Having taken on a new client recently, there were so many issues that arose from the prior accountant's workings. This is not knocking “unqualified” accountants, but there is nowhere for the client to go if that (unqualified) accountant chooses not to respond to our queries. I saw a similar question on a web site recently about where to complain – someone had posted a link– which led to a picture of a brick wall!
If the agent had been a member of a professional body, a complaint could have been made. We have had cause to do this recently in another case where the previous agent had not filed company accounts on time; was not providing any information whatsoever and was telling the clients to “go away”, but in much more colourful language.
The clients in the first scenario above relied implicitly on their accountant to do all the bookkeeping, access their bank account to pay bills, do the payroll, VAT, statutory accounts and personal tax. This was all kept in the accountant's own cloud software they had developed themselves. A review of the accounts filed at Companies House contained several disclosure errors, including showing the corporation tax separately from which approx. profits could be guessed at (multiply by 5!) . We were £6,000 out when we saw the full accounts – a high six figure sum!
There were some fundamental issues when we received more detailed figures – not from the accountant – but from the cloud software!
The detailed list of aged debtors was £7k more than the control account on the trial balance. The detailed list of aged creditors was £24k different to the control account balance. The aged creditors included a supplier called “Prior year adjustment” with a £36k balance. The VAT return to the period of handover showed £71k payable, the VAT account on the balance sheet showed £95k. PAYE balance differed to the after date payment by £2k. 4 shareholders in the company hold 1 share each – but the dividends payable to them were different in each case - (and they had no knowledge of "dividend waiver". There was a "suspense account" of £14k on the balance sheet
And the list goes on…… and explanations and reconciliations are still awaited.
The prior accountant had said it would have been sorted In the normal course of events – but they will now charge for this and it could take a few weeks – despite the fact that a lot of the issues and balances relate to March 2017 accounts which he has signed off already.
Still struggling here with this client and trying to sort the mess as far as possible.
And whilst in “grumpy" mode, another accountant has signed off accounts filed at Companies House with the qualifications ICPA APA FTCA. Who does someone complain to here if needs be?
The first letters are a membership organisation and it appears you just pay to be a member. The website does say that the letters can be used after the name. We could all have a string of initials if we so chose listing "membership" organisations…..so I could be FCA CTA(Fellow) RAC 2020 NDSSC NT…..to name but a few.
APA – no idea what this? FTCA – my Google search indicates this might have been an organisation a few years ago but now defunct?
And the final "moan" for this week – some accounts at Companies House were filed by a firm calling themselves “chartered accountants”, but they are not! This was reported to ICAEW and hopefully action is being taken to stop this practice. No doubt the excuse will be “I did not know how to change it in the software” (or am I being cynical?)
Any suggestions welcome!