten over the head with 'Are you a crap accountant??'
Earlier today I was speaking with a sole practitioner whose comments supported by long-held views about the majority of smaller firms. His is as successful as he wants it to be. He wins enough new clients through client recommendations and through his website to more than compensate for the occasional client loss. He has no desire to grow the practice any faster - nor does he need to do so in my view. Like most successful practitioners he will adapt his business model only as and when he has to do so.
But isn't that the general opinion of the vast majority of people in business (those which work for themselves), not just accountants. Not everyone wants to conquor the world. Most people want to provide for themselves and their family, and to be able to maintain a work/life balance which works for them.
Sure, there is no one out there which couldn't improve and refine how they do things. But this article/opinion just seems to be frankly. flamebait, using terms like 'conning' and throwing around other very personal issues like the level of fees.
There's very little constructive here,and plenty of hints and accusations about how accountants work.
We should remember who we work for.
Richard, I think you'll find that most of us here are reasonable people. Our level of training, our qualifications and our experience speak to that. We have experience in small businesses accounting and tax over many years.
For you to come on here and say that these responses are unreasonable is an attack on us as professionals. You admit that your in a minority (seemingly a minority of one!), which I think speaks more about you, than about us.
Let us not forget, it is our clients who we work for and who pay our bills. When it comes to taxation matters, it is us who act as advocates for our clients. That means that we put our personal issues or opinions aside and act in the best interests of them.
We are not agents of the state (not yet anyway). It is up to us to speak for small businesses, in much the same way that lawyers defend their clients.