Graham Lamont: How to become a business adviser

As part of our practice profitability series we turned for advice to Graham Lamont, a champion of business advisory work.

Lamont Pridmore principal Graham Lamont is well known to AccountingWEB members after his firm won the 2012 Practice Excellence Award for medium-size firms.

Before setting up the firm, he...

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Comments
mr. mischief's picture

well deserved award    1 thanks

mr. mischief | | Permalink

As a one-man band a few miles away from Lamonts I am in some ways a competitor.  LP is one of 4 firms in Cumbria I recommend when either:

1.  Someone asks me for my views on larger firms, for example at networking events, or

2.  I am approached for a quote by a prospect believe is not going to benefit from a sole practicioner due to size or complexity.

Reasons why I recommend them are:

1.  Likely to be minimal risk of unwanted HMRC interest.  Good tax advice but not dodgy tax advice.

2.  Likely to be as fast as the client wants at getting the numbers out.

3.  Quality of service.

4.  Comprehensive use of IT.

This is partly based on what their clients say, partly on my direct experience of their handovers - note the only reason I have won clients from them is on price, there is only 1 other firm in Cumbria I can say that about.

Handovers are speedy, contain no errors or "funny" items such as silly input or output %s on VAT returns, never have scribbly handwritten schedules or other issues which just look amateurish but which a number of local practices persist with nonetheless.

 

Quality Advice

Graham Lamont | | Permalink

Nice to hear from a fellow Cumbrian firm and thank you for your kind words.It is important to give the right advice to the right client at a price that they can afford and the value given must always exceed the fee charged. Keep up the good work!

jon_griffey's picture

Business advisers    1 thanks

jon_griffey | | Permalink

 

There is a trend for firms to describe themselves as 'accountants and business advisers'.   We have not gone down this route as I am wary of the possible PI implications - we cannot be all things to all men.  As mere 'accountants' the terms of engagement are fairly narrowly defined but 'business advisers' seems to me too all encompassing.  What happens if a client suffers a loss because some deal went bad, there was some health & safety disaster or breach of the law or whatever?  Will there be a cry of 'we paid you to be our business adviser, why didn't you advise us?'

I remember a few years ago a client shouting at me down the phone - their van had been stopped by the police and they got fined for carrying carpet off cuts without a waste licence. Apparantly as their accountants we should have told them about this.  My reaction was sorry - you just pay me to complete your tax returns - I know nothing about waste regulations and do not claim to.