We have a lot of new technology, and can prepare a set of accounts or a tax return at lightning speed if we have all the information. A big pile of bank statements never takes long to process with optical character recognition, and we like to do this as soon as we get the statements so we can warn you if anything is missing. We call this the data grab, and if several jobs are handed in at once then we will do all the data grabbing first to put us in a better position to react to events. A big pile of information just to type in often gets done quickly as well because we have other tricks up our sleeve.

We have a database of company accounts submission deadlines, and our track record is that we have never missed any. We also don’t miss VAT return deadlines and income tax return deadlines.

We are often working in “deadline chasing” mode where the job with the next deadline gets all the attention. If you are happy with this, then well and good.

However, if you have some other deadline, like a meeting with a bank manager to get a business loan, or an application for a mortgage, then please let us know, and your job will get priority. You might also want the accounts quickly just to take a business decision.

At any time, you may e-mail and ask about the status of the job, which we call a status check. The possibilities are:

(1) We are waiting for more information from you.

(2) We are actively doing the job. Normally a job doesn’t stay long on our desk.

(3) It is in our in-tray, but we will surely have done the data-grab already, which is the bulk of the job done. (The job may be quietly moved to the top of the pile).

(4) We are waiting for information from somebody else, or for someone else to do something. Companies House are usually pretty quick to do something, but HM Revenue and Customs can take ages. HMRC do nothing on a Monday so if you want to ask about something like a tax refund, try Tuesdays and Fridays. We tend to wait until Tuesday afternoon before we look online at the HMRC website.

If there is a month to go to the deadline, and it is an income tax return or company accounts to submit, then we will post out a One-Time Authorisation Code which allows everything to be dealt with by e-mail. This gives us some protection against flooding and epidemic diseases and whatever else comes our way.

If you go well past the deadline, then we don’t have much experience of what to do for obvious reasons. You will possibility get a penalty, but you still need to file the accounts or the tax return anyway.