Ethical Dilemmas with Clients: A Guide to Upholding Integrity

Ethical Dilemmas with Clients: A Guide to Upholding Integrity.

In the realm of legal cashiering, upholding a high standard of ethics and integrity is essential for cultivating a reputable and trustworthy brand. Nevertheless, there may arise situations where a client’s request poses a dilemma, challenging these values. This article delves into the nuanced process of managing clients who request unethical actions and may resort to threatening negative reviews. By comprehending the complexities of such circumstances, you can navigate them while upholding your integrity.

Step 1: Assess the Situation.

The initial approach to handling an ethical dilemma with a client involves thoroughly comprehending their request and its potential implications. Is the request unequivocally unethical, or can negotiation and compromise be explored? It’s crucial to assess the possible outcomes and seek advice from colleagues or mentors to gain a comprehensive perspective, facilitating an informed decision-making process. For example, let’s say a client intends to reclaim VAT on bad debts but also requested that outstanding invoices remain on clients’ ledgers within their practice management system. When you write off a bad debt, you typically adjust your accounts for VAT purposes. This usually involves reducing the output VAT previously declared on the sale and reclaiming any input VAT you’ve paid on related purchases. However, if you choose to keep the outstanding invoices on client’s ledgers, it suggests that you haven’t completely given up on recovering the debt. In such cases, HMRC may question whether the debt is genuinely bad.

Step 2: Clarify Your Ethical Stance.

Before engaging in dialogue with the client, reaffirm your unwavering commitment to ethical business conduct. Clearly articulate your firm’s values and principles, emphasising your steadfast dedication to delivering high-quality services while upholding moral standards. This not only establishes the framework for the discussion but also communicates to the client your earnest regard for ethical considerations.

Step 3: Open a Dialogue.

Initiate a constructive conversation with the client to delve deeper into their request. Demonstrate empathy towards their needs while voicing your apprehensions regarding the ethical implications involved. Maintain an open attitude towards understanding their perspective, as it may illuminate potential compromises or alternative resolutions.

Step 4: Offer Alternatives.

In many instances, clients may not fully grasp the ethical implications inherent in their requests. Proposing alternative solutions that uphold your ethical standards can serve as a constructive approach to resolving the matter. These alternatives may better cater to their needs while circumventing any ethical ambiguities. It’s noteworthy that within the realm of legal cashiering, ethical considerations leave little room for ambiguity. Scotland adheres to regulations set by The Law Society of Scotland, while England follows those of The Solicitors Regulation Authority, both of which enforce stringent rules. Furthermore, law firms, akin to any other enterprise, are obligated to adhere to tax regulations and mandates established by HMRC, which are equally stringent.

Step 5: Educate and Inform:

If the client persists in their initial request, seize the opportunity to enlighten them about the ethical considerations involved. Elucidate the potential repercussions on stakeholders, legal ramifications, and the enduring impact on your business’s reputation. Educating clients about the broader implications can sometimes prompt them to reassess their demands. For instance, HMRC offers extensive guidance concerning the reclamation of VAT on bad debts, incorporating pertinent legal frameworks such as the VAT Act 1994, specifically Sections 36 and 26A, alongside The VAT Regulations 1995, which encompass Parts XIX, XIXA, and XIXB, dictating the process for claiming bad debt relief.

Step 6: Stand Firm and Stay Professional:

If, despite all efforts, the client persists in advocating an unethical course of action, it is imperative to uphold a steadfast commitment to ethical conduct. Professionally and courteously decline the request, reiterating your unwavering dedication to ethical practices. Remember that compromising your principles can have extensive adverse effects on both your business and personal integrity. In the realm of Legal Cashiering, reputation holds paramount importance. Engaging in activities aimed at avoiding scrutiny from HMRC and other dubious practices not only undermines the integrity of legal cashiering but also exposes the individual and the law firm to legal, financial, and reputational risks.

Step 7: Address Negative Reviews:

In unfortunate situations, clients may react to your refusal with negative feedback. In such cases, it’s crucial to respond with composure and professionalism. Without divulging confidential information, articulate that your decision was guided by ethical considerations and your commitment to delivering exemplary services within those parameters. Prospective clients often value businesses that prioritise ethical conduct.


Adhering to ethical principles amid client demands presents a challenging yet vital opportunity for building a respected business. Through careful assessment, open communication, and the provision of alternatives, you can navigate these situations while upholding your integrity. It’s essential to recognise that the enduring success of your business rests upon a bedrock of trust and ethical conduct. If you do happen to receive a negative review despite providing the most proficient advice to navigate regulatory or tax matters, it is recommended to overlook it and uphold confidence in your work.

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