Probably the most sensible thing any adviser can do is to recognize their limitations.

Most accountants are like GPs. Great at dealing with day to day issues. Every now and then though when you visit the doctor they recommend you see a specialist. Indeed you’d be very worried if the GP suggested you hop up on the bed so that he can remove your kidney, operate on your back, undertake a brain scan or whatever.

In the same way there is no shame in admitting to clients that occasionally you have to involve other specialists to ensure that the client gets best advice. This will invariably enhance your relationship with clients than either of the alternatives:

  • Avoiding the issue – to avoid revealing your lack of knowledge/experience;
  • Guessing and using the client as a lab rat (test subject) and risking the consequences of giving incomplete or incorrect advice

When you need a second opinion or want to refer work to a specialist, obviously I would like you to choose one of the vetted independent specialist tax adviser members of the Tax Advice Network.  The options however include:

  • Tax expert colleagues in the office
  • Colleagues in other offices
  • Tax expert friends at local events
  • Professional fees insurer
  • Tax Faculty referral scheme
  • Business Mentor/coach
  • Larger accountancy firms
  • Larger tax consultancy
  • Independent external tax support – such as Tax Advice Network

It’s also worth noting that the Guide to Professional Conduct, applies to all members of the largest professional tax and accountancy bodies. It states that:

“A member must not undertake professional work which he is not competent to perform unless he obtains help from an appropriate specialist.”

I have also written a 10,000 word ebook drawn from my talk on How to avoid professional negligence claims, containing tips and risk management advice for accountants in practice. You can buy the book or download a summary for free here>>>