Protect yourself at all time!
I want to make one thing clear, there has been a romantic picture recently painted of working for startups or small companies, I am here to piss on that parade and tell you it is not romantic and the word ‘No’ is something you must be ready to shoot out
I want you to know this, the word No, is crucial to you as it is your accounting qualifications on the line. Some small company owners are nothing more than glorified dictators who try to intimidate/bully you into bending to their will, you will often notice immediately something is wrong and it is often met with “that’s the way we do things here’, which is not an acceptable reason at all
· Some will ask you to recognise revenue early.
· Some will ask you to pay people by cash and not record it.
· Some will ask you to hide bad debts.
· Some will ask you not to record a sale.
· Some will ask you to help them setup grey ‘self employed’ schemes.
· Some will ask you to hide home to work travel (which is a taxable benefit that must be disclosed).
· Some will ask you not to show owners drawing as they should be.
· Some will ask you to fiddle stock figures.
· Some will give you cash payments and not put it through the payroll (make sure it goes through the payroll).
· Some will ask you to be compliant in manipulation of tier 4 visa restrictions, i.e. invoice a day rate so you can hide that they are working more than 20 hours a week.
· A company I was at would not only use expired skin care products on customers, they would also give them to customers as gifts and want them included in their inventory count.
Our accounting bodies harper on about professional ethics but shady stuff happens in the industry and your accounting body can’t help out much; if a company lets you go because you refuse to do some of the stuff mentioned above (or worse), your accounting body won’t be helping much aside from providing general advice, main point, they won’t help you pay your bills which is why many just do what they feel they need to do and hope nothing comes to light or they have long gone before it has.
Accountancy bodies are bending over backwards to push out this image of the ‘new’ account the no more ‘Mr black and white’ the less rule regurgitating accounting whilst blattering on about ethics and governance to us accountants, which often will have us back to the old image but here’s the thing; not all images are wrong and sometimes just sometimes having that image to uphold, actually sets a tone before you walk in the door which lets people know I am going to do this by the book; there’s a reason the book is written and that is to protect you from me but also to protect me from you! When working for a startup/small company it is crucial you keep this in the forefront of your decisions.