Member Since: 5th Mar 2013
14th May 2015
Lexmark v Epson
Original Lexmark supplies are not cheap (especially the colour machines) but the quality of Lexmark printers is outstanding. Usually very high speed (mine bring 45 pages per minute) and very reliable. There are reliable aftermarket supplies for most models including things like the fuser unit which can be reset anyway.
I am not a great fan of Epson or indeed inkjet printers at all although I do have a brother machine because the scanner unit is outstanding and network ready so that things like passports can be scanned directly to the user PC or the server. The cartridges don't have a chip - Brother use an optical system to check the level of ink in the cartridge so the cartridges are far cheaper to produce. For normal monochrome work the Brother fast and the quality is fine but not for letterheads. Epson have a very small waste ink tank in many models and it is hellishly difficult to replace.
Lexmark is fine if you need a high speed low cost monochrome printer (also available as a multifunction machine) using aftermarket supplies. I would recommend a T632/X632. both can be found on Ebay for £100. These machines are laid out for 175,000 pages per month duty cycle so they won't break down easily.
My personal view is that the Ricoh's have definite advantages
14th May 2015
The better Choice
I used to sell these beasts from a chain of 53 shops. All the ink printers are simply too expensive for use in an accounting practise. The cheapest I know of costs around 5p per sheet if you are lucky. The high powered laser printers can drop to as low as 0.75p per sheet if you use aftermarket supplies. The better option may be the Ricoh Afficio GEL printers. They will cost you about 1.2p per sheet using original supplies.
The heavy weight Lexmark lasers will cost up to £1000
The Ricoh should cost £150 - 175 for the multifunction machine and you have the added advantage of environmentally friendly. Laser give off fine dust particle which Gel printers don't so they are staff friendly and Ricoh used to have a 24 hour swap if the machine developed a fault. I don't know if that is still the case.
Hope that helps if you need more info PM me. happy to help
11th May 2015
We are all right
The problem here is that we are all right to a certain degree. Andy's point is valid but it misses the point. You are not an accountant because that is what you do, you are an accountant because that is what you were trained to do and sacrificed for several years. You are a member of a recognised institute and regulated. If then the Indian takeaway worker decided to call himself an accountant it would be much easier for the client to hold him to account when it goes wrong.
The word Chartered or Certified may be regulated but not the word accountant as it is in Europe. If we really want to be in the EEC then maybe we should harmonise? I know there is little chance of that either. Hell after 40+ years they can't even agree on the shape of a plug.
Haven makes the point about the effect of investigations. Sure - they can result from the work of a qualified accountant but they are far more likely as a result of the work of the Indian takeaway worker.
Andy - you make the point that it prevents good people doing their job. Incorrect. If they are good then let them qualify or call themselves something else. Then they can carry on with what they are doing but not commanding the premium that a genuine accountant deserves.
you also make the point about competition again I think that's the wrong side of the coin. It is the Indian takeaway worker who is eroding our price structure which takes into account all the necessary checks which need to be performed.
All the arguments in the world won't bring me away from the view that in addition to the word chartered being reserved, the word accountant should also be reserved and I make no apologies for repeating myself.
Maybe we should adopt the European approach? What you can charge is laid down by law. As a result there are no indian takeaway workers because there is no price competition in that way. That would not sit well with most of us either though.
11th May 2015
Andy - you are correct in what you say but that does not mean that my view is incorrect. The institutes should be doing both enhancing the brand and protecting their members. God knows they live well enough from the fees we pay. Lets have some value for our money!
Jim - a nice balanced (if a little satirical) overview. The fact remains that the public are easily misled into believing that the take away worker can do the same job as a qualified accountant and when the duped client is challenged by HMRC then suddenly there is a vacuum.
If the public want to submit their returns on their own I have no problem with that. They have made a choice and believe they can do the job as well as we can. Should it go wrong they know their decision was incorrect. What if they use the indian take away and it goes wrong? Did they use him believing he was an accountant? This one can charm the birds out of the trees apparently and so can a few others I have come across but it is the clients that suffer.
I stick to my view that the title accountant should be a reserved title. Anyway what harm can it do to have the title reserved ? Can it really be wrong to stop people calling themselves something they are not?
9th May 2015
Andy - my beef is that none of the institutes are grabbing this nettle and no they should not be let off the hook. Even if there were unqualified people who are good I still say they should not be permitted to call themselves accountants and it is the job of the various institutes to get that put in place. There are plenty of other titles they can use to make it clear to the public that they are not qualified. In Germany the use of the title is tightly regulated and there is no reason why it shouldn't be here if only to protect the public from Indian take away workers
9th May 2015
No we are not getting the protection which our institute should be providing and if you ask me that is what we pay for. The client does not know the difference between an "accountant" and a chartered accountant and they seldom ask. If it looks as though the person is a qualified accountant why would they ask?
9th May 2015
I'm not sure how serious I mean this comment but for a long time I have thought that we need to give HMRC an incentive to work with us rather than against us. We know that HMRC are a law unto themselves and seldom admit they are wrong even when it flies in the face of reason.
We should be thinking about actions like filing documents on paper rather than electronically. If we could influence their internal systems (eg if they were swamped with paper) maybe we could get them to listen to our demands.
I have difficulty in believing that any qualified accountant is unable to see a difference between a take away worker and someone who has spent years training and qualifying. We are accountants and the title should be restricted to people who have qualified as such. I have no difficulty setting my status equivalent to a doctor or a solicitor. They train and qualify in an equivalent period to us and our status is well deserved.
I have a plethora of clients who came to me because they have been so badly served by the indian take away type. Most frequently because they have an inspection and the indian take away has turned their back on it because they can't cope with it. Only at that stage did the find out that they were not dealing with a qualified accountant and the institutes and HMRC simply sit on their paws - disgraceful!
29th Apr 2015
In all the time I have been running this office only one client has asked me "are you an accountant?" It's hardly surprising that clients fall in with poor service providers if they don't take the trouble to ask questions. I encourage clients to put a review on Yell.com etc. it's not a guarantee but it is a step forward
27th Apr 2015
I have managed to avoid a penalty from Companies House once. The penalty was not cancelled they simply agreed not to collect it. The way to do it appears to be to continually appeal their decision. Costly and time consuming so only do it out of principle.
24th Apr 2015
In the last couple of years I have been paying close attention to this kind of occurrence. We are taking on over 50 clients per quarter so we see a wide diversity of quality of work. The unqualified accountant is not alone in his glory. We have seen poor quality of work from all levels from the largest in the area to one man bands and of course the unqualified "accountant"
An on-going case of mine which is very similar, the unqualified "accountant" failed to file accounts, submitted fictitious VAT returns etc. (sound familiar?) The "accountant" was arrested and bailed pending enquiries.
A qualified accountant produced the accounts of a partnership T/over £30K per year but he managed to "overlook" turnover of £450,000 over a 3 year period? He contributed a couple of thousand towards my fees!
A business owner I had approached a couple of years ago was perfectly satisfied with the accountant he had used for about 30 years. A year or so later he walked into my shop to become a client. His company including £500.000 worth of assets had been struck off because no accounts had been filed for three years. Luckily we were able to get it back but at some cost.
A new client gained from the largest practise in the area. We had to resubmit the accounts and tax returns for the last 4 years. what a mess!
I could go on for hours!
Until something is done about the unqualified accountant we will always have this kind of chaos and the client believes he is getting a better deal because it is cheaper. What to do about the quality of work from the qualified accountant? I'm open to offers!