Member Since: 30th Oct 2007
Chartered Management Accountant Midas Accountancy
17th Sep 2013
Many thanks for all of the responses. I am slowly tackling the issue of fees, for those clients who are getting a bargain and all new business is being taken on with more sensible fees.
I am somewhat limited by the amount of time (& energy) available as I try to run my practice around my young family, school runs and school holidays etc.
If a client were to come to me, with the same set of circumstances as I have I would certainly be advising him that he should consider bankruptcy (seriously it is that bad). The business itself is very lean and very profitable for the amount of time I plough into it. It is my personal finances which are a dire mess. Lets see we have one property (our home) in negative equity and approx £35k in additional unsecured debt. Our monthly outgoings just about match our income including debt repayments (some are on debt plans - £1 per month and others are getting the minimal payment so really no impact on the capital repayment). Bankruptcy is the most sensible option, but having discussed this in a separate topic previously we decided to soldier on. NB We have cut back our outgoings right to the bone and doing what we can to deal with our debt mountain.
Don't get me wrong, I value my CIMA membership and I am very proud of my qualification and status as an ACMA. I just feel that it is a luxury to be paying out in excess of £300 a year every year for what is not really essential to my business. Plus that £300 could be paying off a debt that is incurring interest charges, which would be better for our personal finances.
Thank you for all of the advice given. I'm having a real battle making this decision.
16th Sep 2013
Not sure thats helped but thank you!
it would be a wrench to give up my acma. The subs are £240 pa for the associate fee and then another £84 (or threrabouts) to be an mip. To be honest its the mip fee that really annoys me, we get an emailed newsletter once a quarter which rarely has anything of interest plus the opportunity to spend several hundred pounds attenting the mip annual conference. I do get several clients asking for mortgage references, so I will look into this in more detail.
I have asked for reduced fees before and got a big fat no. A lot of organisations do not recognise the strain of debt on households. on the face of it we have a very healthy income, but most of our income goes to servicing our debts so we struggle each and every month. And once you are in the position where you can barely afford to repay the interst on your debt let alone alone repay the capital it very quickly snowballs out of control. I feel I should point out that much if the debt incurred was cash leant to a family member who could not repay us (we're talking 10s of thousands of pounds), but there you go.
13th Sep 2013
26th Aug 2013
Thank you for the advice
I'm reading up a lot about social media marketing, as I have had a web presence on Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook for some time with no success. It makes sense that it is much easier to engage specific target audiences through each medium if you can narrow down their profile and appeal to them.
I won't be limiting the clients that I take on (unless they are completely outside of my expertise - I focus on micro businesses generally) and my main website will remain the same.
Hope that makes sense and thank you all for your responses! Have a lovely bank holiday everyone!
15th Aug 2013
A huge thank you to everyone for the support and advice. I have already sent out one letter (the first of many) putting my fees up by 50% for my worst client! And have also informed the second worst client that they are going on direct debit.
I feel much more positive going forward. I will post an update in a couple of months to let you know how I get on!
13th Aug 2013
Go Cardless looks fantastic!
I've just taken a look at GoCardless and it's perfect! Thank you for the heads up! And the cost isn't anywhere near as bad as I thought it would be!
I had been using the Keytime suite for accounts production, corporation tax and partnerships and tax returns. But it was costing me over £150 per month. I've moved accounts production to VT and kept on the tax returns software from Keytime. I will be using HMRC software for Corporation tax for the time being. I have found the Keytime software to be excellent, I just struggled with the cost.
12th Aug 2013
Apologies I forgot to answer your question regarding software. I currently use Moneysoft, VT and Keytime (for partnership and tax returns only).
Also, point taken regarding DDs and SOs. I've had a good look through AW Any answers on the subject. DD is definately the better option but I really can't afford the investment just now.
12th Aug 2013
Thank you all for your advice, I really appreciate everyone having taken the time to point me in the right direction.
My first response would be, if I can't get 1.5xGRF it would not be worth it. So this is no longer an option.
It seems I have quite a bit of homework to do! My plan is now as follows:
1. Review and grade all clients. Increase prices 15-20% for grade A clients and between 50-100% for grade D (somewhere in between for the others).
2. Send a standing order mandate (not sure how this works so I will have to do a bit of research on this) to all clients.
3. Aim to build up GRF to £60k in the next 12 months. My marketing plan will be a mixture of developing social media networking (I've read a lot on this so I should be able to do this efficiently) and (as per point 4 below) client referrals from happy clients. I will also send out some direct mailings, which I have used in the past and has always been very successful for me.
4. Retain the best clients by focusing on delivering excellent service and building strong relationships. My feedback on the free survey for Accounting Excellence was very good so I think I need to build on this going forward.
5. Chat with my office roomie regarding the bookkeeping rates. Consider sharing a minimum wage admin person to do the filing and practice admin.
The advice and feedback given has given me a real boost. I cannot thank the responders enough!! Lots to do now so I will sign off. If anyone has any advice for setting up standing orders I would be very grateful! I think I just create my own standing order form and with my details on, send this to the client for signing and they have to send it to their bank?
Many thanks again!
10th Jul 2013
9th Jul 2013
No requests from my clients
I'm probably too cheap. But then I am a bit of "Morris Minor" Service to other accountant's "Rolls Royce".