Tax support for accountants

Jul 7, 2020 | Professional Negligence, Tax related

Every now and then someone who has known me for a long time tells me about their tax problems and asks my advice.  I have to remind then that I haven’t been a tax adviser for well over 12 years now. I had already stopped giving tax advice before I created the Tax Advice Network in 2007.

So, of course, when I’m asked tax questions I encourage everyone to use the Network website to find someone who can help them. “OK” they say, “but who do you recommend?”  And again my answer is always the same – “If I wasn’t happy to recommend them they wouldn’t be members of my Network”.  I can’t afford to have favourites.

Each member has the same opportunity to create a compelling profile – ideally taking on board the profile tips I share with all new members – reflecting both best practice and also the lessons we can learn from changes in the traffic to the website over the years.

The world has changed a lot since I originally launched the Network in 2007, since I relaunched the website in 2017 and even more so in recent months! Fortunately the attractions of using the Network to find independent tax specialists to help support accountants in practice are greater than ever.

In the early years of this century I spent a little over three years running the tax support for professionals operation at WJB Chiltern. This was a large tax consultancy, based in Central London and employing dozens of tax specialists. I hate to think about the overheads that had to be recovered through our charge out rates and fees.

It was clear even back then how much accountants valued the facility to secure expert tax support and yet, at the same time resented the traditional approach:

  • Engaging a BIG consultancy, with the consequential ‘big firm’ mentality to business;
  • The client relationship risks that flow from it being associated with an accountancy firm; (It was MRI Moores Rowland during my time there)
  • The London focus and the additional costs associated with this and with anyone travelling around the country;
  • High property and staffing overheads that clearly need to be recovered through charge-out rates and fees;
  • The varying quality of the employed advisers within the firm – and the need for much of their work to be reviewed before it could be relied upon.

The Tax Advice Network avoids all of those issues. Most of the tax adviser members are sole practitioners with limited overheads. Accountants can choose precisely which adviser to approach by reference to expertise, location, size of firm, testimonials or indeed any other criteria they consider relevant.

And we have been publishing a weekly tax news email update, written by the excellent Rebecca Cave, and focused on the needs of accountants in general practice. Every week, we share 3 timely, practical and commercial tax tips written in plain English and with links back to the source documents should you want to learn more.

As I said earlier, the world has changed a lot recently – especially since the lockdown came into force.

I am delighted to have welcomed some superb new tax advisers to the Network recently – just in time as we’re also seeing an uptick in traffic to the site and in enquiries going to the tax advisers. We have also recently expanded the range of topics and specialisms addressed by our members. There are over 100 available now!

If you’ve not visited the site for a while, do take a look now. And remember there is no charge for using the site to find a tax expert. And no middle man. You engage directly with your preferred tax expert.

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