Is feeling lost!

LynWest Registered Posts: 122 ? ? ?

I had chased my client for there second VAT return, i am just the bookkeeper and not the accountant. It is a pub and i finally got the paperwork a day after the VAT return was due, i prepared the VAT return and on the takings book i noticed that the first days of the period were missing, thinking that they may be in the previous quarters book. i was correct however, upon flicking through the previous quarters book i noticed that randomly about a quarter of the way in were some more figures. They were i later learn figures for another till's takings! So i prepared the VAT return to include these figures too. I advised the client and they said that they couldn't afford the VAT i said i didn't know what to suggest, they said they could only afford to part pay part of the undeclared from the prior return. I have just called to advise that the whole return should be declared and then they need to pay what they can and arrange a payment plan for the remainder with HMRC. They have said that they do not wish to do that and they want the VAT return for this quarter plus one undeclared month to be submitted. I said that if HMRC were to investigate they would view this as deliberate concealment of income, to wish they said if i had declared it in the first place they wouldn't have this issue and that if they had known i hadn't declared it they could have acted upon it, but i hadn't and they said that would be their defence is it came to an investigation. They said that i was to declare the this quarter plus one month only and when they had the money together to pay that they would then ring HMRC to declare the other months then. I don't feel right submitting it should i ethically when i know it is incorrect? but i cannot file the correct figures because the client will not agree them. I feel between a rock and a hard place and could cry. My ommission was a genuine error as it was a new book and i had worked through the book of takings in chronological order, there are then about 50 blank pages until you come to these other figures. Please can someone advise me **v.unhappy**


  • LynWest
    LynWest Registered Posts: 122 ? ? ?
    sorry for all the spelling and grammar mistakes in the above having a bad evening
  • Monsoon
    Monsoon FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 4,071 ? ? ?
    Lyn **hugs**

    It really is a rock and a hard place. You can't submit the VAT return with the incorrect figures. Ethically and professionally it isn't right. The correct thing to do is to explain you can only submit the correct figures.

    I know this is going to be blunt, but if they aren't the type of client who is going to respect you, or understand their books were a mess and thus accept their contribution to this, then this might be one to let go.

    You need to take a deep breath, tell yourself you've done your best, and be strong when you talk to them. You can only submit the correct return (obviously some bookkeepers would 'fudge' it like they've asked, but I can't recommend that, and if you feel uncomfortable about it then it's even more of a no-no).

    In theory, if you explain your position calmly, clearly and professionally, they ought to accept it, respect it, and take your advice. This I what I recommend you do.

    If they they and bully you into getting their own way and don't respond to a decent approach, then I think you might need to tell them where to go.

    Sorry, just been writing a blog post on problem clients so I'm all of the 'sack them' mindset tonight! But either they accept doing it correctly, or you deliberately do it wrongly, or you part ways. I don't see any other choice I'm afraid.

    Good luck and let us know.
  • LynWest
    LynWest Registered Posts: 122 ? ? ?
    Thanks Monsoon hug much appreciated! i'm not a fudge it bookkeeper as i wouldn't sleep at night if i was, i have to do things correctly well at least to the best of my knowledge we all make mistakes. That's for the bluntness too i needed it as much as the hug! I will be strong tomorrow and will let you know how i get on. Thanks again for the kick up the bum and the reinforcement to my confidence to tell them straight!!

    ps On another subject completely, i registered last week as an ATT student and wondered what Tolley books you used for study please? I think i shall only be able to get the Personal Tax one done in time for the November 2012 exams at the moment.
  • Monsoon
    Monsoon FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 4,071 ? ? ?
    Woohoo ATT! I used the TQT books from BPP for the tax modules and I have the Tolleys distance learning pack for the e assessments.

    And thanks, glad it helped. Remember you can lead a horse to water but if it starts poking you in the face you probably want to leave it alone :)
  • LynWest
    LynWest Registered Posts: 122 ? ? ?
    Thanks. LOL that really did make me laugh out loud, i shall remember that! Sound advice i think!!! :D x
  • ademoore
    ademoore Registered Posts: 146 ? ? ?
    Monsoon has given really great advice!

    From my perspective, I have had clients ask me to bend the rules too, but I won't, and have replied to them that I will only submit returns that are as true and fair to my knowledge as possible. Risking bendingthe rules potentially costs the client more in inspection through penalties etc, so if they want to keep their money, then correct submission is the way to go! If, however, they are intent on trying to do things their own way, I have told them they need to seek another accountant/bookkeeper! They have usually got the message from that, be stern, and stand your ground. If they back you into a corner, let them go! Also, you have consider if they do this for their VAT return now, could they put you in other detrimental situations in the future, I wouldn't want that, and I doubt you want that risk either. :thumbdown:

    Good luck with it!
  • Monsoon
    Monsoon FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 4,071 ? ? ?
    Good call Ade :)

    Also, Lyn, put your recommendations in writing. Cover your behind. :)
  • villapb
    villapb Registered Posts: 357
    Get a box, put all the paerwork in it and drop it off at the bar, have a pint and say byeeeeeee
Privacy Policy