Bad Payers

Moobag Registered Posts: 59 πŸ’« 🐯 πŸ’«
I have a client who's books I have looked after for 18mths, they have been some what of a tricky client at the best of times!!!!

They have decided to change their accountants but have not told me they want to cease with my services.

I have an outstanding invoice from June which I have been promised will be paid but still no joy. He gave me a chq but it bounced and promised to give me cash but haven;t seen him since and he won't return my calls!

The problem I have is that he want his year end paperwork. I sent them a back up but his new accountant doesnt know how to use Sage.

I said I would do a hard copy for him but not until I had been paid. I really don't know what else I can do to get my money back.

I feel it is unprofessional to keep back paperwork but knowing how shifty these people are i am certain that once I hand it over I will never see my money.

Has anyone come up against this before and if so what did you do????



  • deanshepherd
    deanshepherd Registered Posts: 1,809
    I believe the legal situation (but don't take my word for it) is that if they are a limited company then it is unlawful for you to retain the documents on the basis of unpaid fees.

    However, if in your letter of engagement you have a clause stating a right to lien over the records then I would not be giving up those records until I was paid.

    I use to send out a letter threatening court action - only costs Β£2!! - I find it does the trick pretty well.
  • monty247
    monty247 Registered Posts: 15 Dedicated contributor 🌟 🐡 🌟

    I have worked in the same Chartered Accountants office for 7 years now and when we are taking on new clients from previous Accountants we always send a letter to ask if there is any reason why we should not take on their business.

    I would suggest contacting the new accountants and explain that you have an outstanding bill.
  • T.C.
    T.C. Registered, Tutor Posts: 1,448
    Simply take them to small claims court. You can do it all online and it does work. You have a genuine outstanding invoice. I have done it once recently and got all my money with costs (it actually cost the ex-client twice as much as the original bill in the end).
  • Julia Crouch
    Julia Crouch Registered Posts: 68 πŸ’« 🐯 πŸ’«

    I would have replied to the new accountant that you do not see any reason why they should not take on your client (if that is the case) but advise them that you are not prepared to release any further paperwork until you have received payment for your outstanding account.

    I agree with Dean regarding the sole trader but I am not so sure on a Ltd co either. Ironically I actually have a ltd co that wants to come to me at present but the director has a dispute going on with them regarding fees, slow service resulting in penalties etc. The CA is refusing to release the books until he is paid.
  • Moobag
    Moobag Registered Posts: 59 πŸ’« 🐯 πŸ’«
    Thanks for the replies.

    I have in fact given them their Sage backup and have sent this to their new accountant who doesn't know how to use Sage!!!! All their paperwork went back to them some months ago, the only thing I have got now is the Hard copy of the P&L which he requested I print out for him last week.

    He is now hanging up on me when I try and call him so have decided to send a letter requesting payment within 7 days, if I still haven't heard from him by then I shall be going downt the small claims route.

    I have spoken to his new accountant and said I shall not be handing over the hard copy until I have payment which he understands.

    The worry I now have is that he hasn't done his accounts yet and they are due to companies house today and I wonder if he will try and charge the fine on to me!!!

    I have not held anything back on purpose in fact I was chasing them for address etc of new accountant so I could send him information but it took over 6 weeks to get anything out of them!
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