The Book-keepers Forum (BKF)

Post Info TOPIC: Setting up own practice


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Setting up own practice


Hi. Firstly, apologies if Im posting in the wrong section. Im a fully qualified ACCA accountant and am looking to start my own bookkeeping practice. I only want to do bookkeeping and not full accounts for various reasons. I have started the legwork in relation to registering the company with companies house and the legal aspects etc but wondered what the next step was. In the process of creating the website and have done a refresher bookkeeping course although Im confident with what Im offering.  

Any advice with what I need to do next? Advertising / marketing etc? Thank you all in advance. 

 



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Ally



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Hi ?
Please add your first name so that it appears under the signature bar when you post (profile ---> edit----> signature section). So much friendlier to use a name rather than 'oi you'. Also if you could populate your first name at the very least in your profile.

Secondly - you state bookkeeping only, but what specifically are you wanting to cover? I take it you do not mean tax returns for sole traders/partnerships and passing all such work on, plus limited accounts to a suitably qualified Accountant? I only ask because ACCA are ultra strict, Reg 8 wont allow you past TB, so even that means no journalling for accruals/prepayments without suitably qualified (and registered) supervision.

Lots to do before you advertise, not least - checking you are ok to practice with your supervising body, MLR registration (can take months, should take 45 days), getting appropriate PII cover, get your agent accounts set up, ICO registration, reading up on GDPR and MTD.

Any thoughts re what you are doing for MTD?

There is a wealth of information on this site already on all of these topics, so I would start by grabbing a brew (laced with something alcoholic always helps) and having a good read. Dont go back further than a year for tax stuff.

Ive never advertised/marketed my business and am at capacity (and still getting clients) so dont spend too much on it, there are other ways (again all on here!)

Welcome to the madhouse!


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Joanne  

Fallows Hall Ltd 

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Thoughts are my own/not to be regarded as official advice,which should be sought from a suitably qualified Accountant.

 



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Hi there! Sorry , I thought I had my name posted (clearly you can tell Im a newbie!) thank you for your reply! In relation to the strict rules of ACCA, yup, I have read up on it and there are a few strict rules in place. I only want to do bookkeeping side - payroll if necessary (I have done that all at my previous work so feel I have the experience) Tax is definitely not my strong point (dont want to lie and say I know it when I dont!) But I live in a small town and I know of one small business that wanted their bookkeeping so hoping the other businesses feel the same! Thanks again for your reply. Definitely need to get a drink and start reading the past posts for some good tips! From Ally ;)

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Ally



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Ps Im posting on my phone hence the rubbish grammar. Im not usually this bad!

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Ally



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Ps Im posting on my phone hence the rubbish grammar. Im not usually this bad!

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Ally



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Ps Im posting on my phone hence the rubbish grammar. Im not usually this bad!

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Ally



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Hi Ally
I usually blame my glasses.

Being on your phone you probably can't see the part I'm talking about re the signature bar. You will see it on your PC. Just saves folk looking back at the history.

What is your accounting background? Are you currently working in a practice, or in industry?

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Joanne  

Fallows Hall Ltd 

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Thoughts are my own/not to be regarded as official advice,which should be sought from a suitably qualified Accountant.

 



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Will take a look at that on my laptop. Sorry about that! I am in Industry currently (about 5 years post qual) and actually have no practice experience at all. I often hear mixed things regarding setting up on your own without practice experience so not sure your thoughts?

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Ally



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A lot depends on how wide your experience is in your working life. Me - I had no formal practice experience. But I do come from a heavy corporate finance background and used to the other end of ripping apart final accounts, forecasts, budgets and businessplans etc.

A lot of bookkeeping folk find it hard to get to the number of clients where its financially secure/(really) rewarding, not a problem I ever had, but then ACCA (with MIP) can command £xxx as opposed to ICB £x /£xx per hour, so given you probably sweated blood to get where you are I would say take every advantage to get your MIP with them. Depends what you want out of life.

Any chance you can use your contacts to get some practice experience? Worth its weight in gold I would suggest to get you more up to speed on the part clients really value.

These days there appears to be more and more junk coming out of HMRC, so information flow/CPD is a nightmare and what used to be cheap business set up costs are no longer, you can end up paying a lot for all the different practice software as a lot is going the way of M/soft subs basis, unless you are very savvy (dont always fall into the cloud trap for this - again loads on here).

Shaun our Mod added some commentary on this a week or two back to someone asking about converting existing experience to gaining a practice certificate with ACCA that you might find useful, even if then you stick with the bookkeeping (to start with).

It can be a hard and lonely slog for someone setting up their own business. This site has helped a few of us as we get a bit daft as well as discussing technical issues.

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Joanne  

Fallows Hall Ltd 

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Thank you. Thats really helpful. Ive registered the company in terms of vat & CT but thats it to be honest so need to look into the money laundering registration and the PII. Any other tips? I defo need to look at past posts as I think they will be useful for sure.

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Ally



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Thank you. Thats really helpful. Ive registered the company in terms of vat & CT but thats it to be honest so need to look into the money laundering registration and the PII. Any other tips? I defo need to look at past posts as I think they will be useful for sure.

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Ally



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You cannot do CT so why have you registered for that?

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Ah thats a typo (I really need to start using laptop to post) I meant registered the company for vat and CH (companies house as doing it all as ltd) but thats about it. In relation to an earlier post about gaining practice experience, I really wanted this as I know how advantageous that would be but in all honesty, its been difficult (not for a lack of trying) as coming from industry, a lot of practices dont want that. ACCA are strict on the extent of what I can do without a PC but thats fine as I wouldnt want to jump in the deep end to begin with anyway. But a lot of posts on here regarding that so need to start reading!

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Ally



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Hi Ally, welcome to the forum



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Doug

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Hi Doug. Thank you very much! 



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Ally



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A welcome from me as well Ally.  



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John 

 

 

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Thanks John!

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Ally



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Hi Joanne, hope you are well! Sorry, can I ask your thoughts regarding suitable software for MTD? There is a stealth of information out there which is great but is so overwhelming and I would love suitable opinions from yourself ;and of course, those of others) Thanks!



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Ally



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hi Ally
Sorry just in midst of taking two new clients on today so a bit battered! Orf to the pub!

Might be worth starting a new thread.

Mostly depends on what base software you will be using.

I will try to pop on later, if Im still sober!

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Joanne  

Fallows Hall Ltd 

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Not at all jealous (whilst Im drinking my hot chocolate!) 

Enjoy Joanne- I will create a new thread 



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Ally



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Cheshire wrote:

Sorry just in midst of taking two new clients on today so a bit battered! Orf to the pub


Hi Joanne, hope you enjoyed the pub, does this mean you have decided not to sell up after all?

Was that you I saw over on the AAT forum? 



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Doug

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Ally2019 wrote:

Hi Joanne, hope you are well! Sorry, can I ask your thoughts regarding suitable software for MTD? There is a stealth of information out there which is great but is so overwhelming and I would love suitable opinions from yourself ;and of course, those of others) Thanks!


 Hi Ally

Desktop or cloud?

For desktop the recommendation would definitely be for VT.  The bookkeeping module is really good and MTD is built in.  If you are acting as an agent to your VAT reg clients then you'll need VT accounts  £150 + VAT a year.  

For simple cloud clients I would recommend Pandle.  It's £5 + VAT a month per client but you get it half price if you pay for it and pass on the cost.  Again this has MTD built in.



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 I am just in the midst of getting certification for Quick Books Online (QBO) and looking at their practice management stuff to see if its any good, jury is out, keying in bulk is not as rapid as Sage 50 products, but I picked up a couple of clients already using it when I took them on (although will no doubt move them to something better once they have grown as planned). That is fully MTD compatible. 

 

 

Oh my gawd - changing my mind aleady. Bloody workaround by the looks of it - their helpdesk cannot get their heads round my query (see another post)l!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WASTING MY TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 



-- Edited by Cheshire on Wednesday 19th of June 2019 12:47:25 PM

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Joanne  

Fallows Hall Ltd 

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Oh dear Ally -did you go into the lion's den? Is that you - ally1? 



-- Edited by Cheshire on Wednesday 19th of June 2019 05:16:00 PM

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Joanne  

Fallows Hall Ltd 

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QB help desk.....logged on with my Accountant credentials....... 'Speak to your Accountant'.

Me, after several expletives in my head ' I am the bloody Accountant!'

Good start or what?

Won't be using as bridging software!!

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Joanne  

Fallows Hall Ltd 

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Thoughts are my own/not to be regarded as official advice,which should be sought from a suitably qualified Accountant.

 



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Hi guys. Sorry for the delay - long weekend (and I enjoyed the weather)
I know I posted on another post about the whole Pc/not PC but that aside, QB is the strong contender for MTD (and everything else)
I spent this weekend researching different packages and QB seems to tick the boxes!

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Ally



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Ally2019 wrote:

Hi guys. Sorry for the delay - long weekend (and I enjoyed the weather)
I know I posted on another post about the whole Pc/not PC but that aside, QB is the strong contender for MTD (and everything else)
I spent this weekend researching different packages and QB seems to tick the boxes!


What weather?  Only good thing - its stopped raining, well for a few hours.

Are you sure about QB?  I take it you mean the online version?   Just using for a couple fo newbies.  Its absolutely PANTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So slow and cumbersome, despite my earlier thoughts that it was a good bit of kit, whilst training.  

Not helped by two lots of QB helpdesk peeps saying you cannot enter expenses thatthe director has paid personally - either cos (1) they are not business expenses....yes really he said that  or (2) cos you cannot key VATable items as journals, you cannot upload them from your photo/phone (as per their advertising) because that way they have to processed via a Bank account, you cannot have that bank account reporting in the correct part of the B/sheet etc etc etc and you need a workaround!! Pants. Just Pants!

   

 



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Joanne  

Fallows Hall Ltd 

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Hi Joanne - Im in London (we had amazing weather) although Im a Manc through & through and moving back this summer after 7 years here in London! (Not too far from your offices if I believe?)

Oh no, I did so much research into QB (the online version) and those issues didnt come up (although they would of course focus on their positive points) This is why I love getting professional opinions.
I take it you are more of a sage fan?

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Ally



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Ally2019 wrote:


I know I posted on another post 


 That lot can be unforgiving sometimes.  We, I hope, are much friendlierwink



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Joanne  

Fallows Hall Ltd 

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Ally2019 wrote:

Hi Joanne - Im in London (we had amazing weather) although Im a Manc through & through and moving back this summer after 7 years here in London! (Not too far from your offices if I believe?)

Oh no, I did so much research into QB (the online version) and those issues didnt come up (although they would of course focus on their positive points) This is why I love getting professional opinions.
I take it you are more of a sage fan?


Hi Ally

Im a Cheshire girl at heart, prefer the countryside so only a Manc when it suits! Massive Red, love the music and if someone attacks the city etc. Worked there for 14+ years and loved every minute of it. 

Close to me - so where are you moving back to?    You could buy my practice!!wink  Completely ignore all my moans about my clients, I love em all! wink 

You got it right, Im a fan of the Sage software and its helped me having the Pro versions given the complexities of most of my clients, but certainly not of their current tactics/pricing modules etc.  

Take a look at VT if you havent already.  Looks like rubbish compared to the cloudy stuff, but a fab bit of kit, used by a hell of a lot of Accountants to dump their clients bookkeeping into to produce the annual accounts, has companies house filing capabilities for when you need it on the right module and MTD now (after getting moany feedback from said Accountancy clients).   Can just be used for bookkeeping and cheap as chips. Also cash books for clients.  Shaun (Shamus) is the go to expert, alhough there are othres on here as well eg John (Leger) being one.

 



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Joanne  

Fallows Hall Ltd 

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Cheshire wrote:
Take a look at VT if you havent already.  Looks like rubbish compared to the cloudy stuff, but a fab bit of kit, used by a hell of a lot of Accountants to dump their clients bookkeeping into to produce the annual accounts, has companies house filing capabilities for when you need it on the right module and MTD now (after getting moany feedback from said Accountancy clients).   Can just be used for bookkeeping and cheap as chips. Also cash books for clients.  Shaun (Shamus) is the go to expert, alhough there are othres on here as well eg John (Leger) being one.

 Thank you Joanne, Shaun is definitely the guru.  I did suggest VT to Ally further upthread I think. I haven't found anything that even comes close.  In the cloud world I definitely like Pandle, but my only cloud customer now wants to switch to Freeagent, as it's owned by who she banks with.   Not played with it yet, but at least I get to try a new one.  

I definitely think there's room in the market for a hybrid solution.  Key in your data like you would with sage or VT, then click submit and it's updated in the cloud.



-- Edited by Leger on Tuesday 25th of June 2019 11:20:32 AM

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Hi John
I have access to Freeagent but dont use it. Only word of warning having it via the Bank is that any input is shared with them. Fine if you know what you are doing and its bang up to date, but not so good if it aint and the bank are then making decisions (overdraft or bounce a cheque type ones) based on the info they have! That is what the business centres are using the info for (and other things too!) Might be worth sharing that info with your client.

Sure we cant persaude Shaun to create the all singing and dancing software for us?

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Joanne  

Fallows Hall Ltd 

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Hi Joanne

Thanks for that snippet, very helpful.  She's not the world's best at getting info to me so I will certainly pass that on.

Nice little homework project for you Shaun lol.



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Ha. I definitely do not think I would do you or your clients any justice If I took your business on. I am sure you love it all deep down

Please no judging but I will be honest. I am not too familiar with VT. I didnt even think it was that strong a system but I am back to the drawing board with the planning. I loved Sage and a bonus is I have used in many of my past roles so unlike QB, I wouldnt be going in eyes closed.
Really appreciate everyones advice.

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Ally



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Oh dont worry Ally, Im not that great on VT myself. I stumble round it, but still its clear its a good bit of kit.

I might test it for my old version Sage clients MTD filing, although I need to do a test run (and no time to do that just now!)

So, come on, you never did say, how close to my business are you possibly moving to?



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Joanne  

Fallows Hall Ltd 

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Im moving to Old Trafford! Moved to London a few years ago which is great when youre young but now the time has come to go back home!
Hey, if you have any vacancies, let me know!

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Ally



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Only partially joking!

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Ally



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Ally2019 wrote:

Im moving to Old Trafford!
Hey, if you have any vacancies, let me know!


 Just turn up I am sure Ole will give you a game, you can only be an improvement on the rubbish they have there at the moment biggrinbiggrin



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Doug

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Haha. Can you imagine? Thanks Doug!

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Ally



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Ally2019 wrote:

Only partially joking!


 biggrinbiggrin



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Joanne  

Fallows Hall Ltd 

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Hi all. Hope you are all well. Firstly, a big thanks for all your help and advice to date.
Slight update since my last post - I have registered the company with CH, Hmrc in terms of Money laundering (went down the Hmrc route instead of getting by ACCA PC but wow they are difficult to deal with) in the midst of getting the necessary insurance and also still researching the suitable software. (almost there but not quite)

Is there anything I am missing? My brother (IT whizz) is creating my website so I cant think of what I am missing before I can actually start! As you can tell, Im eager to begin but dont want to jump the gun and get too ahead of myself.
Apologies if this isnt the right forum for business advice. Im accounting savvy but not business minded, so any advice would be appreciated.

Thank you again!
Ally.

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Ally



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Hi Ally
You got your MLR sorted quickly, HMRC have been so slow on renewals, so we've been hearing on here.

Just remember now not to mention ACCA anywhere on your new website or any other marketing materials.

Other things to look at, ICO registration, gdpr policy (mention that on website, emails and in LoE), start looking at templates for Letters of Engagement (LoE) for different services you wil be offering. Sort on boarding templates. List of Qs to ask each business owner to extract info for services required etc.

Lots of things more than just that, but too hot to think!

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Joanne  

Fallows Hall Ltd 

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Hi Joanne.
Thank you! This weather is crazy.

I think Im lucky regarding my MlR - I have read on various forums about HMRC being a little slow on the applications although I have struggled getting through to an actual person on the phone.

Yes, I have to be really strict on ACCA guidelines. Funnily enough, I went to a CPD event not so long ago and upon speaking to a person there, he advised if you can do the full accounts, do it! ACCA will never find out. Needless to say, I wont be. But it does worry me that there are so many people out there who must flout the rules.

Silly question - what are boarding templates?!

Thanks Again - appreciate it.

Ally

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Ally



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Ally2019 wrote:


Yes, I have to be really strict on ACCA guidelines. Funnily enough, I went to a CPD event not so long ago and upon speaking to a person there, he advised if you can do the full accounts, do it! ACCA will never find out. Needless to say, I wont be. But it does worry me that there are so many people out there who must flout the rules.


leaves a really bad taste in the mouth doesn't it that there are people like that who obviously only pay lip service to ethics despite it being instilled in the rest of us.

They are not acting with interity which is the primary ethic that governs our mindsets.

They may think that they are invisible to the ACCA but if ACCA compliance doesn't catch them, other accountants will and we do not take kindly to people using our letters who have not suffered the same anguish of getting a practice certificate.

Your acquaintence did actualy provide you with an ethical dilema in that are not you as an ACCA member obliged to report unethical behavoiur to the persons governing body.

Shaun.

 



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Hi Shawn


Really wish I had reported them but it was the first time I had met him and I didnt even catch their name. Was just random chit chat / trying to network whilst catching up on CPD!


I totally agree. I would like to think I am an honest person both personally and professionally but if I am honest, it annoys me that I am working so hard to get my start up running whilst having a full time job and a baby! Whilst people just do it for the money and do not care about the rules. They will get their comeuppance though!



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Ally



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Wow, I hope I do not sound bitter!



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Ally



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Ally2019 wrote:

Wow, I hope I do not sound bitter!


not at all. It's perhaps just as well that you didn't catch their name as saves you the guilty feeling of destroying someone's career even if their attitude doesn't belong in an ACCA mindset.

I've done an Accountancy MSc with UCL as my CPD. For fully qualified chartered certified it's very reasonably priced and it seems to have opened so many doors. Its definitely worth considering as besides the letter from one of the worlds top Uni's it's also really fun.

First part was all about the banking crisis and the cyclic nature of finance... Makes the big short a much more in depth film when you get the throw away lines biggrin

Second part I loved, Had a worldwide competitive team based excercise where each of ove 600 teams had to take a failing regional airport to a profitable airport of choice over five years. Each year being lived in one week. My team came fifth which gives you a real warm and fuzzy knowing that you are going up against real world CEO's and CFO's and beating them.

The final project was around the shoe industry. Something that I knew nothing at all about, but again, it was taking a brand this time from living off past glories to being up their with the top retailers.

If you want a couple of years CPD, an MSc from a top Uni, and showing what you've got inside you. Then you could do a lot worse than looking into that one.

Actualy, the getting to know yourself beyond what you think that you know was a part of the first half of the MSc. I already knew that I am an introvert hiding away behind quite an extrovert fascade. I thought that I was quite unique but the course guided me towards the Ted lecture of Susan Cain... Hang on a sec... Check this out

It spoke to me anyway.

All the best,

Shaun.

 



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Master Book-keeper

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Its an on-boarding list Ally. Naff (US?) terminology. Just a list of things to cover off when a newbie client is taken on covering differing parts of the business. You can often get a list from your prof body, although many folk just do their own (which expands with experience).

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Joanne  

Fallows Hall Ltd 

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Thoughts are my own/not to be regarded as official advice,which should be sought from a suitably qualified Accountant.

 



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Shamus wrote:
 

The final project was around the shoe industry. Something that I knew nothing at all about

 


Oh you should've said at the time. Could have got you stack loads of great info.



-- Edited by Cheshire on Friday 26th of July 2019 04:07:14 PM

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Joanne  

Fallows Hall Ltd 

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Thank you both for your advice!

Have a lovely weekend. 



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Ally

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