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Boss asking me to do something I'm not comfortable with

(32 Posts)
livvylongpants Wed 03-Aug-16 18:34:41

I'm a bookkeeper, long story short is that the company has 2 directors (husband and wife ) they are separating and heading down the divorce route.

Husband director runs the company, wife is never there however is on the paperwork,, he has asked me to start doing various things which will reduce the companies profit, non illegal, but it does feel immoral,

They have kids and have been married a long time and I don't feel comfortable with reducing the marital assets so that he can get away with giving his wife less than she's entitled too!

Wwyd? I feel like I have no choice as it's my job and none of my business but I feel so wrong about it!

GettingScaredNow Wed 03-Aug-16 18:36:19

Nope. You can get another job if he fired you.
But I wouldn't do it.

GettingScaredNow Wed 03-Aug-16 18:37:03

Nope. You can get another job if he fired you.
But I wouldn't do it.

QuackDuckQuack Wed 03-Aug-16 18:53:20

Without knowing the details, it's hard to say. But my initial reaction is absolutely don't do it.

livvylongpants Wed 03-Aug-16 19:14:59

That's the thing, finding another job that's as flexible (I have 3 under 5) and pays as well as this is hard to find! The amounts we are talking are pretty big, I think the marital assists are a few million,

Don't want to divulge anymore as may be identifying

tribpot Wed 03-Aug-16 19:21:50

Is it something where you could say you want the written consent of both directors before you do it? Ultimately I guess it isn't your job to make moral judgement on how the firm disposes of its assets, provided it stays within the law - so for example if it acquired shares in an arms company you might feel morally conflicted by that, but your job is to execute the instructions of the directors.

Surely the intention here is deprivation of assets - I would not be convinced this is legal? So for example, I'm guessing he hasn't decided to give away all the company's profit to Save the Children to reduce its profitability? Isn't he hiding the assets rather than disposing of them?

Is there a professional body you can take advice from?

noeuf Wed 03-Aug-16 19:24:37

Just do your job. It's not up to you to arbitrate on their financial agreements. But also, don't avoid mentioning it to her.
So just treat it as your job, assume the instructions are from both. It's down to her, if she's on the paperwork, to know what's going on in her company tbh.

livvylongpants Wed 03-Aug-16 19:24:50

He has already cleared it with his accountancy firm, and it's legal, such as paying himself a larger salary rather than taking money as a directors loan, and buying more stock etc all legal, but make me feel a bit dirty, especially as a mother myself

SmallBee Wed 03-Aug-16 19:27:59

I'm in a similar field and your scenario is often used as an interview question, the correct answer is usually to speak to the manager further to ensure there has been no misunderstanding and then explain why you don't believe this is acceptable. They should then be able to either assure you that it is or reassess and come up with a new plan. However this doesn't sound like it's an option for you! Can you speak to hr or another manager about the problem and see what they suggest?
Otherwise contact the AAT/ACA/ACCA or CIMA (although CIMA will probably not be great) even if you're not a member they can give you advice on how to proceed.

blaeberry Wed 03-Aug-16 19:29:33

Could you email them both confirming his instructions?

noeuf Wed 03-Aug-16 19:30:19

m in a similar field and your scenario is often used as an interview question, the correct answer is usually to speak to the manager further to ensure there has been no misunderstanding and then explain why you don't believe this is acceptable

Surely that's fair enough if you are worried it's illegal, but if it's a husband/wife matter would you really start raising your moral objections?

antiqueroadhoe Wed 03-Aug-16 19:30:28

That's a really tough one.

FantasticButtocks Wed 03-Aug-16 19:41:45

Can you say to him that you work for them both equally as they are both directors of the company, therefore you feel it only ethical to operate with total transparency and will not be party to any underhand tactics from either of them? Or say that to both of them in an email.

Dear Mr & Mrs Boss, as your bookkeeper and for the sake of absolute clarity I'd like to confirm to you both that, as a matter of personal ethics which I'm sure you'll both appreciate, I will be emailing you both on any bookkeeping issues, so that as joint directors you are each made fully aware of whatever I'm doing. Yours etc OP.

Or something

MrsCampbellBlack Wed 03-Aug-16 19:53:21

Well that's why in my opinion she shouldn't have been a director in the first place. If she's not involved in the business then this is what happens.

And I say this as someone who is very involved in their husband's business for this very reason. Well not just that reason but honestly, if you are happy to reap the dividends you should be present as a director at legal and accountant's meetings.

So if I were you I would double check with him but then just do it. Up to the wife to seek legal advice.

NedStarksHead Wed 03-Aug-16 20:02:12

I'm in a similar situation. Don't want to say too much as is identifying but work for a company directly under the MD.

He makes me do dodgy things and things I know he shouldn't be doing, like changing invoices to make it look it's for the company when I knows it's for his house. He does various tax dodging things and it makes me feel uncomfortable and angry that he gets away with abusing the company so much.

Not much I can do though, I live in an area right now where jobs are thin on the ground and I depend on the flexibility.

I feel your pain in this dilemma!

MrsCampbellBlack Wed 03-Aug-16 20:10:35

Ned - I think that is slightly different in that surely that stuff is illegal? Where as OP says the accountancy firm says what her boss is doing is legally ok although maybe not morally.

NedStarksHead Wed 03-Aug-16 20:15:51

He's got a strong team of accountants - I'm sure it's legal to extent, at least I think?

Even if it were illegal - could I do anything without losing my job?

tribpot Wed 03-Aug-16 20:16:40

But the stock is a company asset? So she will be entitled to half of it? Increasing one's salary is the opposite of what most self-employed people do when trying to reduce their liability in a divorce, so I can see him ending up trying to diddle her as a director only to end up paying her more in child support.

Aren't employee salaries set by the board, I would be surprised if one director could unilaterally decide on a salary increase for an employee?

livvylongpants Wed 03-Aug-16 20:17:20

Can't ask HR as I am HR lol, it's a v small company, 15 employees, the manager is on board, I don't know. Wife's email address, and I've met her a handful old times, but she's very uninvolved company wise

livvylongpants Wed 03-Aug-16 20:19:53

I'm not sure ins and ours, he doesn't mind child support, but he doesn't want to give away any of his company, he mostly wants to pay himself a larger salary and write back sales, he already pays himself a lot but takes it as a directors loan so only pays corporation tax, so the amount being taken would be the same but come out of company profit

DollyBarton Wed 03-Aug-16 20:32:05

If he's not doing anything illegal then do your job. Not your husband, not your marriage. Not even your friend. If you worked for me id expect you to be professional and carry out your work as requested as long as what he is doing is legal.

QuackDuckQuack Wed 03-Aug-16 20:33:23

How can he write back sales? Surely you've either made a sale or not in most businesses.

DollyBarton Wed 03-Aug-16 20:36:46

OP I think you mean dividends not directors loans. Directors loans will incur tax. Even dividends will only be tax free to a low amount (about £35k) and that has just changed so it's only tax free to £5k from next year.

RepentAtLeisure Wed 03-Aug-16 20:37:59

Honestly, if you need the job then do as you're asked as long as it's legal. If you email his wife to confirm instructions you'll probably find your P45 on your desk the next morning...

It does sound awful, but tbh I thought bookkeepers did this kind of stuff all the time! You're going to have to choose between morals and job, but I'm sure he won't struggle to find someone who will do what he wants.

tribpot Wed 03-Aug-16 21:00:19

DollyBarton, the new dividend tax regime came into force in April this year (just FYI).

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