Watch out for crooks and don’t park your ethics

These are sad and strange times and as small practice accountants we are doing everything we can to help not just our clients but the people that are behind the business and of course our own family, friends and staff.

Now more than ever we see people in dire financial straits through no fault of their own who are staring at the empty abyss of their bank balance and are justifiably worried and are looking for ways to be able to pay their bills.
Our Government mindful of the situation have announced a huge package of initiatives to help businesses and individuals get through this period which is to be welcomed. As we know money is being made available and with each announcement we are being told how much and who is eligible.

Now as Accountants we have been keeping an eye out for these announcements and have been making sure our clients are aware but likewise millions of taxpayers have also been keeping an eye out and have been accessing the relevant pages. What this means is that there are millions of people waiting to be contacted by HMRC or HM Gov about money that will be coming their way which is a very large pool of desperate people that fraudsters can fish in isn’t it.

We must do our best to get the message out to beware before giving any information or even clicking on any seemingly official email because it would be heart breaking to have clients or those close to us lose even more than maybe they have lost already.

When money is concerned it can bring out the worst in some people and the thought of getting something out of the government adds grist to their mill.

This means that some clients and thankfully they will only be a few will in touch with some outlandish requests for us to make what they may well call amendments to previous returns or payrolls often couched in terms like “you don’t mind do you?”

These requests are to be rebuffed and should not take a moment to dismiss for what they are. There is no need to ask a friend or colleague if they think it is ok or to ask if they are doing anything in these circumstances as if having someone else doing similar makes it right.

Don’t park your ethics at the back door is the order of the day and think what it says about you as an accountant if you have to even broach the question with your institute.

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