Quote: January was hell – and it was my own fault

An accountant I was chatting with recently made this astonishing admission. I have to admit I was surprised by his honesty and self awareness.

Most accountants blame their clients for ignoring requests to produce their papers in good time to avoid a last minute rush before the 31 January filing deadline for personal tax returns. My friend acknowledged that with him it’s as much a question of priorities. Even if clients do supply their papers in good time he focuses his attention on meeting earlier deadline such as 31 December for 31 March company accounts and, before that, 30 September for 31 December company accounts.  I’ll bet his personal tax return clients wouldn’t want to hear this.

He told me that he incentivises clients to provide all their papers before the end of October each year. He doesn’t always have time to check that the papers are complete and sometimes has to ask for missing details when completing their returns in December and January.

I suspect that my friend is not alone. What do you think and what lessons can we draw from this situation?

By |2011-02-20T11:56:57+00:00February 20th, 2011|Pricing, Uncategorized|

About the Author:

Mark Lee FCA is an accountancy focused futurist, influencer, speaker, mentor, author and debunker.


  1. Proactive Paul 20th February 2011 at 12:02 pm - Reply

    Henry Ford “When would now be a good time?”

    All we have to do (as accountants) is follow our own advice! http://www.proactivepaul.com/?p=428

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  3. Jon Stow 22nd February 2011 at 4:12 pm - Reply

    This sounds like a lack of organisation from an accountant trying to do everything himself. It is a familiar trap.

    In his position I would outsource some work – the stuff he doesn’t enjoy – to one or more trusty subcontractors and have each do what he or she is best at.

    That gets more tasks done in a shorter time and although subcontractors have to be paid it will leave more time for the accountant to do the work he really likes. He will also have more time to market and increase his income to more than pay for the subcontractors. Above all, in terms of stress relief, he will have much less concern about meeting deadlines.

  4. Hhgh Dunlop ACIS, FFA,FIAB 14th February 2012 at 2:49 pm - Reply

    I have several clients who work under the CIS system. Even though I impress upon them that it is to their advantage to submit their SA as soon as possible in order to get any tax rebate due immediately, most seem content to wait until the last minute and lose out on months of interest. They also seem happy to pay the premium fee rates charged for January filings.
    The idea of a monthly fixed charge is appealing, but does not generally work in Scotland. As SAs are filed in a ‘onner’, the Scottish attitude is that nothing is paid in advance before the goods or services are received (Shades of Farepak)
    They will however pay on time for wages and quarterly VAT returns.
    But it seems that last minute filing of accounts may be here to stay.

  5. […] “January was hell – and it was my own fault” […]

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