I've stuffed up at work

(36 Posts)
Saturn1066 Tue 17-Nov-20 22:28:42

One of my roles at work is to process and pay employee expenses. I have not been claiming VAT back on any expenses for about a year.

I was confused by the rules, what we can claim back and what we can't, in the end, given my workload and the situation we find ourselves in I ended up just posting the gross amount. I should have asked for clarity for what can and can't be claimed.. I've been neglectful and it's entirely my fault.

At guess, I'd say the unclaimed VAT amount would be about 0.5 - 1.5% of our total VAT payments in a year.

I've royally stuffed up, and I think it's a only matter of time before someone questions why no vat element of expense payments has been posted.

What do you think the likely outcome will be once this gets uncovered?

OP’s posts: |
GreenClock Tue 17-Nov-20 22:32:31

Not claimed from HMRC? Can they not backdate a claim?

Saturn1066 Tue 17-Nov-20 22:34:37

GreenClock

Not claimed from HMRC? Can they not backdate a claim?

Yes from HMRC. I'm unsure, if we can backdate a claim. I of course would spend night and weekend trying to resolve the issue, however I'm more concerned about the disciplinary side of things.

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triceratops12 Tue 17-Nov-20 22:36:20

It's not amazing, but it also shows bad management from whoever looks after your team. When the VAR returns being processed surely it should be picked up then, as this would be lower than expected.

When you found out, did you say anything about your error? In these instances I always think it's best to come clean rather than wait to be found out

grassisjeweled Tue 17-Nov-20 22:36:51

Don't mention it? Is it huge amounts?

Ffsnosexallowed Tue 17-Nov-20 22:37:04

Sorry, but the fact you are more concerned about being disciplined than putting things right speaks volumes

Northernsoullover Tue 17-Nov-20 22:37:18

You need to confess. It will be much worse if you try and hide it. I don't know about the disciplinary side of things but owning up will go in your favour even if its a small favour. Let's face it you are going to feel dreadful with this hanging over you.

toomanyplants Tue 17-Nov-20 22:39:05

100% just own up to your error. The longer it is left the worse not only will you feel, but the amount of discrepancy will rise.
Mistakes happen.

Saturn1066 Tue 17-Nov-20 22:39:49

Ffsnosexallowed

Sorry, but the fact you are more concerned about being disciplined than putting things right speaks volumes

I am just asking the question, I have already said that I will do whatever it takes to fix the error.

It's a tiny amount in the grand scheme of things.

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Saturn1066 Tue 17-Nov-20 22:42:46

triceratops12

It's not amazing, but it also shows bad management from whoever looks after your team. When the VAR returns being processed surely it should be picked up then, as this would be lower than expected.

When you found out, did you say anything about your error? In these instances I always think it's best to come clean rather than wait to be found out

The amount in question is negliable given how much VAT we pay

OP’s posts: |
Oct18mummy Tue 17-Nov-20 22:43:03

You can backdate no issues. We’ve hired a company to go back over the last 5-7 years to do it for us as no one had been doing it manually so don’t panic

Chamonixshoopshoop Tue 17-Nov-20 22:46:55

Own up, have the right attitude, say you'll fix it. You'll be fine.
I question who your accountant is who let this go unnoticed? And as others have said, sounds like you've not been trained properly.

Saturn1066 Tue 17-Nov-20 22:52:20

Chamonixshoopshoop

Own up, have the right attitude, say you'll fix it. You'll be fine.
I question who your accountant is who let this go unnoticed? And as others have said, sounds like you've not been trained properly.

It's a large company with a 7 figure turnover. Debts many multiples of the figure I'm panicking about get written off every year. It really is such a small figure in the grand scheme of things. Yes my own incompetence has caused this, contemplating just handing my notice in as I cannot cope with the embarrassment.

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MissMarks Tue 17-Nov-20 22:58:21

Calm down. I manage staff. I have two finance officers who both regularly make silly mistakes. I NEVER get cross. We just get whatever it is sorted and learn from it. I honestly don’t think you will be disciplined. Just go and speak to your boss and say you are arranging for it to be back paid.

Saturn1066 Tue 17-Nov-20 23:00:03

Thank you, however this isn't just one posting - it's many. Hundreds. I feel nauseous even thinking about it.

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UniversalHadIt Tue 17-Nov-20 23:07:00

Oh god; OP just own up. I’d frame it as something like

“I was looking up (xyz thing about VAT- make something up) and realised that I have mistakenly neglected to post VAT back on expenses over the last 12 months.
I apologise for this error; I estimate there is a value of £xyzzz attached to this claim, and will of course rectify the situation by making a retrospective claim, for which I understand there is a well established process.
As I’ve never done this before, or received training on this, if Susan our accountant could brief me on the best way to deal with this retrospectively I’d be hugely grateful and I’m sure if will speed up the process.
If this is likely to take some time, of course I’ll work overtime until the matter is resolved.”

And leave it at that.

Be more or less apologetic depending on how much this is because you ducked up, and how much it’s because they overwork/undertrain you smile

BeamerTown Tue 17-Nov-20 23:07:13

Here’s what you do - tomorrow, put together a plan for how you’re going to fix it and take it to your boss. Tell them the amounts you’re talking about and the timescale you hope to fix it in. Don’t make excuses or justifications, and I am confident you will come out of it fine. It’s those that make mistakes and then compound them by hiding them etc that get properly disciplined - because it shows poor character, rather than making an everyday mistake.

UniversalHadIt Tue 17-Nov-20 23:11:08

I once lost a member of my team by sending him on a plane to the wrong destination. He was in the air for hours after he should
Have landed- we were very worried. I also lost 3k of foreign currency for the same trip.

Team member was recovered and re-routed as soon as he landed in South America (he found it very funny), and the currency turned up in a pile of post.

I was very very very overworked, very junior, unsupervised and given too much responsibility across too many areas of the business- I just completely lost my head that week.

Didn’t get fired. Quit when the director called me to tell me I was “fucking useless” because I couldn’t get him a forward facing seat on a train he decided he wanted to travel on an hour before departure on a Friday night confused

Scrowy Tue 17-Nov-20 23:18:34

Depending on what system you use it may be very easy to go back, claim the VAT and make a late claim.

For example if all the expenses are coded to one account then it's just a case of opening up that account and either working through them one by one to change the tax rate if not everything in there has VAT,mor some systems will allow you just to apply the right VAT amount to the whole account, then it will just show up as a late claim the next time it's claimed back from HMRC (this is absolutely fine if it's VAT owed to you)

Saturn1066 Tue 17-Nov-20 23:23:18

Scrowy

Depending on what system you use it may be very easy to go back, claim the VAT and make a late claim.

For example if all the expenses are coded to one account then it's just a case of opening up that account and either working through them one by one to change the tax rate if not everything in there has VAT,mor some systems will allow you just to apply the right VAT amount to the whole account, then it will just show up as a late claim the next time it's claimed back from HMRC (this is absolutely fine if it's VAT owed to you)

The expenses have been posted to a number of different marketing codes. The way to solve this problem is to go through the hard copy claims and tally them up with the system. Most claims have various entries, most of which are exempt from vat, some lines are subject to partial vat.. I feel like throwing up thinking about it. I've been so stupid and irresponsible. I'm out of my depths, I need to leave.

OP’s posts: |
GingerAndTheBiscuits Tue 17-Nov-20 23:33:50

But then someone else who doesn’t know the system is going to have to fix your mistake. Own up, take responsibility and put it right. Then you can leave knowing you haven’t left someone else to pick up the pieces.

AnOnly Tue 17-Nov-20 23:40:57

Saturn1066 please stop beating yourself up. There is absolutely nothing you can do between now and tomorrow to resolve the situation so just be kind to yourself (easier said than done I know). You've not harmed anyone and you've realised what's happen and are willing to work to resolve it.

We've all made mistakes, it's what makes us human. Some people take it to heart and beat themselves up, usually unnecessarily, others have the ability to shrug their shoulders and think "oh well, it will get sorted". You sound extremely conscientious but I really don't think you need to punish yourself like this.

Walk in to work tomorrow with an explanation of what has happened, a plan to resolve it and a suggestion on how to make sure it doesn't happen in the future.

All the best for tomorrow. Let us know how you get on.

ScubaSteven Tue 17-Nov-20 23:41:33

Oh OP I feel for you - the first thing you need to do is stop giving yourself a hard time. I've done basic accounts before and had to do the vat return each time. It used to make me feel sick just thinking about it, so I know how you feel.

Will the software not show that the entries haven't been included with the vat? I suppose it depends on the software but I thought you could choose anything that wasn't included in the previous return to be included on the current one? Unless the entries have gone in with incorrect codes of course. I think that can only be done within the same financial year though.

But either way, go to your boss and tell them what has happened. Once it's off your chest you'll feel much better and in a position to put things right. It can be put right, and everyone messes up now and again. The fact that you've noticed and owned up will be much better than if the mistake comes to light further down the road.

greyhills Tue 17-Nov-20 23:45:47

Not recovering vat is far better than claiming what you are not entitled to. That could cause all sorts of unwelcome problems.

You have erred on the side of caution and it can be put right. Prudence is one of the fundamental accounting principles, and that's what you've done. Please don't worry.

What sort of expenses are they?

Saturn1066 Tue 17-Nov-20 23:57:18

greyhills

Not recovering vat is far better than claiming what you are not entitled to. That could cause all sorts of unwelcome problems.

You have erred on the side of caution and it can be put right. Prudence is one of the fundamental accounting principles, and that's what you've done. Please don't worry.

What sort of expenses are they?

AnOnly and ScubaSteven - thank you for your posts.

Greyhills,

This was my way of thinking (if you can call it that) when I was entering the claims, I'd rather not claim for something that I wasn't 100% sure of. The expenses which are of concern are mostly client entertainment, dinners and drinks etc.

I don't know the rules on what can and can't be claimed back, alcohol, who was in attendance, employee only entertainment. However for the amount of time this has gone on for I really can't be excused for this reason, it's purely incompetence.

OP’s posts: |

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