Bookkeeping advice

Discussion in 'Accounts & Finance' started by Bay, Aug 6, 2019.

  1. Bay

    Bay UKBF Contributor Free Member

    59 3

    Many thanks in advance of any help.

    I don't feel like I'm getting a good service from my accountant. I would like some advice as to confirm this and perhaps some recommendations on alternative options.

    I pay a monthly fee for all accounting and bookkeeping work. I pass all paperwork on and they do the rest. The fee seems reasonable.

    Typically I receive quarterly accounts although they do promise monthly. The weak link in the system is my consistency in handing over paperwork. However I feel they should help with reminders etc. My issue now is I am experiencing tough conditions financially, and I have absolutely no idea how I'm doing as business. My year-end was March I still have not received finalised accounts. On requesting up-to-date information on this previous quarter they said they can't give me anything as the previous year hasn't been signed off on Sage ( I have been up to date with paper work for a while now). They assured me that the work has been done they're just waiting for something from the revenue.

    I'm in a position where I need to be making potentially big decisions about future of the business. My stress levels are extreme. And I have absolutely no idea how the business is doing other than looking at my bank account. I'm in construction so is typical to be in debt as we are on monthly billing.

    On my last conversation I felt I was being fobbed off a little. It seems crazy and I'm sure this is not a good way running finances in business. They cont even give me an approximation of P&L.

    I look forward to hearing for you,
    Posted: Aug 6, 2019 By: Bay Member since: Mar 6, 2019
  2. Gordon - Commercial Finance

    Gordon - Commercial Finance UKBF Ace Free Member

    1,828 548
    You're the weak link. Fix it.

    If you're not happy with the responses you're getting from the accountants, look elsewhere, but wherever you go, you're going to bring that weak link with you.
    Posted: Aug 6, 2019 By: Gordon - Commercial Finance Member since: Jun 26, 2017
  3. STDFR33

    STDFR33 UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    3,999 1,018
    The problem isn't your accountant, it's you.

    If you want monthly accounts, as agreed, then get your arse in gear and send them the paperwork to enable them to do that.

    Pick up the phone. Call them. Tell them you are worried about the finances of your business - apologise for been slack and agree a way forward on the basis of you providing paperwork in a timely manner.

    It seems you have been slack and expectations have slipped along the way.
    Posted: Aug 6, 2019 By: STDFR33 Member since: Aug 7, 2016
  4. Bay

    Bay UKBF Contributor Free Member

    59 3
    Not quite the response I was expecting...

    In this specific instance they have had the paper work for last year (end of yr is end of March) for at least 2 months. The reason Im the weak link is not negligence its because I run a complex business and Im all over the place. This shouldn't be my job I will always be bad at it. I was thinking along the lines of using Zero or similar and have an admin do the book keeping and retain the Accountent for final account etc. Or getting in a proper book keeper for a morning a week?

    I turn over 400k plus and was wondering what a similar business might do? Surely saying its just the Directors fault for not organising the paper work is not helpful in advising on structuring some sort of internal system for solving the problem?

    Posted: Aug 6, 2019 By: Bay Member since: Mar 6, 2019
  5. Gordon - Commercial Finance

    Gordon - Commercial Finance UKBF Ace Free Member

    1,828 548
    It was you who said you were the weak link....not us
    Posted: Aug 6, 2019 By: Gordon - Commercial Finance Member since: Jun 26, 2017
  6. KM-Tiger

    KM-Tiger UKBF Legend Full Member - Verified Business

    9,928 2,636
    Depending on the number of transaction that may well be sufficient to keep you up to date on a weekly basis. It will work better because any questions your bookkeeper has you can answer directly.

    The bookkeeper could generate reports for you or you could view them in software when you are ready. Either way you will have up to date information when you need it.
    Posted: Aug 6, 2019 By: KM-Tiger Member since: Aug 10, 2003
  7. Scalloway

    Scalloway UKBF Legend Free Member

    15,597 3,292
    Two reasons to use something other than Sage
    1. You can't produce reports on Sage until the previous year has been closed
    2. You have to rely on somebody running the reports for you
    I would move to an online accounting system at the first available moment.
    Posted: Aug 6, 2019 By: Scalloway Member since: Jun 6, 2010
  8. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    18,457 2,128
    Your business is complex? Many are. Come up with processes to simplify your paperwork.
    So set yourself reminders or have staff remind you to get paperwork to accountant.

    2 months having the paperwork for y/e March and they haven't produced accounts? Is that not their busy time of year?
    Be concerned if not ready by 1st November, don't be concerned if not ready in early August.

    Alternately have some member of staff do the bookkeeping and provide you with whatever - they can chase you for paperwork themselves. Perhaps a personal assistant who is good at paperwork - and don't bite their head off when they chase you for paperwork to make you more efficient.

    You know where the weak link is, you know you have problems with paperwork. The solution to the problem you already know.
    Posted: Aug 6, 2019 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
  9. ecommerce84

    ecommerce84 UKBF Regular Free Member

    620 198
    There’s a big difference between book keepers and accountants, which is why you should be using both.

    Your books should be as up to date as possible, I try and ensure mine are up to date to the day, but they are never more than a week out of date. I couldn’t live with just quarterly, I can’t believe there are many businesses where those at the helm (CEO, MD etc) only receive quarterly figures.

    And as Scalloway says, find someone that doesn’t use Sage. With something like Xero or Quickbooks and an efficient book keeper, you’d be able to log in yourself to check reports etc.
    Posted: Aug 6, 2019 By: ecommerce84 Member since: Feb 24, 2007
  10. johndon68

    johndon68 UKBF Big Shot Full Member - Verified Business

    3,398 625
    That's not been the case for quite some time, there are versions of the management reports that can be run for a date range.

    Posted: Aug 6, 2019 By: johndon68 Member since: Nov 2, 2009
  11. MyAccountantOnline

    MyAccountantOnline UKBF Legend Full Member

    12,891 2,399
    Ask your accountants exactly what it is that they are awaiting for from HMRC which is preventing them completing the accounts. It sounds odd.
    Posted: Aug 7, 2019 By: MyAccountantOnline Member since: Sep 24, 2008
  12. Alex_B

    Alex_B UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    5 0
    Something does sound a little odd, however, 2 months is not a very long time if they are waiting for a response from HMRC.

    Your current accountants should be able to give you an approximate position, unless there is something missing that we do not know about. Some versions of Sage do allow you to log in remotely, so you could ask to do that, but, if accounts are not your strong point, it might not be that helpful for you, especially with a system like Sage (which is aimed more at accountants than at business owners).

    I would recommend that you figure out exactly what you need to know from them (rather than a generic, "where am I?") and ask them for that specific information, prefereably on an email, so you have it clear and can refer back to it. If they cannot provide that answer find out why (again in writing so its clear).

    If after everything, you find that the relationship is not working and you are sure that the problem is not at your end, then yes, definitely look to changing things. You should look to switching to modern cloud accounts software anyway.

    One final point, your accountants are there to work with you, they cannot be responsible for you. A good accountancy firm will chase you for your records and give you warnings on deadlines, but they will not go out of their way if you don't supply those records, as they will always have other clients and work to focus on too. Ultimately it's your business and unfortunately that means that everything is your responsibility.
    Posted: Aug 8, 2019 By: Alex_B Member since: Aug 5, 2019
  13. TopSpek

    TopSpek UKBF Contributor Free Member

    44 4
    Automated reminders and notifications about upcoming events are trivial. Use a task scheduler - e.g. cron on Linux operating systems, along with simple programs which are invoked by the scheduler at pre-defined intervals.

    Once awakened, a program on the scheduler can check all kinds of conditions to see whether they have changed in such a way as to alert you. You can also receive text alerts to remind you of those notable events in your life. Can be set up to interact with your accountant, yourself, or both.

    Why not sit down one evening and write down all the events you want to be notified of, then get in touch with your favourite software developer. If your software developer is on the ball, then neither you nor your accountant would need to have a website or do any of the configuration. Simply describe the events, dates, email addresses, etc., and your software developer will take it from there. :)

    Hope this helps.

    Last edited: Aug 8, 2019
    Posted: Aug 8, 2019 By: TopSpek Member since: Jul 15, 2019