difficult clients


J

June

I am a self employed book-keeper, not an accountant, and have a small number
of clients who I invoice as appropriate.

Some work is undertaken on client premises and some I do in my office.

I am semi retired, so not many clients now but this year I have had two
clients where I have undertaken considerable work, and have not been paid.

On the first occasion, a sole trader was in financial difficulties and
sought advice from a Financial Adviser, who asked for all my clients
paperwork and my computations etc to establish the full extent of his
liabilities to various creditors. I provided all this and I now wonder if it
was correct to provide all this information as I will now not be paid, but
no doubt the financial adviser will, using my paperwork.

The second instance, I advised a sole trader that he needed the services of
an Accountant, although for general book keeping he may wish to retain my
services, Well, he approached an Accountant who wrote to me asking for full
details and his paperwork referring to a code of practice, and asking if
there was any reason that they need to be aware of before they decide to act
for him. I provided all his paperwork, and all my calculations, but did
advise that his cheque for my fees was not met when presented to the bank,
and despite reminders they remain unpaid.

The Accountant has since taken on this client, knowing my fees were unpaid.
The Accountant then submitted his CIS return etc using my figures as HMRC
did not process the new Accountants authority form before they processed the
return and the agreement came to me.

I may be naive, but is that normal within the Accountancy profession, and
would an Accountant simply pass on paperwork and computations at their own
expense, despite unpaid fees?

Moan over,

Thanks in advance
 
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M

Martin

June said:
I am a self employed book-keeper, not an accountant, and have a small
number of clients who I invoice as appropriate.

Some work is undertaken on client premises and some I do in my office.

I am semi retired, so not many clients now but this year I have had two
clients where I have undertaken considerable work, and have not been paid.

On the first occasion, a sole trader was in financial difficulties and
sought advice from a Financial Adviser, who asked for all my clients
paperwork and my computations etc to establish the full extent of his
liabilities to various creditors. I provided all this and I now wonder if
it was correct to provide all this information as I will now not be paid,
but no doubt the financial adviser will, using my paperwork.
Presuming you had the client's authority to hand over the paperwork, there's
prob not much you could do in this situation - except charge for any extra
work in compiling and despatching the paperwork to the FA.

Are you sure, though, that the client does not wish you to continue with
what you've been doing? Maybe when client sees FA's first fee notes, he'll
have a change of heart.
The second instance, I advised a sole trader that he needed the services
of an Accountant, although for general book keeping he may wish to retain
my services, Well, he approached an Accountant who wrote to me asking for
full details and his paperwork referring to a code of practice, and asking
if there was any reason that they need to be aware of before they decide
to act for him. I provided all his paperwork, and all my calculations, but
did advise that his cheque for my fees was not met when presented to the
bank, and despite reminders they remain unpaid.
I would definitely not have passed anything over until o/s account was
settled.
The Accountant has since taken on this client, knowing my fees were
unpaid.
Not very professional. I wonder if he's demanded and got an up-front
payment?
The Accountant then submitted his CIS return etc using my figures as HMRC
did not process the new Accountants authority form before they processed
the return and the agreement came to me.
So were you "64-8 authorised" for the client? And doing returns etc? I do
know that the receipt of ex-clients' stuff from HMRC does not mean there
isn't a new 64-8 in place.
I may be naive, but is that normal within the Accountancy profession
I don't think it's naive to expect client and other accoutnants to behave
professionally. But perhaps not wise... :-(
, and would an Accountant simply pass on paperwork and computations at
their own expense, despite unpaid fees?
I wouldn't. I've even charged (and been paid) for doing such a handover -
but only when the client has pi**ed me off and it's the only remaining hold
over them,,,:)
 
J

June

Hi Martin, Thank you for the reply.

I do not prepare SA Return as I not qualified to use the information that I
provide in the clients best interest.
However, for the PAYE and CIS where it is factual I do prepare returns and
have my clients authority to act.
I complied with the Accountants request for my papers and computations as
the letter stated, " As you should be aware, Mr xxxxxx paperwork, including
your past and present computations, must be forwarded to us within 21 days "

Hopefully I will not find myself in this position again.
 
P

Peter Saxton

Hi Martin, Thank you for the reply.

I do not prepare SA Return as I not qualified to use the information that I
provide in the clients best interest.
However, for the PAYE and CIS where it is factual I do prepare returns and
have my clients authority to act.
I complied with the Accountants request for my papers and computations as
the letter stated, " As you should be aware, Mr xxxxxx paperwork, including
your past and present computations, must be forwarded to us within 21 days "

Hopefully I will not find myself in this position again.
I would have asked the accountant to justify what you quoted. I don't
think you will find many accountants who will say that.
 
J

Jon Griffey

June said:
Hi Martin, Thank you for the reply.

I do not prepare SA Return as I not qualified to use the information that I
provide in the clients best interest.
However, for the PAYE and CIS where it is factual I do prepare returns and
have my clients authority to act.
I complied with the Accountants request for my papers and computations as
the letter stated, " As you should be aware, Mr xxxxxx paperwork, including
your past and present computations, must be forwarded to us within 21 days "

Hopefully I will not find myself in this position again.
Where does this 21 day requirement come from? I have never heard of it.
I wish there was such a requirement. What 'code of practice' are they
referring to? (you don't say what your professional qualifications are)

It is not uncommon to taker on a client who has an outstanding account
with the previous firm. Often the reason they come as there is some
dispute, e.g. the accountant cocked up and they are refusing to pay. We
don't know the exact circumstances here.

Certainly for ACCA qualified firms we are required to hand over info
promptly even though we haven't been paid.


--
Jon Griffey FCCA CTA
Hackett Griffey
Chartered Certified Accountants & Registered Auditors
2 Mill Road, Haverhill, Suffolk, CB9 8BD

Tel (01440) 762024

www.hackettgriffey.com

See website for disclaimers
 
F

Fred

June said:
Hi Martin, Thank you for the reply.

I do not prepare SA Return as I not qualified to use the information that
I provide in the clients best interest.
However, for the PAYE and CIS where it is factual I do prepare returns and
have my clients authority to act.
I complied with the Accountants request for my papers and computations as
the letter stated, " As you should be aware, Mr xxxxxx paperwork,
including your past and present computations, must be forwarded to us
within 21 days "

Hopefully I will not find myself in this position again.
Why "must" and on what basis? Is there some statutory requirement to hand
over these papers?

Normally you would have a lien over these papers and I presume their
preparation has a value attached. I was wondering if you might have a claim
on the new accountants otherwise it would be small claims track at the
county court. If the fee is more than £750 then you have a very heavy stick
at your proposal namely a potential winding up order. It might be asking
further in the uk.legal newsgroups.
 
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R

Ronald Raygun

Fred said:
If the fee is more than £750 then you have a very heavy stick
at your proposal namely a potential winding up order. It might be asking
further in the uk.legal newsgroups.
You can perhaps get a winding up order against a company, but the
OP's clients in question are sole traders.
 

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