Member Since: 24th Mar 2000
1st Apr 2014
April Fool or really happening, it will make no difference.
18th Oct 2013
Practice management in the cloud
We don't use Iris, but I believe all existing practice management software providers need to move to cloud based systems. This will not be easy for them as the software will need to be completely re- engineered. Xero sees this need and seems to be well ahead of its competitors in this area, with Workflowmax and Workpapers, and UK accounts production hopefully not that far away.
7th Oct 2013
Cloud systems are a game changer, because book-keeper/accountant and client can collaborate much more easily, so you don't get the problem of clients "doing their own thing" with the software, or running out of date versions that can't be read into your systems, etc. etc. We're loving Xero because the bank feeds keep clients on the right lines - they are entering transactions as they appear on their bank statements. We also have clients who subscribe to Xero, and only raise their sales invoices on it, leaving us to do the rest for them. This was a difficult option to pursue in the days of desktop software, but it works well now.
18th Feb 2013
We also had a case like this
and it worked out fine, with SLC informing HMRC "in due course".
You can't make a claim to reduce (presumably because these can only apply to payments on account), but you can ask for the overpayment amount to be "informally stood over".
17th Jul 2012
Not like an accountant?
People sometimes tell me I'm "not like an accountant at all".
I always feel pleased, as I think they mean it as a compliment.
23rd Sep 2011
Approvals and court
I will accept a client's authority via email, but personally I would feel in a stronger position with the Docsafe approval document, and perhaps some written explanation from Docsafe as to their procedures, for the reasons I have stated. In practice, clients often email us to say they have used the Docsafe procedure, so we have both. Many firms are accepting approval via client portals, and this is something I would also point out to the court.
At the end of the day this is a personal choice, and we all accept approved documents on the basis of the "balance of probabilities" that the approval is genuine - does the signature look right, does the email look and sound right, do the attendant circumstances back up this conclusion?
22nd Sep 2011
The certificate shows the "originator" of the document (i.e. the firm), the name of the client who has approved the document (and their username), the full name of the file that was approved, the exact date and time approved (to the second), and a 16 digit "approval verification" number, presumably created by a computer algorithm of some kind.
A disclaimer then makes the obvious point that Docsafe can only confirm that the approver has logged in using the authorised username and password for that client, and that no other checks as to identity were made. It also makes clear that the use of the approval procedure is as set out in terms and conditions between the firm and its client.
Compared to approval via an email, I believe this to be much more verifiable. For a start, people often leave their home computers switched on and not password protected, so that family members or others in the house could easily read their emails and reply without the client's authority. (Similar factors come into play in the office environment.) With a portal, on the other hand, the client would have to give their username and password to the person, which I think a court would view as being unduly lax on the client's part. Secondly, the "from" address on an email can easily be "spoofed", so who can tell who it really comes from?
"Pen and ink" signatures can be forged...
22nd Sep 2011
We use Docsafe for our client portal. It's easy for us and clients to use, and there is a simple procedure for online approval by the client. A PDF of the approval is created and emailed to the appropriate member of staff, which contains details of which file was approved, by which user, and when. This can be filed on the client file, and is also kept attached to the document within Docsafe.
Docsafe is effectively a secure online folder system, which can be accessed via a link on your website, so it's not allowing anyone into your document handling system. You have to upload the documents you want to share with the client, but it does not take much time and I think this approach has its advantages.
4th Dec 2009
I'm sure my accounts are in there somewhere...
13th Nov 2009
Senior Partner says "Dress Down Fridays" have gone too far