Feeling really disheartened by doing accounts/being an MIP

Sarah-Lou
Sarah-Lou Registered Posts: 141 ? ? ?
As well as being an MIP I work as an accounts manager for a lettings agency. Bosses went to visit accountant today and basically have come back saying i'm doing it all wrong, entries on sage wrong - do I actually know what I'm doing?

Have worked for this company for four years and this is our third accountant, first one they didn't like as they didn't have much input - they queried a couple of entries on sage, second accountant (which incidentally is the biggest company in Cornwall) didn't query my entries but did request I filled in various bits of info for them but this new accountant basically questions everything I've done. Even to the point where I'm frightened of completing the end of year accounts for clients i've had since qualifying as quite obviously i don't know what i'm doing

I use sage at home but accountant requested that the business purchase sage so they can come and instruct me on how to do it properly (rather than me doing the actual business accounts at home) - makes a complete mockery of the years studying AAT and also the Sage courses i've done.

Have got a tax exam in a month but am just ready to throw it all in and go stack shelves in tesco

I have no idea what to do but really couldn't feel any lower at this moment.

Sarah-Lou

Comments

  • noodles
    noodles Registered Posts: 308
    Oh that sounds awful. Don't be disheartened by it, sometimes people just want to feel like they are earning their fee by pointing out other peoples errors which I am sure there are none .... I think if it was me I would ask to see what they felt was being done wrong and then see if they were correct or not without making a big deal out of it.
    You shouldnt be put off, I had a really bad week with a client and glad it is friday, next week will be better .....
  • peaman
    peaman Registered Posts: 123 ? ? ?
    Don't worry Sarah-Lou, I agree with noodles, accountants all too often criticise bookkeepers just to justify their fees. I have worked in an accountancy practice for 18 years and have seen this happen too many times, often when the bookkeeper has done very little wrong.

    There may be one person at the accountants that believes there is only one way to do something and anybody who disagrees is wrong. I would do as noodles suggests, find out exactly what they believe you are doing wrong and keep an open mind, they may be right about some things, they may be wrong about others.

    If you are not sure if what they are saying is correct, put the question on this forum. There are lots of people on here with loads of experience who will gladly offer advice.
  • Sarah-Lou
    Sarah-Lou Registered Posts: 141 ? ? ?
    Thank you, i'm varying in feeling a) i'll ditch it all and b) how dare they question my work lol!

    One example was I received an email querying why I had entered the rent we pay for the office at the wrong amount... didn't occur to them the rent might have gone up. They immediately presumed I'd entered it wrong and didn't bother to reply to me when i emailed them telling them the rent had increased on 'x' date.

    Am quite happy to take constructive criticism after all how do you ever learn but this is just ridiculous. I can appreciate that due to the company structure changing (partnership to ltd) that things maybe will change but the continually picking at little things in the accounts is a) wracking up a big bill (which they then bill as 'further work due to the standard of book keeping not as we expected' b) making me feel like cr*p!
  • peaman
    peaman Registered Posts: 123 ? ? ?
    I have seen all too many times accounts prepared by staff who don't know what they are doing and hence they take too long to prepare the accounts, then they have to justify themselves to the partners and criticise the bookkeepers.

    Make sure the lettings agency know when you are being criticised for something unfairly. You have known them for 4 years, so they should believe you.

    Sometimes accountants give quotes to attract clients that they are fully aware that they will not be able to achieve. They then do the work and have to find a reason as to why the fees are much higher than they have quoted and they usually pick on the bookkeeper.

    I have been in meetings with new clients and the partner has quoted a fee of £1,000 and I feel like hiding behind my hands in shame as I know the client will be charged at least double that!

    Lettings accounts can be a bit of a pain, we have a client that is a lettings agency and they use TaxAssist to do their bookkeeping on a fixed fee basis and their bookkeeping is absolutely shocking.
  • Antoinnette
    Antoinnette Registered Posts: 118 ? ? ?
    I am sorry to hear you are having a hard time Sarah-Lou but don't be disheartened. I had a similar experience a couple of years ago and had to print out all my entries in sage and justify them. It was a horrible feeling because for a minute I thought they were right (because they were the accountants) as it happens they had not been taking note of deferred and accrued income and actually by making me print out my entries it only went to show what THEY were doing wrong.
    Its a horrible to be though and I can just imagine how you are feeling....dont give up though. See it as a very steep learning curve and remember they are the ones that help us grow!
  • reader
    reader MAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 1,037
    Sounds like the accountant in practice has his/her way of doing things which is different to the way that you do things (i.e. you are both probably right but are showing balances in different places/accounts). Worst still, as previously mentioned, if the accountant in practice is not used to doing letting agency accounts they will query the bookkeeping (not because the bookkeeping is poor; just because they don't understand it because of their inexperience).

    Next year it looks like you are going to have to meet the accountant before they start the job so that they can take a look at the trail balance and ask you any questions. They probably just want evidence that every thing on the balance sheet reconciles and is genuine (i.e. old debts written off, old unpresented cheques written off, bank reconciliation statements as at YE, credit card reconciliation statements as at YE, loan reconciliation statements as at YE, petty cash reconciliation statement as at YE, accruals, prepayments, client statements as at YE reconciling back to aged debtors report, etc). That way it will only take your accountant a fraction of the time to do the accounts next year and they will only be able to charge you a fraction of the fee.

    Also, ask if you can take a look at the accounts that they have prepared and demand schedules/reconciliations for any balances that you disagree with. Make sure that your accountants haven't messed things up.
  • Gem7321
    Gem7321 MAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 1,438
    I would ask them for detailed explanations on what you are doing 'wrong' and suggest they meet with you to show you how to do it right, then challenge and correct everything they say!

    Good bookkeepers are worth their weight in gold, they shouldn't belittle you this way and should instead be trying to build a good working relationship with you.
  • stevo5678
    stevo5678 Registered Posts: 325
    Sometimes the accountant blames the book keeper to justify their fees.

    If they are querying things like why is rent a higher and making such a fuss I'd question their competence.

    All I care about when doing a sage job that a book keeper has prepared is:

    a) The bank reconciles
    b) The ACR and ADR agree tot he TB
    c) Hopefully opening balamces have been posted (not essential)
    d) The book keeper hasn't gone back into last year and posted additional journals since financial accounts signed off.
    e) They have had a good attempt of splitting expenditure between correct codes
    f) They have co**ed up the VAT and I can reasonably reconcile it at YE

    If you have done all of this then they are throwing their toys out of the pram as anything else is pretty much 'added value' anyway.
  • Monsoon
    Monsoon FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 4,071 ? ? ?
    Sarah, do not let this get you down!

    If you know they are picking up on things that are correct, then trust your own judgement.

    If you know they have picked up on a genuine mistake, then learn from it.

    If you've worked for this company for years, then you need to say something and suggest that the accountant may be unduly critical. Be confident and assertive and don't let this get you down - you know your stuff

    J xx
  • stevo5678
    stevo5678 Registered Posts: 325
    stevo5678 wrote: »
    Sometimes the accountant blames the book keeper to justify their fees.

    If they are querying things like why is rent a higher and making such a fuss I'd question their competence.

    All I care about when doing a sage job that a book keeper has prepared is:

    a) The bank reconciles
    b) The ACR and ADR agree tot he TB
    c) Hopefully opening balamces have been posted (not essential)
    d) The book keeper hasn't gone back into last year and posted additional journals since financial accounts signed off.
    e) They have had a good attempt of splitting expenditure between correct codes
    f) They have co**ed up the VAT and I can reasonably reconcile it at YE

    If you have done all of this then they are throwing their toys out of the pram as anything else is pretty much 'added value' anyway.

    Sorry about my typing, I'm shocking when rushing!

    f) Should be they 'haven't' co**ed up...

    My other typos are pretty obvious LOL.
  • Dcollins
    Dcollins Registered Posts: 179 ? ? ?
    Most, if not all, of us have felt like this at some point. It will pass, and things will get better. You have a good history with the lettings agency, so try not to worry.

    Presumably the accountant wants the company to buy Sage from them? Then charge a fee for training? Sounds like an income generation plan.

    Good luck with your exam, it will be worth it.
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