Circumstances surround the affairs of a new client who approached us to join in February of last year. In March the necessary formal clearance for us to act was received from the previous accountants and at that time they indicated there was a balance of fees outstanding. We suggested our client settled these but they are in dispute and this information was reported to the previous accountant. For three months we corresponded until June, with no progress being made and no release of books or records, the institute was contacted. Matters have been with the institute from that time and my correspondence with the institute has been passed between someone at the Ethics Advisory Services, the head of CAASE and to the Professional Standards Office.
The institute confirms a lien in this case does not exist, but are reluctant despite a lack of response, to take any definitive action.
The situation in which I now find myself is that I am unable to proceed with the completion of accounts which are due to be included in our client’s tax returns, which must be filed by the 31 January.
This date is clearly impossible to achieve by now. Most recently the institute (I telephone each week) tells me the other accountant has promised to write to me but so far no letter has been received.
My anxiety now is that it has taken six months to achieve nothing. Other than the statutory requirements for auditory purposes, I really do now wonder what if any benefit the institute offers.
I certainly consider that I can spend my £232 fees better elsewhere.
My added embarrassment is that I joined the London Society of Chartered Accountants the same year that our president did and have held numerous positions for the local district society, and have always believed that one should be proud to be a member of a professional body. Is the institute’s ineptness in handling this plea for help typical of its dealings with members?
PD King, FCA, FCCA, Owadally & King, Croydon
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