Part two in AccountingWEB’s new series of articles following an accountant on his auto enrolment journey tackles preparing to communicate with clients.
Following the first article where he revealed his initial thoughts on AE, the accountant plans to attend an auto enrolment workshop later this month.
Off the back of the event, organised by a well-known accounting and tax organisation, he’ll be reaching out to his clients to make sure they are aware of AE and detailing the options that are available to them.
His initial client contact will be an email mailshot and then possibly a follow-up webinar.
He already conducts a lot of online meetings so running a webinar will help cover them all off in one go, if he can get them to send in questions beforehand.
“It might be useful otherwise I’ll just be repeating the same sort of conversations with every client,” he said.
Speaking about the upcoming AE event he said he was attracted to it because it was about servicing small and micro clients, along with a focus on pre-staging actions and post staging options.
He attended a couple of AE webinars a year-and-a-half ago, but they were just about how you can make money out of it. This one, he explained, is more about adding value and getting a good outcome for his clients.
“Being able to make money from AE and profit from it isn’t a priority. My primary concern is just making sure that my customers are doing what they need to do and are getting the best deal that’s available to them in terms of their size of business and what they need to do.
“There’s no point going out to get pensions advice from an IFA who’s going to charge you an arm and a leg if you’ve got two members of staff and one of those decides to opt out. It’s a wasted effort,” he explained.
At the moment his main communications angle will be making sure people are aware they’ve got to do it and going through the different options that are available to them.
“If they want to use me to administrate it then there will be a charge for it,” he added. “If you put the profit first you’re coming at it from a different point of view and perhaps the benefits to the customer isn’t number one on your agenda. You might see a good profit in year one or two, but in year three the way you’ve gone about things might cause some aggravation among your client base.”
By taking a 'fear-mongering' approach, accountants could be in danger of panicking clients in to buying additional services when perhaps they don’t need the level of service you’re offering.
“I’m sure there are firms out there doing this with AE. It’s not a good long-term approach if you want to create and maintain relationships.”
Commenting on whether he has changed his approach to AE since the first article, he said:
“From a lot of conversations it’s going to be one of those things where perhaps there’s people making money out of it at the moment, but as it becomes more standard and people are used to it, they’ll say ‘we were paying £50 for the admin of auto enrolment but now people are including it as standard. Why are you still charging for this?’ I can imagine that after three of four years it will end up being a given.”
Keep a look out for the next instalment in his AE journey following the AE workshop.
AccountingWEB has launched the No-one gets left behind campaign to alert as many accountants as possible to the obligations implied by auto enrolment. Read our simple eight-point statement which sets out the auto enrolment facts you need to know.