Member Since: 11th Aug 2017
Paul Marks & Co - Chartered Accountants
6th Sep 2019
Yes had this problem a few years ago and absolutely agree clients like to think they can do the bookkeeping but in most cases they obviously cannot. How could they, they are not trained.
We do give the client the option to do the bookkeeping, but make it clear we require a completed trial balance (although in our engagement letter we do state we will do the final entries such as depreciation, accruals prepayments, WIP etc.
The ones that want to do it themselves we give them a list of bookkeeping tasks that need to be completed on a monthly or quarterly basis and then go through the ones they can do and the ones they want us to do. That way if they are not done we have leverage to charge them for it.
If the client has done their bookkeeping but we find alot of obvious errors, we point out the legal responsibility of directors to keep adequate books and records, they have a choice then we can review them and correct them or they can but we will not prepare or file their accounts and tax returns until this is done. In almost all cases they get us to correct them. Usually what happens then is they get us to do the bookkeeping.
Some clients especially the very small ones wont have it and they object to us charging for bookkeeping, thinking we should do this for free even though they agreed to do it in the first place, invariably these are not the sort of clients you want as they do not value what you do
23rd Aug 2019
many business owners just don't value their accountants coupled with the me, me, me culture where everyone thinks their time is more important than everyone else's means some people act like this.
1) Don't take it personally
2) Give them deadlines and stick to them, so tell them if we don't get everything by a certain date we CANNOT file their returns by the deadline and they will be fined.
3) If they 'jump up and down', advise them if we observe this behaviour again they will have to go elsewhere.
4) Get rid of them if they play up again.
9th Aug 2019
No you shouldn't be giving detailed information about another client's business.
There is something called 'benchmarking' and you should be doing this. Comparing one business with only one other is not a good comparison anyway and can give a false impression.
There is even software out there that does benchmarking
9th Aug 2019
I agree with Jon. You have to put up with this, nature of any business. You should be answering every call otherwise they are going to go elsewhere. People have a very short attention span.
Put yourself in the prospects shoes and what would you do if you were them.
4th Aug 2019
You pay this, the clients get it for free
12th Jul 2019
If something doesn't appear to be right, you need to ask the question straight. 'What are you living on'?
If the answer that comes back doesn't make sense or they don't want to tell you, you need to consider various things
What is you duty in this instance. Have you uncovered evidence of money-laundering (tax evasion) in which case you need to report this to the NCA
If you just have suspicions and don't know, talk to your professional body first for advice, but definitely get rid of them as a client at some point.
Nothing good can come from this client if they are not being honest with you.
You cannot just abrogate your responsibility by just saying they signed the tax return if you have evidence that it is wrong.
9th Jul 2019
There has been a 'race to the bottom' for many years now in the small client market. I totally agree with the comments above and I wouldn't do this with unlimited support and constant emails from the client. But to prepare a very simple self-assessment return every year with excellent records from the client and it wasn't going to take you longer than a couple of hours in total yes possibly.
The headline price is just a marketing ploy in many cases
25th Jun 2019
Have a minimum fee, that usually gets rid of time wasters. You can say happy to help but we have a minimum fee of say £350 to £500 plus VAT.
I did this a long time ago and it certainly gets rid of the sorts of clients you don't really want. If they want to pay, then fine they are the sort of client you want.
31st May 2019
Can't believe the question. Do you really not know the answer to this. Even if you weren't an accountants surely you would know. This is not something that needs an opinion on.
26th Apr 2019
You should not get involved.
It depends on what was agreed and what was done of course. If the previous accountants have charged for work not done then the client needs to dispute this with the accountant and not pay the outstanding bill if he is sure of his facts.
You have not given enough facts to go to a solicitor yet!