A Trip To The Local Accountants

We have been with the same accountants in the Algarve since we first registered our new online business in Portugal. I still feels like yesterday when we met the owner of the accountants and discussed our needs. Our businesses can be rather complicated and are not as straight forward as just having a local shop or being a mobile hairdresser.

We deal mainly in the US dollar and as everything is done online, the receipts are often very different compared to locally. So we went through all this with the owner of the accountants and he explained the Portuguese system to us.

When we were in England I did everything myself and as I am trained in accounts it always seemed pretty pointless to pay someone else to do the job that I could very easily do.

However in Portugal the system is so different that I didn’t want to make any mistakes. Though the accountants soon made sure that I did…..

So fastforward to my first tax return and the information provided by the owner (who was a mature accountant so there is no reason that we shouldn’t trust him). Told me what to put in what Portugal calls the green receipts programme. You had to write a receipt for all your business activity and then at the end of the year hand it to your accountant and he or she would then devise your tax return.

Well this is exactly what I did – they I found out on the week the tax return was due that only the turnover should feature in the book and that because everything else was in the book my turnover had increased by about 25% meaning that my tax levels would be muuch higher as would my social security.

This really frightened me at the time because it made me realise how much trust we actually put into our accountants and how by them giving me terrible advice things could go so badly wrong.

There have alsoe been lots of other problems prior to our meeting such as taking a month to answer a basic email. As someone that works in the internet marketing field I would be mortified if a client had to wait more than one working day for a reply from me.

Then when we arrived at the meeting to sort out the problems, we were forced to have the meeting in an open space, meaning everyone would know our business. Then the account who is in charge of our business brought her boss with us and I found her very rude and felt like she was just there to cover the company incase I complained. Though for the first time ever I felt really sorry for my accountant having a boss like she does. She wasn’t even allowed to speak without being butted in!!!!

I also found that she talked to me like I was a child until she realised I knew more about accountancy than the average client.

"A Trip To The Local Accountants"

Everything was soon sorted out and thankfully the correct tax return was put in on time. However, if they had given me correct information in the first place, it would have saved a lot of time, energy and stress.

But what upset me most is that they never apologied – not once and instead of helping just wanted to tout more of their services onto me that I didn’t even need.

It is with stories like this, that makes you realise why accountants have such a bad name and reputation no matter what country you live in. I am now looking for an alternative accountants that will treat me with respect and not put my tax return at risk.

Thanks for reading my blog post and I hope you enjoy our expat tips. I love living in the Algarve and sharing my stories with you.


  1. Have you considered changing accountants?
    We have a fantastic accountant (who came on recommendation from another ex-pat with complicated circumstances – as ours (and yours) are) who has offices in Lagoa and Guia.

  2. Hi Tracey

    Thanks for the heads up on the accounts. We rang them for a quote and we will be going to see them shortly for our new requirements.

    Also thanks for the great car – it is a small world isn’t it?

    Love your blog too!!!

    kind regards