Why I made my decision[QQ] – I am writing in response to Danielle Stewart’s letter (Surprising decision, 15 February, page 17). I am one of the council members who ‘knew little about the subject’ of the IPR, and I don’t mind admitting it! However, I do know about owner-managed businesses, as I work with them every day as their accountant and auditor.

I was persuaded to vote against the IPR by the fact my clients will not be able to distinguish between the audit we do now and the IPR we would have to do in future.

They may think it is an audit by another name and take the same level of assurance from it as they do from an audit now.

Only certain investors will spot the difference; and there aren’t many of those involved in companies with turnovers between #1m and #4.8m.

The proposed wording of the IPR issued by the APB is so negative I would be embarrassed to put it in a set of accounts and then charge the client for the work!

I support the idea that all company accounts should be prepared by a qualified accountant. However, we must accept that forcing the IPR on companies of a certain size is not the best way to achieve this.

Chartered accountants will be held in higher esteem by the business community if they are required to prove their value rather than being forced on it by statute. Our institute should therefore continue to work to achieve this position, and not be side-tracked having to explain what an IPR is. I regret the decision appears to have been taken in haste but I am sure as we start working with the new legislation it will prove to have been the right one.

Elaine Oddie, Chelmsford, Essex

Keep on nagging

– I read with interest John Whiting’s article (Self-assessment system faulty, 15 February, page 16) for and against self-assessment.

My only weapon against the dilatory client seems to be persistent nagging – nothing else comes close, certainly not a fine of #100. Perhaps my clients are more scared of me than the Revenue!

Pam Moreland, tax manager, Winchester

We do more than audits

– I was amused by your lead story last week (Banks stand firm over audit, 15 February, page 1).

First, does any bank manager understand what an audit is?

All of us in practice have received requests for ‘audited accounts’ of sole traders, suggesting anything prepared by an accountant is audited.

Second, does any bank manager read audit reports? I once had a company client which was several years in arrears. I managed to bring them up to date, but the records were so bad I had to disclaim in the audit report.

This seemed to make no difference to the bank manager, who was happy to receive accounts.

Third, if banks are keen on audits, why do they take so long to answer our audit letters?

They could show their enthusiasm by giving more priority to them.

David Pattinson, Newark, Nottinghamshire

Banks that make an offer businesses cannot refuse

– You may be interested to learn of the latest wheeze by banks to profiteer at the expense of their small businesses customers.

Our account with a major high street bank, run in an exemplary fashion, has been charged for cash machine withdrawals at the same rate as going to the branch for cash at the counter.

It now means if I use a rival cash machine the fee is 60p but if I use my own bank’s machine it is 57p per #100 withdrawn.

And this is after the bank encouraged me to use my cash card to keep down costs.

I telephoned the bank manager and his assistant advised me that this is the policy. I then faxed the bank in protest and was advised it was an error.

Then the manager himself rang the next day to say this is the policy and I should grumble to the complaints hotline. He would do nothing about it himself.

N Younger, Salford, Manchester

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