Member Since: 11th Aug 2017
Paul Marks & Co - Chartered Accountants
3rd Nov 2019
If you are in business you have to offer a discussion prior to any prospect deciding whether they want to engage you or not.
How would you feel if you were to try and engage a lawyer and they wanted to charge for your first meeting with them.
Having said that you do not need to meet them in person to decide whether a face to face meeting is appropriate.
As has been said have a 10-15 minute discovery telephone call, provide them with your indicative costs (if unsure err on the side of caution, but if you are experienced you should roughly know what your quote will be). Provide them with a quote via email.
If they are happy with the quote then you can meet, but generally it's a done deal already.
Don't engage in price reductions or any sort of specific advice
22nd Oct 2019
Yes alot of small clients are like this, but I learned very early on it's about educating them at the engagement stage. So now I clearly define the bookkeeping tasks the client needs to perform and the ones we do (such as depreciation, accruals etc).
If they don't understand the tasks (which is often the case) we can provide some training at a cost or learn themselves (if they are on Xero etc, they can use the help section)
Invariably they come back to us to ask us to do some of the bookkeeping. We now don't have any clients that expect the bookkeeping to be done as part of the price of accounts production.
I think in most cases it really is down to educating the client at the beginning. Of course some will say that my previous accountant did it for free. Nowadays I do not engage these clients unless they are prepared to pay our fees for bookkeeping
18th Oct 2019
Clearance requests are solely for professional and ethical matters, any opinions about the the client should NOT be included in any clearance answer. Stick to the accounting, tax points and ethics issues. You need to look at your professional bodies guidance here
15th Oct 2019
Seems about right to me, I would have thought around £2,500 to £2,700 pus VAT per annum as long as you are not doing any bookkeeping.
I would certainly chase them for the unpaid standing order and stick to your pricing it's certainly not exorbitant.
As has been said there are always people willing to do this for a lot less, best to let them go.
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.