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Remembering to file VAT returns, me or accountant?

(14 Posts)
GrumpyOldBag Wed 06-Apr-16 19:37:42

I started using an accountant about 10 months ago, when I moved from sole trader to limited company and registered for VAT.

Accountant files the VAT returns but does not keep track of when they are due, and I have to remind him every quarter. Shouldn't he be the one reminding me?

Chasingsquirrels Wed 06-Apr-16 19:40:17

With my clients where i do their VAT and file I always remind them.
I have quarterly reminders on my Outlook and get email reminders from HMRC that the returns are due.
I think it's pretty rubbish that you have to remind your accountant.

flowery Wed 06-Apr-16 19:42:11

In the days when it was just me doing everything, if my accountant hadn't reminded me it wouldn't have got done!

GrumpyOldBag Wed 06-Apr-16 19:42:27

That's what I thought squirrels.

GrumpyOldBag Wed 06-Apr-16 19:43:03

I also had to ask him about paying my dividends before 6th April - basically did all the research myself.

stumblymonkey Wed 06-Apr-16 19:57:50

Sounds rubbish!

Is he an accountant that specialises in working with freelancers/contractors?

GrumpyOldBag Wed 06-Apr-16 20:33:11

Yes, specialises in owner-managed businesses.

He is a friend of DH's though so it's difficult to give feedback.

Khantbebothered Wed 06-Apr-16 21:55:44

Why have a dog and bark yourself! that's bonkers, accountant should be making your life easier, so you can concentrate on your business!

stumblymonkey Thu 07-Apr-16 10:05:49


How close a friend? If not that close can you pretend to be going back perm/giving up and then find a new accountant?

Badbadbunny Thu 07-Apr-16 11:39:12

Would you have chosen them if they hadn't been a friend?

Are they actually a qualified accountant or one of the many unqualifieds who've spent a couple of years in an accountant's office and chosen to set up on their own?

Sounds as if it's time to move on. Plenty of excellent small business accountants who look after their clients properly.

Badbadbunny Thu 07-Apr-16 11:43:50

But then again, what have you agreed for them to do? Some accountants are reluctant to spend time on planning/proactivity because of client fee resistance. Maybe time to check the letter of engagement.

Client comes in and says they want annual accounts and tax return, that's what they get the fee quote for. Then they get unhappy that the accountant isn't giving them extra tax planning advice, which they've not asked for and aren't paying for.

Like taking a car to a garage to have a wheel changed. You wouldn't expect them to check everything and tell you the oil is low.

It all comes back to what services were agreed at the outset. Clients all have varying needs from their accountant. I've clients who've got annoyed with me when I've sent them reminders as they already had it in hand!

GrumpyOldBag Thu 07-Apr-16 13:32:47

Thanks Bunny, good advice. He works for a long established accountancy firm in a senior position, but we never really discussed at the outset exactly what he would do other than file the accounts and VAT.

The reason I decided to go with him, rather than my local company, is that local company wanted to charge a monthly fee, whereas we agreed he would just charge on an ad hoc basis for work done - and I know my accounts are really simple as I'm the only employee and only have a small number of clients so number of invoices is low.

I think we need to have a better discussion about expectations and make it clear that I'm happy to pay more for a higher level of service.

StereophonicallyChallenged Thu 07-Apr-16 13:54:02

I think Bunny has hit the nail on the head.

Preparing vat returns and/or filing them is a set piece of work, easily billable by the hour.
Reminding/planning/chasing before deadlines are all over and above preparing vat calcs. and are not so easy to charge for on an ad-hoc basis iyswim.

Go back and discuss your requirements and see if you can agree on what you need and if he can provide that for you smile

GrumpyOldBag Thu 07-Apr-16 15:46:12

Thanks all for the collective wisdom of Mumsnet!

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