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Free Content for Accountants - Yes or No?

Should we sell rather than give away our recorded webinar?

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Hello,

I am hoping it is permissable to ask this question without falling foul of the moderators.

We are recording a webinar (lasting circa an hour) that looks at capital allowances, the Super Deduction and Structures and Buildings Allowances in relation to commercial property expenditure. My question is whether accopuntants will value this more if we ask them to pay for it or will they still value it if given away free? In the past all our income has been derived by undertaking claims but I notice that other professionals in this area are providing content via learning providers who are charging for the privelege. Are we therefore missing a trick?

Thank you

Replies (32)

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paddle steamer
By DJKL
26th Oct 2021 14:43

Key is what is your conversion rate from those who watch to those who use your services, I suspect you will generate far more fees if appointed re a claim compared with what someone might just pay to watch your webinair.

So should you see your webinair more as a sprat to catch a mackerel rather than a fee generator in its own right?

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
26th Oct 2021 15:13

I am afraid as a practicing accountant we are inundated with dodgy companies offering to make CA claims on an almost weekly basis using increasingly desperate marketing methods, often using social media for thinly disguised adverts and asking false questions in order to market themselves.

Clients are similarly targeted (and with insidious marketing along the lines of 'your regular accountants wont know this") you will be assumed to be "just another shark" until proven otherwise.

For example one firm has this on its website

"The majority of accountants are unaware of the full extent of what may be claimed and how to value it... there are many widely held misconceptions among accountants on the subject of capital allowances claims on commercial property"

When I read that sort of a thing, I know its not the sort of firm I would be working with if there is a case when a client could make a valid claim and its beyond my knowledge.

The best way to spot such firms is (a) desperate marketing and (b) they are normally working on exorbitant rates taking 20-35% of the tax recovered rather than working on an appropriate day rate for their time.

So in answer to your question, offering a free video is not going to help.

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
By plummy1
26th Oct 2021 15:17

"The majority of accountants are unaware of the full extent of what may be claimed and how to value it... there are many widely held misconceptions among accountants on the subject of capital allowances claims on commercial property"

I think that statement is taken off our website but I stand by it given the conversations I have with accountants on a regular basis. I have to say I'm disheartened by the rest of your reply because I know it is probably true. There have been and I'm sure there still are some terrible claims companies peddling falsehoods about the extent of what may be claimed.

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Replying to plummy1:
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By AnnAccountant
27th Oct 2021 10:32

"taken off our website"

Brilliant ireallyshouldknowthisbut - you well and truely got him!

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Replying to plummy1:
Stepurhan
By stepurhan
27th Oct 2021 11:14

plummy1 wrote:

I think that statement is taken off our website but I stand by it given the conversations I have with accountants on a regular basis.


Do you speak to the "majority" of accountants on a regular basis?

The problem is not that you are saying that such issues exist. The problem is that you are saying they are widespread when I suspect you have, at best, limited anecdotal evidence to back up that claim. You re not going to get accountants onside by suggesting most of us are incompetent in your advertising material.

At least you aren't trying to find ways to force information out of us.

https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/any-answers/what-leverage-do-i-have-with...

Or suggesting that we tend to be criminals

https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/any-answers/are-accountants-more-likely-...

That could really be taken the wrong way. :-)

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Replying to stepurhan:
By plummy1
27th Oct 2021 11:59

[quote=stepurhan]

plummy1 wrote:

I think that statement is taken off our website but I stand by it given the conversations I have with accountants on a regular basis.


The problem is not that you are saying that such issues exist. The problem is that you are saying they are widespread when I suspect you have, at best, limited anecdotal evidence to back up that claim. You re not going to get accountants onside by suggesting most of us are incompetent in your advertising material.

It is true that I have not spoken to every accountant but after ten years in this area I can tell you I have spoken to a lot and the conversations often follow the same pattern. This includes accountants from firms large and small. Yes I know that many accountants are aware of what can be achieved but you would be surprised at the mis-information that still persists in the accountancy profession especially when it comes to calculating CGT after a capital allowances claim has been undertaken. I have that conversation at least once a month.

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Replying to stepurhan:
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By Leywood
27th Oct 2021 13:10

[quote=stepurhan]

plummy1 wrote:

I think that statement is taken off our website but I stand by it given the conversations I have with accountants on a regular basis.

Offensive really, plus critiscising other professional members is against ethics is it not?

Although thats what I am about to do with an R&D specialist, not you/your company. Client has signed up with one who is undertaking no DD on the numbers being given to clients whatsoever, so looking to put a claim in for a % of spend that bears no resemblance to anything that such a claim should cover.

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Replying to Leywood:
By plummy1
27th Oct 2021 14:33

If your client purchased an office building from a pension fund for £2m would you know the full extent of what could be claimed for and how to make the valuation? If you do then as a specialism we are out of business. I don't think it is disrespectful to say this.

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Replying to plummy1:
Stepurhan
By stepurhan
27th Oct 2021 14:49

plummy1 wrote:

If your client purchased an office building from a pension fund for £2m would you know the full extent of what could be claimed for and how to make the valuation? If you do then as a specialism we are out of business. I don't think it is disrespectful to say this.

I don't know the details of this. I would even consider it fair for you to assert that this is an area not many accountants have detailed knowldge of. However, I know a lot of accountants (not sure if a majority) that are aware the possibility exists, and would know it required specialist knowledge. It is a specialist area and any sensible accountant would be well advised to hire in specialist advice.

However, your website statements says

website wrote:
there are many widely held misconceptions among accountants on the subject of capital allowances claims on commercial property
Misconceptions is not just lack of knowledge. Misconceptions is having WRONG knowledge. I think this is the part that accountants are finding offensive.
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Replying to stepurhan:
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By Leywood
27th Oct 2021 14:57

It appears it is not detailed knowledge that the OP holds.

His words
''My business partner is a Deloittes trained expert in this field and my job is to keep him as fully employed as possible on projects large and small.''

Whats that saying 'how to win friends...'

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Replying to Leywood:
By plummy1
27th Oct 2021 16:20

After ten years of investigating entitlement and answering the questions of solicitors, accountants and tax advisers I feel I do have a deeper knowledge on the subject than many. Do I always know the answer? No, but I know enough to go and research for the correct information.

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Replying to stepurhan:
By plummy1
27th Oct 2021 15:47

Thank you. I'll take a look at our website and consider changing how this is phrased. Certainly we come across the same misconceptions quite frequently but It appreciate this could be worded better.

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Replying to stepurhan:
By plummy1
27th Oct 2021 15:47

Thank you. I'll take a look at our website and consider changing how this is phrased. Certainly we come across the same misconceptions quite frequently but It appreciate this could be worded better.

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By DKB-Sheffield
26th Oct 2021 15:04

I suppose it depends on what the webinar aims to achieve. You are in a specialised field for which I have minimal expertise. I would therefore consider as follows...

If your webinar is aimed to impart sufficient knowledge to enable me to successfully prepare & submit a (say, embedded CA) claim OR to significantly reduce the fees you would charge for said claim (through my own preparations), I'd consider paying a fee.

However,

If your webinar is aimed at providing information detailing how difficult a claim is to get right, in the hope that the viewer will inevitably use your services (in full), paying for that would seem like the viewer is charged for their own targeted advert. If I had to pay, I'd simply look elsewhere!

You work in a specialist area. We (accountants) know 'what' you do, but not necessarily 'how' you always do it. You don't need to charge accountants to watch your webinar (or in pre-COVID times attend your seminar) to tell us what you can offer. But, if you're going to give away the tricks of your trade, you need to charge for that!

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Replying to DKB-Sheffield:
By plummy1
26th Oct 2021 15:25

Hi,

Thank you for the response. No we don't give away the tricks of the trade only try and explain what is possible. Your reply has convinced me that we should continue to supply free content and rely on fees as and when a claim arises. This is the what I feel most comfortable doing.

Thank you.

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Replying to Justin Bryant:
By plummy1
27th Oct 2021 11:53

This is more aimed at Solicitors but will no doubt be useful. Solicitors are another group who struggle to understand the relevance of capital allowances.

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Replying to plummy1:
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By Mr_awol
27th Oct 2021 12:13

plummy1 wrote:

This is more aimed at Solicitors but will no doubt be useful. Solicitors are another group who struggle to understand the relevance of capital allowances.

Another group? In addition to the accountants that cant grasp the concept you mean?

I think you will find 'most' accountants get CAs very clearly - although they may have gaps in their knowledge or even lack the quantitative skills to value the allowable aspects of property, etc.

The main difference, i find, is in the approach to risk/reward ratios. I know in a lot of my clients' cases that the amount involved wont justify a CA specialist fee. I also know that a specialist is highly likely to claim more aggressively than i would. So, if there is something i think can be claimed i do. If the numbers are big i advise the client that a specialist will probably be able to come up with a bigger claim, for a fee of course.

I also warn the client that this is a mixed industry and to be aware that the CA claims company may have ridden off into the sunset by the time HMRC enquire into the claim.

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Replying to Mr_awol:
By plummy1
27th Oct 2021 12:27

Apologies that was a poorly chosen statement on my part. I should have said a group not another group. In the words on an MP "I mis-spoke". Yes you are correct that some capital allowances claims companies overstate the tax benefits so that they can charge a larger fee. They also only give half the information required to make a rational decision.

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By Paul Crowley
26th Oct 2021 17:55

If the business is expecting the viewer to be able to profit from content then by all means sell

If you are really looking to inform accountants about types of claims they may not know exist then chances are the viewer gets no profit just an awareness of a specialist area and it would be his client that would be looking for the specialist.

That kind of webinar I probably would be reluctant to pay for
An accountant tends to get invited on numerous free webinars

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By Andy556
26th Oct 2021 22:32

Agree with the majority here. Most accountants will have access to these types of webinars already for free with some subscription or other that they currently subscribe to. If not, they are mostly freely available online somewhere if you're specifically looking for something.
You will have to market whatever you're selling very credibly to make accountants watch it for free let alone pay for it, there are so many webinars out there already

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Replying to Andy556:
By plummy1
27th Oct 2021 12:02

Thanks. As always marketing is the difficult part i.e. trying to get through to the right people with the right tone and content. I can see that accountants are inundated with people trying to sell to them so it is difficult to get through the noise so to speak.

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By John R
27th Oct 2021 12:27

A general practice accountant cannot possibly hold every piece of tax knowledge in his head. We often have to research matters especially matters that do not come up very often. I am not therefore surprised that when you make contact with an accountant, he/she will not know all the answers. However, we do know how to find the answers and this may include working with a specialist such as yourself. You therefore need to keep accountants on-side. Suggesting that we are mostly incompetent is not the way to go.

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Replying to John R:
By plummy1
27th Oct 2021 12:50

Thank you. I would not have used the word incompetent and if that is what came across then I apologise. I appreciate that no accountant can be totally aware of the entirety of the tax legislation. However we do come across accountants who believe they are aware of the tax legislation but for whatever reason the information they have been given is incorrect. I don't see this as incompetence.

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By AnnAccountant
27th Oct 2021 15:00

Up until today, if someone had told me they were going to engage Plummy to do a CA project, I'd have gone along with that as I'd have had no view either way.

Now I am aware of some of his opinions of accountants and his adversarial attitude towards them, I would gently steer them towards someone else.

I'm a tax adviser and I work with accountants so that our mutual clients get the benefit of us working together and sharing our knowledge. It isn't an adversarial relationship, we don't denigrate each others lack of expertise in our own area and we don't have waving or measuring contests at either ours or the client's expense.

Something to reflect on perhaps - but, reading some of his replies, I doubt he will.

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Replying to AnnAccountant:
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By Leywood
27th Oct 2021 14:53

Well said

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Replying to AnnAccountant:
By plummy1
27th Oct 2021 15:54

Sorry to hear that Anne. We work with tax advisers and accountants everyday without problem. I was trying to defend a statement on our website but I'll now consider rewording it as up until now it has never been mentioned. I better quit while I'm behind.

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Replying to AnnAccountant:
By plummy1
27th Oct 2021 15:54

Sorry to hear that Anne. We work with tax advisers and accountants everyday without problem. I was trying to defend a statement on our website but I'll now consider rewording it as up until now it has never been mentioned. I better quit while I'm behind.

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Replying to plummy1:
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By AnnAccountant
28th Oct 2021 09:47

No - don't change a thing. I think it is admirable that you have allowed us, via your website and AW posts and comments, to get a feel for the sort of person you are. Then people know what they are getting if they engage you.

That is much more genuine than hiding that behind well crafted PR.

I respect your candour.

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By Justin Bryant
04th Nov 2021 09:48
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Replying to Justin Bryant:
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By Hugo Fair
04th Nov 2021 12:16

Possibly the most even-handed variant of advertising that I've encountered!
As my father always taught me - on the one hand, but on the other ...

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Replying to Hugo Fair:
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By Justin Bryant
04th Nov 2021 15:14

Yeh, well, I didn't go so far as to say they were all vital viewing did I (quite the opposite in fact)? Just watch that space for one on CAs!

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