I agree with the comment on the article that tax returns should be started in April and not rushed in January. This kind of strategic planning is obviously not present in all firms. I’m not worried about January, we plan for it and chip away April to December so January is not horrific. This has improved considerably in recent years.
A more significant challenge is keeping staff busy in February and March. Trying to take on more regular bookkeeping work via quickbooks and additionally a good time for staff to study and take holiday. Will also book a staff away day to consider softer, non technical skills.
Good quality article and makes a lot of sense. Technical accounting knowledge, technology and client skills all vital. Training in house ideal. Also agree that the qualification has merits and prestige but needs to be backed up by delivery and results.
The word excellence would suggest clients get a good service. It took me all of two minutes to confirm suspicions that some of these award winners have very poor reviews from clients. If awards should goto companies who make profits based on treating clients as commodities instead of providing great service then the award is pointless.
The 3 main red flags we look at are
1) do they pay
2) do they answer emails and the phone
3) are they pleasant to deal with
Fairly simple but we can’t be continuously chasing debtors, chasing information or queries or accept rudeness. Plenty of good quality business around.
By all means increase pricing but this doesn’t always solve the problem. Outsourced credit control, quickbooks/xero and gocardless monthly help but we tend not to prejudice 95% or the client base if 5% are misbehaving. Thankfully most clients are great!
It's a bold move to implement this but staff are not prevented from eating meat, just encouraged.
Let's see. By 2050 I wonder what % of people will stop eating animal products. 50% perhaps? It is currently a hot topic and due to health concerns (increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer etc), high intake of antibiotics, environmental damage and cruelty to animals. Previously a massive meat eater but no longer. Helps that a client close to the office runs a vegan café and gives us a substantial discount (appreciate this is a fairly unique luxury). I do wonder if history will look back in 100 years and view eating animals in the same way as we view cannibalism today. Having stopped eating animal products 9 months ago, I feel far better for it. Watched a documentary called "what the health" and had two clients die in quick succession of cancer and heart attack. One expected and one unexpected. A loss of life which was too early. Could diet have avoided this? We will never know but it may well have done. I am continuously surprised at the high quality, large variety and wide availability of vegan cuisine (all be it, at a premium).
It is certainly a topic which causes a lot of excitement and passion.
Here is a niche:
Take on profitable business, great clients and deliver world class service. Choice of quality clients (communication, business acumen and just generally good allround nice people, management of debtors, choosing the right staff and using technology and partners to maximise your offering and differentiate you from the market).
Excellent news this GDPR, going to hopefully get rid of a lot of spam and unwanted rubbish. The productivity of the UK economy will improve considerably without people constantly deleting rubbish. I don't think newsletters are effective marketing regardless, full stop. 90% are not read. There are many other far better strategies. Has AWeb addressed GDPR? One of the only newsletters I read.
The behaviour was clearly excessive. Clearly very angry and the red mist caused an issue. Get meditating. In this sort of case, he surely had to get the money up front before doing the work. Agreeing the fees on an hourly rate showed too much trust and should have provided more regular updates and obtained payments on account. A valuable lesson learned and we cannot let these exceptional and unique cases overwhelm us. Finally, dodging such toxic, difficult appointments is one of my objectives, however some people relish the challenge and the negotiation. I'm similarly not that keen on HMRC enquiries because of the mess but some accountants love them as can charge their hourly rate to the fee protection policy. I similarly would like individuals called out from larger practices by Aweb and ICAEW rather than attacking the low hanging fruit, which is also HMRC's approach.
we appealed against a 15/16 child benefit error/penalty in similar circumstance and was reduced to nil. Client phoned HMRC directly and gave reason of excessive stress which they accepted.
Empowered and trusted staff don't need their hands holding. That is very old school management. Talent, ability and training gives a team easily the capability to cope with January. The team are not as stretched as the practice management part of the firm as the power of many small contributions helps. So it does not all fall on one person. The work allocation is key. The clients who do not play ball, we have to be philosophical and not create stress from what is out of our sphere of influence. Refreshments all year round rather than just Jan? Why not. Owner making the coffee? Why not encourage the team to take small breaks and have coffees. An owner would usually be involved in the doing to some extent and not just sat with their feet up staring at CCTV and dealing with new orders.