1. Waiting on hold to HMRC! Even with the new hold music and also Claire from Loud and Clear Accounting producing alternatives (😂 https://www.linkedin.com/posts/claire-owen-jones_musicforaccountants-hmrc-music-activity-6975014507991420928-UqlQ?utm_source=share&utm_medium=member_android) this is not my favourite way to spend my time!
I stack queries up, keep an ongoing list of queries from clients and questions that I have and call the agent helpline once every couple of weeks with them all…. the agent helpline is good for most queries but even us accountants need to call various different numbers for the different taxes.
2. Delivering a surprise tax bill is also not something I enjoy doing. I work closely with my clients so giving them unexpected news is not what I like. To avoid this, I encourage clients to use FreeAgent to keep their books up to date. FreeAgent includes a tax timeline feature so they can check their estimated tax bill regularly. I also teach an easy cash management system which includes saving 15% of all income for your tax bill. Thirdly I encourage filing early… not waiting until January then being surprised at your profits and tax bill for the previous year.
3. I do not like stressfully working to a filing deadline…. which is why January isn’t my favourite time and also why I don’t take on any clients in the winter months. Companies House and HMRC allow us to file 9 months after the financial year and tax year-end… I like to submit 3-6 months after year end, not 9! Giving you 3-6 months advance warning of your self-assessment and/or corporation tax bill.
4. Realising I’m not a good fit for a client. Urgh. No-one enjoys this. I strive to do a good job for all of my clients so if I realise that someone else would be a better fit for a client after we have started working together, it’s hard… but I have disengaged a few times over the years and if a client requests it I will happily refer them on to someone more suitable. We can’t please everyone all of the time, nor do we want to.
5. And finally, no one likes tax investigations, not even accountants, and not even when you know everything is fine… it’s the same feeling as worrying you’ve done something wrong when you spot a police officer 😆. Unfortunately I can’t avoid tax investigations in my job and now with over 200 clients they are increasingly likely. However I do make it less of a problem for me and clients by partnering with Markel Tax for tax investigation insurance cover… clients if you don’t already have this, ask me about it.
What are the worst bits of your job and how do you deal with them?