I have already reviewed this thread here, and while it's useful and kind of similar, it's a bit different and I think it deserves its own discussion. This situation is happening in Canada (if it helps) and here is the summary:

I had to consult my accountant for a new business opportunity that I'm exploring and he kindly met me for a two hour meeting and offered 30min phone conversation and probably reviewed some documents for me. In our first meeting I offered to pay the 2-hr thing (around $400, his usual rate, which is a lot for me) and he said:

"Keep the money, once you open your business I will charge you then".

After that I did not offer to pay, but I think I should return the favor to him somehow. I could bake cupcakes or bring him some chocolate or things like this but I don't think he prefers sweets. (And this is all I can offer!)

I think best thing that works for him is if I paid him back, but I don't know how to pop the question in a nice fun casual way in a thank you email.

If it helps, he advised me to not open that business so he really can't charge me later ;-)

2 Answers 2


If you intend to open the business, take his advice and retain him as your accountant for that business. Doing some free work for new ventures is a classic way to get new clients. The cost of a little time is the investment in landing the client.

If you do not intend to open the business, send him a basket of chocolate or other goodies, something he could eat or share with others. I have had several prospects do this after a short meeting that they found useful that I would not invoice them for. Include a note like "thanks for helping me avoid a mistake" to indicate that this gift is specifically about the advice related to the new opportunity and to show that you are grateful for their expertise.

  • If he has strong feelings against sweets, will a flower bouquet do the job? Or are there any options?
    – AleX_
    Nov 20, 2020 at 16:26
  • 2
    i have received baskets of things like pretzels, nuts, and other non-sweet items. If you know the person well enough to know they have strong feelings against sweets, tailor the basket to them for sure. But usually in this case you don't know the person super well. Nov 20, 2020 at 20:13

I recently had a similar situation where I had to ask a friend for a ride. My friend did not want any compensation, and instead suggested I donate whatever compensation I had in mind to a charity. Knowing this friend, I picked a charity that aligned with their values so it was something 'for them'. If you know this person well enough, maybe you could tell them that you donated the money to a cause they value? That way, if they don't want to accept any compensation, you both can still feel like the effort for that favour went to a good cause.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.