Member Since: 25th May 2016
11th Oct 2019
Brilliant article Lucy. If I had written an article on the same subject myself, it would have been pretty much word for word the same as you have written.
I run a small sole practice, for just the same reasons as you mention for running your own show. Mainly a lack of always feeling you always under the control and whim of a boss. (Although now I'm under the control of about a hundred bosses - the clients!) And freedom, even though that sometimes means the freedom of having no-one to stop you working 18 hours straight over the last weekend in January.
If you are an ICAEW member, you may not be aware that ICAEW has a Support Member service, whereby CAs can phone up one of around 70 SMs around the country, to talk over any sort of problem they have with their business or, in fact, life in general. (Big overlap there quite often.) These SMs are all working accountants, so with proper "hands on" experience of the problems that can occur in the life of a CA an all receive training via ICAEW before they become an SM. They are specifically exempted from the requirement to report misconduct, so callers can be candid about themselves or their clients. (This doesn't extend to criminal breaches - if the caller says he's just shot his client, you have to tell someone!)
I'm one the Support Members myself, and have been since their inception in 1995. However, despite being a usually confident and outgoing person, I came close to having a nervous breakdown about five years ago as a result of a combination of a pending Quality Assurance visit, and the simultaneous discovery that a client had been dipping into his client account. And me - a Support member? Physician heal thyself!
SMs do not pretend to be mental health professionals, (anyway most of the calls are not that dramatic, often we just need to be a "listening ear".
At the first sign of anything that sounds like a real case of depression or worse, we will refer the caller to the Chartered Accountants Benevolent Association ("CABA") where they will be hooked up to some proper professional attention.
Again, brilliant article Lucy. In my experience, just the simple knowledge that they are not the only one feeling that way is often all that is needed to make a considerable difference to how a person may be feeling
21st Feb 2019
Has anyone produced any accounting software that will stop our dear beloved clients from:
1) Posting Car HP payments ( or even the cash purchase of a car) to Motor and Travel
2) Posting an expense invoice to a p&l nom account, and then posting the payment of that invoice to the same p&l account.
3) Posting a drawing against director's loan account to Directors' remuneration.
4) Posting the payment of the director's child's school fees to Legal and Professional. (That might be the client himself doing the book-keeping...)
Any other examples anyone?
You'll still get clients saying "Got everything done on Quickbooks (or Xero, whatever) this year. Absolutely everythings in there! I think your fee this year should be about half what it was last year..."
Hmm -- everything is indeed in there. Sometimes even twice. But getting accounts out of it? Its like trying to get the milk back out of a cup of coffee.........
2nd Jun 2017
About 20 years or so ago I wrote a piece for The London Accountant magazine on a similar problem for accountants when the first computerised accounting programs came in (Sage and suchlike) I wrote then that what was coming back from clients was the equivalent of the old brown paper parcel jobs, and referred to these optimistic backup disks coming in as "Brown Paper Disks". As the OP suggests, this can now be updated to "Brown Paper (or now plastic bagged) spreadsheets.
The client will give us now (instead of a disk) a spreadsheet with more than you could or would need, and will tell you that there is no problem as "everything is in there" Well, yes it will be, sort of, sometimes even twice or more. For example, car HP payments will still be entered under motor expenses, motor vehicles, and heavens knows where else, and no attempt will be made to split capital from interest. Or are they lease payments? Who cares, the accountant can deal with it. ("Oh and I can get 45p a mile as well, can't I?") I've even come across spreadsheets where the totals are just numbers typed in because the client doesn't know how to use the totalling formula.
So yes, it will "all be in there" for sure. But getting it into anything like an MTD-able submission will be like trying to get the milk back out of a cup of coffee.
Happy days ahead, colleagues. If I wasn't thinking of retirement quite yet last year, I certainly am now!
1st Jun 2017