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Informing Client of late filing

RachelRachel Trusted RegularFMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 349

Just a quick one really

I have a client who I do his bookkeeping for and yes he was a bit late (my first year with him) leaving a month to produce annual accounts. (Yes that is tight but not the issue)

The Accountant has today informed my client that the accounts will be late as a) his work book is usually 30 days (I suppose fair enough) b) He has been sick and c) He is on holiday from today!

I am annoyed because he employed me so that he didn't get a fine again but also if I had more notice I would have been able to produce the Annual Accounts for him in time.

Is this common or should he have been informed earlier?



  • burgburg Experienced Mentor GloucesterModerator, FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 1,440
    I assume due to the deadline it's a limited company?

    I state to clients that there is 9months until the first deadline after a ltd co year end. I give them 5 months to get things to me and 4 months then for me to do the work. I will do work after the 5 months but I state that I will not be held responsible for any filing penalties.

    I normally write just after the year end requesting info to be able to produce the accounts.

    Then chase (letters and phone calls) every month (depending on responses) or so until received.

    Obviously you don't say how many reminders you have had about getting in records. Depending on this I would be putting pressure on to get them done upon his return.

    There's only so much chasing that can be done but to a degree is part of the job.

  • RachelRachel Trusted Regular FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 349
    To be fair I don't know how many reminders were sent, I was just a bit miffed that the client was not informed 30 days ago that there would be no chance they would be at companies house in time.
  • MonsoonMonsoon Font Of All Knowledge FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 4,071
    Rachel don't worry about it too much. We can only do what we can do. I would hazard a guess that the client had been told ages ago (as Ian says, it's often in terms and conditions that if books aren't received by x months before the deadline we can not be held responsible for late filing penalties) but just carried on being slow with getting things together.

    There is only so much chasing you can do for clients and at the end of the day we aren't nannies, and we aren't reponsible for filing the accounts on time if information is not provided to us in good time.

    If the accountant didn't prod the client to get the books in sooner, that's not great (but at the end of the day it is the client's responsibility). To be fair, though, if someone got their books to me 30 days before the deadline, as long as I didn't have any other urgent work, I would bump them to the top of the queue. There needs to be some flexibility in work order (I work on a FIFO basis, first come first served, but I build into my workflow that you know so-and-so will be a bit late).

    For the first time ever, I'm going to file someone's accounts late. They are due on 30th June and the bookkeeping still isn't complete, despite many, many chasers. I don't think it's humanly possible to get accurate accounts completed by then. I feel bad, but I have warned the client over and over, over a period of months, nay, years! I will feel a bit bad that he gets a penalty but I'm not superhuman and there is only so much you can do. We don't get paid to nag them, just remind them at reasonable intervals.

    Bottom line - you've done your job, it's not your fault they will be late.
    I was just a bit miffed that the client was not informed 30 days ago that there would be no chance they would be at companies house in time.

    I don't think I would have said that to the client either. If I tell him that, there is no kick up the arse to get his paperwork in time, which may then lead to a 1 month+ penalty which is £375 I think, not the £150 for being <1month late (sometimes just telling them the amounts doesn't kick them). If I tell him, then he may start complaining about my services, even though I've done my best to get his books in. If I've already told him I need books by x and don't get them, he has been told, and I don't think explicitly saying "it's less than 30 days now, tough luck" is going to help anyone. But then, I'm someone who will juggle my workflow to try and get them in on time, and send plenty of chasers, so I wouldn't impose a set-in-stone deadline beyond which he had no hope.

    I've also learned that staying late/ going in at the weekend to get things in on time often earns you no thanks. I have a life too, and I'm sufficiently long in the tooth to realise I can't bend over backwards to make up for others' shortcomings. I'll do my best to a point, but there has to be a line.

    If you're doing this chap's books next year, prod him as soon as he's had a year end (i.e. in 3 months!). But don't let the weight of it lie on your shoulders beyond where it should :)
  • JmannJmann Feels At Home Registered Posts: 68
    Extend the accounting period

    You can extend the accounting period if you are still within the dead line, i.e. if the filing deadline is 30/06/10 with companies house extend the year end by 3 months, which would give you three months to submit the accounts. (Subject to that you did not extend the year end in last 5 years.)

    Pay the estimated CT to hmrc by the deadline.

    You may be able to shorten the AP. But than you would miss the deadline with HMRC for the payment.
  • snowmaraudersnowmarauder Feels At Home Registered Posts: 99
    I was under the impression companies house dont send reminders anymore, it was on there site last year under the new rules. Perhaps if you mentioned the fines do not get any relief this would make them move a bit quicker.
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