Although I agree wholeheartedly
With all the sentiments expressed about BHS being stuck in the 90,s and perhaps doomed to failure at some point anyway - the business also seems to have been mismanaged, with various reports about new owners paying £8m in consultancy fees, it seems to me that the bigger the business corporate governance seems to fly out of the window. I think the old and new owners have many questions to answer on this.
But that's the point, we don't know whether there is a "real" pay gap or not, you say in large companies it is rare to know what your male colleagues earn, but that's not provable either is it? I know there are male chauvinist industries that exist, I am not saying that there isn't a problem of some sort, but in nearly 30 years of working life, I just haven't come across it, and I have worked for many years in the motor trade / milk industry, which are (or were) male dominated, I had access to the payroll, and my salary was exactly the same as my male colleagues. As you say, we need "real" data, and I have certainly never comes across any company paying a woman less because they think she may go on maternity leave. I think the problem lies more so with smaller businesses perhaps ( and just from my own personal experience) since I have been in practice, one or two male business owners have commented that they wouldn't want to take on a woman of child bearing age - which of course is absolutely wrong and I have commented back to that effect. In fact when I was employed in the motor trade, the execs decided to pursue a positive discrimination policy to attract female sales staff, and as a woman I find that quite insulting. We are getting there, we all need to look out for each other, but by jumping on the bandwagon without any facts to back it up, is self defeating imho.
Personally I don't think
I have ever been paid less than a male doing the same job as me. Many of my friends have very senior roles within companies and earn a lot of money, are women, and don't think that they are paid less either than their male equivalents. Perhaps there are anomalies in some industries but I have yet to come across them myself. We don't see the data behind these studies, are they comparing the same jobs, or is it because some women have chosen to take a step back to follow a different path? That's what I did for a few years before I started my own practice. As aweb reader says, it is too simplistic to say that there is a gender pay gap, without further detail.
But the vies
System does give you some details as to who the vat number belongs to, so it may give you some sort of indication as to whether the business using the vat number is the bona fide one, so I would think it's still a good place to start.
Understandably you are
Happy when you acquire new clients, but I get the feeling that this is your main driver and you are not assessing your own capacity and then letting your current clients down. Work is a balance of many different roles and putting so much stead in growing seems to be really letting you down at the moment. I can speak a little from experience here, a while ago I knew I had too much on, I not only stopped taking on new clients for a good 6 months, I also let go some of my most troublesome ones, so that I could reflect on where the practice really was and make some informed, not impulsive decisions. I think you need some reflection time, not jumping in again with another employee/contractor. Ask yourself this, does this person have a clear role in your head? I'm guessing not, give yourself a breathing space before making any more decisions!
In direct contrast
To yesterday's latest tax news "making tax digital, the known unknowns" where the consensus was that the chances are accountants will have to get back to basics and re do much of what has already been input by the client, but today, accountants are going to be left behind by a new generation of technical whizz kids. I know which one I think most likely!
Yes, but the problem
is, that, from previous experience anyway, it is very hard to gleen exactly what a new potential client is all about. I therefore look for synergy with certain business sectors where I think I can add value, and no longer try to gauge how I am going to get on with the client, as, you can only find out what people are like over time. Some clients, who - on first meet, I did not necessarily warm to, have proven to be my best clients, and a few others, who on first meet, I felt a good connection, have turned out to be awful. No one is going to undersell themselves when the speak to a potential new accountant, most will talk a big talk, and, as I say, it is difficult to really know whether you really have anything in common at all!
I agree with cheekychappy
cheekychappy wrote:petersaxton wrote:
FT seems to have the urge to acquire clients but not deal with their needs or do what is needed.
It's a waste of effort getting knew clients if they then leave because of poor performance.
It is more than a waste of time. It is damaging to your reputation.
Yes I agree and sometimes it can take a while before you realise your reputation is damaged, the accountant I mentioned has managed to keep his plates spinning for about 3 years, but in the space of 1 week I have been approached by 1 of his clients, allegedly vat returns in a mess, items included on more than 1 occasion, that type of thing, and, (admittedly) a story about him from another accountant I know, again approached by one of his clients with a story about non submission of payroll, so, looks like things are catching up with him now.
It's great that your practice is growing so quickly, well done, if it was me I would be worried about keeping my good clients happy. For me I know when I am at that tipping point, and I cannot take on any more. Although this PITA client is ridiculous in his demands, make sure you don't let the little things slip for your other clients. For some of my clients keeping in touch is very important and if I didn't have the time to spare them the odd phone call or whatever they would no doubt feel I wasn't quite looking after them. There's a local accountant near to where I live who has been very successful in taking new clients on, not having the time to keep them happy, then losing most of them from what I can see, too busy networking to acquire more clients he cannot manage. I am not suggesting that this is you by the way, but if you are without that extra resource you need to think very carefully about taking more and more on, and creating chaos for yourself. I admire your get up and go though, sometimes I kwonder whether mine has left the building!
I know I said I was signing off, but am a little vexed and feel the need to say something else - to pick up on the point "accountants should proactively encourage their clients to take more of an interest and be responsible for the numbers side of the business" - they aren't our numbers anyway and why should any responsible adult ever think that they are! If I buy a toothbrush at the chemist, don't use it and get tooth decay, will someone be writing in The Chemist Weekly, that the chemist should be advising me at point of sale on how to use the brush because, I may be irresponsible and not use the brush properly? Silly example I know, and as an Accountant I really do try to explain everything to the client, and always back it up with an email also to prove I have - but isn't our profession becoming really silly when we spend time and energy covering our backs because we are in a culture "where there's blame there's a claim" and the client can (and sometimes does) feel, that the buck stops with us? Very annoying!