But of course it is the truth.
One could never ignore fraud as the fact it has taken place infers a breakdown in internal controls which ought have, absent collusion, seriously reduced the risk of such an event.
However everyone must surely recall Kingston Cotton Mill, as it was drummed into everyone in auditing lectures,
"He is a watch-dog, but not a bloodhound. He is justified in believing tried servants of the company in whom confidence is placed by the company. He is entitled to assume that they are honest, and to rely upon their representations, provided he takes reasonable care. If there is anything calculated to excite suspicion he should probe it to the bottom; but in the absence of anything of that kind he is only bound to be reasonably cautious and careful."
Given accountants get a lot of practice biting their tongue over the stupidity of clients, Brexit is merely one additional area where clients can be obtuse.
Merely check that what they ought to consider re business stability they have considered. They may have decided risk, need to do something, no risk, business as usual, but our role is to ensure they have at least considered the position.
This is where the smaller one man accountancy firm may have an edge, with my clients I know which ones are directly exposed to international trade both re their sales and purchases so can ask things like, have you applied/got your EORI number, have you considered increasing stock from x in Eire or y in the Netherlands before March?
I of course have the current luxury of being like Rhett Butler re whether I keep my clients or not, "Frankly, my dear, I do not give a damn"
Imho pointing out the obvious and moving on is the way to proceed.
Old MacDonald not Old McDonnell, McDonell being a variant from Clan Donald- the one time Lords of the Isles.
McDonnell possibly has a more Irish connection than MacDonald ,which is more Scottish ,though this is not certain, it certainly seems to have a large Irish influence.
I suspect they can but they likely need to run the offering as multiple small local/regional practices with a clearly demonstrated career structure within same to attract staff wishing to work in the SME sector and make a career in same.
I trained with a smaller office (Circa 20 staff) of a mid tier national firm, whilst the firm did have much larger clients on the audit/tax side, mainly run from the larger offices, there was space for our office to work on the audits of subsidiaries , some local authority audits whilst also servicing a large number of SMEs.
The catch for the larger firms to operate a mixed model will be their willingness to allow smaller entities within their structure to operate with autonomy, this will have issues re local pricing and may be a step too far for them re protecting their brand.
One way might be to relabel the SME offering slightly differently.
I still think local firms operating as distinct feeder firms (maybe regionally) may be the way for them to try again.
The only person I had any contact with was Head of Tax in Edinburgh a long time ago who is now long retired.
Not sure I buy the argument that all clients need to contribute the same margin.
There are two metrics I would consider:
1. marginal cost/marginal revenue.
2. Waiting list of substitute business that can supplant existing with higher margin outcome if averse to employing extra resources.
Do appreciate why one might offload client volume for quality but if their business is, at the margin, profitable, and the more lucrative clients are not being prevented by resources from entering the client list, then the decision is not really a financial decision but a lifestyle decision, which personally I see as just as valid a reason to offload but I think, to not confuse oneself, the logic re the decision making does need examined.
On the positive side I often try to create football elevens with a common trait, anyone who listens to Scotland's "Off The Ball "will know the drill. For years I have been creating a convicted 11 and now I have a manager for it and recent years have added a touch of class and talent
from tax issues beyond Duncan Ferguson et al. (Who also gets into my all time team of players who you probably would be frightened playing against)
Now, just need some more players for my Double Barrel 11, Alexander Arnold has been a relatively recent addition , Van [***] very useful at the back but a few more would not go amiss.
C'monnnnnn (in my best Billy Connolly), ya censored Van D.y.k.e, ya bams.
I thought it was 30 staff not 30 clients that was mentioned, but maybe I got that wrong or we are at cross purposes?
I have a relationship with Johnston Carmichael up here in Scotland, I received a letter from them a few years ago offering to link with smaller practices re supporting them with their clients- my employers had previously used a niche set of tax planners in Newcastle but that relationship had run its course and we needed third party scrutiny re ideas and planning.
Previously I had Grant Thornton as external auditors and re tax, but tax ran out of Glasgow, not Edinburgh ,which was not wholly helpful and I had also consulted re tax planning with KPMG, but neither relationship was totally satisfactory, both were just a tad too big.
JC have 11 offices in Scotland, including one in Edinburgh, and the relationship has to date worked pretty well- they have become a sounding board when I have the framework of an idea , usually re tax, and they have earned fees in consequence.
I currently have a further client where I have been trying to suggest they consult and my employer may also need some structured input re IHT and succession planning where we may well use them.
In my opinion small firms do their clients a disservice not having such technical back up, I also have a vat consultant when I need input, the fact is the field of knowledge required by the general practitioner is, imho, too wide for a single employee firm of accountants to offer a fully robust service.
My gut feel is national firms these days may be too big for the role, so KPMG may not fit the right size, too many niche departments and different contacts.
What I have got from JC is one contact point and he then sits as point man re the in firm team he consults, when I used to talk with KPMG all these moons ago it seemed to be someone new each time which did not really work.
Still, it is their business to run, I am heading fast towards the practice exit door and how firms work over the next 20-30 years will not be my concern, but certainly if I was making decisions in KPMG I would have considered the idea .
Not much we can do, though we are not a practice but a property group. (My practice being P/T, small, and shutting down)
I have stockpiled two pallets of toilet roll/ hand towels, we lease some units on inclusive terms where their provision is our responsibility so I want to ensure any logistics logjams at UK/EU ferry ports do not impact our ability to meet our obligations in terms of these licences.
We are carrying higher bank balance than might normally be the case to ensure any tenant issues do not embarrass our cashflow re our single bank lender-I have no interest in revisiting the post 2008 period vis a vis lenders ever again, that turned what was left of my hair white.
I have still to stockpile office paper and coffee, but I will next week.
Re clients I have chatted with one who purchases from The Netherlands and Republic of Ireland re possibly ensuring stocks are a tad higher than normal and have confirmed they have got in place their EORI number, per HMG advice to impacted business entities.
My other major importing client sources from China and goods do not come in through the channel ports so am not really expecting logistics issues with their stocks; it is too late anyway as from order to production to UK arrival tends to take minimum three months, normally longer.
Other than that all preparations are more personal re
things like bank balance location (Sweden) and SIPP investments (EU/UK centrics now mainly gone, sitting with circa 15% in cash at present, rest overseas investments/companies who do not really earn in Sterling)