Member Since: 11th Aug 2017
Paul Marks & Co - Chartered Accountants
4th Sep 2019
Not sure I agree with the whole premise of your article
'Provide strategic advice to a digital marketing business in relation to expansion and diversification'
Although us accountants like to think we are businessmen and can provide this sort of advice, we are in most cases mistaken. Even the big firms of accountants that provide advisory, it is limited advisory to what we have expertise in - funding, due diligence, cash management, control, systems, restructuring, tax planning etc. etc
We kid ourselves here, of course most accountants are not capable of giving this sort of advice on expansion, markets, diversification, this is NOT the job of an accountant.
For my sins I spent 15 years as Finance Director of various multi national multi million pound companies operating internationally and this sort of strategy is heavily influenced by people that know their business inside out not accountants or so called consultants.
Sure us accountants can provide input into the areas we have expertise in, but don't think you are capable in giving advice in this area.
3rd Sep 2019
Well I have recently been called 'shameful' for billing a client for work we had done to date. Incidentally not the first time this client has abused us.
Comment ranged from, 'why are you charging us for your bookkeeping software when you get it free anyway' (we provided them with Xero)
'I am paying you monthly but what do you do for me only takes 5 minutes a month' Of course not true
Emailed me at 12.49
3 calls to my office
Then subsequently emailed me at 15.01 saying
'I have heard nothing for you or your staff so I presume you don't want to help me anymore'
(this was to answer a bookkeeping issue the client was supposed to be doing themselves).
FORGIVE? For what? the ex-client is a m****t
Nothing to forgive just push back and don't let them get away with it. They moved luckily.
30th Aug 2019
There is definitely too much price competition and agree with the comments that some clients will just go elsewhere if you try to increase your prices, as evidenced when we charged a client for doing their confirmation statement (they are on pay as you go) and we got the terse reply
'really. This took you all of two minutes'
We charged them £35 plus VAT (EX GOV'T FEE).
However this client has had plenty of free advice from me which I have not charged but which of course they have forgotten about.
So obviously we are supposed to do this for free!
I think Heather is right in some of her comments, manage expectations at the beginning and spot on with regards to payroll and bookkeeping, just so long as you are prepared to put your fees down as well as up should you be doing less work.
One thing I have learnt, clients that always complain about fees are really not worth having and eventually it's going to come to a head. Some clients just don't value what you do. Better to let them go.
13th Aug 2019
Absolutely agree with DJKL.
I am getting more militant with problem clients. Luckily I don't have many of them anymore and get rid of the ones that are too much trouble.
In the last year I gave two clients their marching orders. I was not prepared to put up with their constant moaning. One was about price and the other was just a 'pain in the xxxx' who treated us like the hired slaves he thought we were
1st Aug 2019
I have been doing this for years!! Most of my bookkeepers work from home. This is nothing new!
30th Jul 2019
I would add one further thing.
Often it is not work that causes the stress, the underlying reason often is the fact that you have to pay the mortgage, pay for the kids, pay for the car, the holiday, the boat!
This causes the feeling by many that you have to keep clients happy no matter how bad they are. Stress is often related to your financial position.
You have to try and detach work from you! Difficult to do when you have bills to pay.
It's not only sole practitioners that feel stress, many employed people feel the same.
I think it is very important to have another outlet apart from work. A passion that takes you away from work and helps you put things in perspective.
Things are very rarely as bad as your mind imagines them to be.
30th Jul 2019
For anyone that feels like that I have great sympathy.
I do not feel like that though. I am a sole practitioner, have grown substantially from nothing to 5 staff fairly rapidly.
Difficult to give advice here, but:
Don't take it personally
Ditch problem clients (or just increase your price so much that they go or they swallow the increase)
Don't work for peanuts
Don't let your clients manage you (don't respond to emails over the weekend or answer your phone)
Set your boundaries with your clients early on when you engage them and never do favours unless you know the clients very well and you charge them good fees already.
Stress is often self-imposed. The more helpful you try and be the more certain individuals take advantage. Try and disassociate yourself emotionally from your clients.
They are just clients NOT friends or family
24th Jul 2019
Another HMRC hairbrained scheme to put on top of MTD.
Who thinks up this 'nonsense'. They can't cope as it is, so yes lets put another change onto businesses to add to the already difficult time they are having!
20th Jul 2019
Typical IRIS! I have used taxfiler for a few years and was a great product at a good price.
Hey presto IRIS takeover and you get a DOUBLING of the price for basically the same product plus add-ons that nobody wants or asked for. Yes DOUBLING of the price! On what other universe would a supplier do that.
10th Jul 2019
Why is anyone struggling to recruit staff, many graduates looking for careers, many stay at home parents want to work from home (which is what alot of our staff do as we are predominantly in the cloud)
And why not back British workers!
When we advertise for a job we get Many good quality candidates. Maybe if you want to pay your staff the very minimum you can get away and they don't see the value of working for you, then you won't be able to find good people.
But if you pay well and offer a quality service why outsource. Seems to me it's a cheap alternative and short sighted as a strategy and as Ultra say above something you don't want to tell your clients about because they wouldn't be happy.