In my experience younger clients wouldn't dream of sending in a shoebox as they are keen to know where they stand on a week by week basis. But I have a number of longstanding older clients who really have not got a clue where to start. I always advise improvements in book keeping but there is no point in some cases and sometimes you just need to know the limit of the improvements the client is able to make.
I advised a client to put a large nail through a piece of wood and make sure that every receipt whether paid cash or bank went on it. Now I have records that are much easier to look at because they are in date order which is a vast improvement. Next year I am going to ask if there is any way that he could simply write cash on the ones that he has paid by cash.
You can make a client just feel completely inadequate by trying to push him into a book keeping system that he doesn't understand and thereby ruin the relationship that you have with that client.
Obviously I was not referring to the forged signature with the above comment. I cannot understand why an accountant would put themselves at risk in that way but I can also understand the comment re "best intentions" as I am quite sure that he didn't intend to cause the problems that he did. Of course you cannot forge someones signature and expect to suffer no consequences.
Well said Dr Lunn.
The professional bodies seem to be more interested in whether or not someone has signed the top of piece of paper than whether the figures are correct or the client has received a good service and good advice.
I am in a partnership and we share out the work load but if you are by yourself it must be almost impossible to keep up with both the increasing demands of clients, ever changing tax rules and then on top over burdensome compliance. I think that qualified sole traders will soon become an extinct breed.
As an accountant I find that in the main I agree with Ashbury - however I cannot agree that a turnover tax is the answer. We already have a turnover tax which is VAT and for small business who just go over the threshold it is crippling and with employers ni to pay at a rate of 13.8% the type of companies I deal with may have a reasonable turnover but at the minute very low profits.
You cannot take a sledgehammer to crack a nut - you need to ensure that these large companies that have the money and resources to take advantage of these tax schemes are stopped without it being to the detriment of the small business man who is currently struggling to make a living. Too many people hear the word "Director" and assume that they are running large companies and creaming money off the top - a lot of directors may be the only person in the company or perhaps employ a couple of people and I see people every day who would actually be better off financially on jobseekers - if someone came along and took a big wedge of their turnover in tax they would very quickly be joining the jobless queue.
It is not just the cost of obtaining the practice certificate it is all the time spent on the bureaucracy that goes with it. It seems to me that when you have a regulatory visit they are not at all bothered as to whether the work has been done correctly and the right questions asked of the client just whether or not you have signed and dated the working papers.
R these tests being applied to HMG's 2000 workers
Well said. Exactly what I said when I heard about the letter.
One of my clients has a visit due at the end of this month. We operate the payroll and the visiting inspector has told us that we have to print out all information and send them copies of our correspondence with them. It is a reasonable sized payroll and we have told her she can't have our file because we will need it and the client's premises are some 50 miles away from our payroll bureau. We asked her who she expected to pay for our time to photocopy and/or print out the entire contents of a years file and she really didn't seem to care. In the end we told her that if she wanted to review the paye files she would have to come over to our office but she is not prepared to travel that far so we have stale mate.
It seems to me that she is now questioning our ability to calculate paye correctly not a good way of getting an accountant on side.
The premises that she has chosen to visit has a dedicated book keeper and keeps records on Sage.
There are always small errors in anyone's book keeping that is why they employ an accountant to check over them and produce accounts at the end of the year - therefore it seems to be to be a complete waste of time to review book keeping for a year on which the accounts have not yet been produced and if this client gets anything other than a green light for their book keeping systems I will be complaining in the strongest terms.
Couldn't agree more.
recently sent a ct600 by ixbrl or whatever the dratted thing is called using our software and somehow when the revenue captured it their end it has a different year end and the tax due is some £5,500 less than it should be. None of the figures at the Revenue's end look anything like the figures that I filed. When I contacted the Revenue I was promised a call back from a manager within 2 working days and I have now been waiting a fortnight!!
HMRC giving binding opinions
Absolutely right oldersimon. If the Revenue will not give an opinion beforehand how do they manage to come up with differing opinions afterwards. i.e. if the knowledge is there why not impart it before the tax return is submitted - it makes no sense.
HMRC not best placed
I agree wholeheartedly with your comment. Often half hearted enquiries are made because an inspector simply doesn't understand how to use the software.