As the principal opposer, Formations Direct puts the case against the motion: "This house believes that accountants need to get more involved with company formations to add value to their client relationships."
Most company agents wrung their hands when Companies House offered web incorporation for £18. At that price, the government agency undercut the industry and turned company formations into a commodity.
At Formations Direct we saw the basic Companies House web offering as an opportunity to explain to accountants the advantages of outsourcing their formations activity to a reputable agent with fair pricing and a service that benefits them and their clients.
The buzz word these days is “collaboration” - and company formation is an ideal candidate. Everything is cheaper if you do it yourself and cut out the middleman. But what some call “disintermediation” we call folly when it comes to a professional service.
Many accountants who have used the Companies House web service will have encountered problems later, complicating their relationship with the client and wasting valuable professional time rectifying the matter. How does the accountant explain that to their client? And who pays for the time?
Accountants need to prove to their clients that they are more than beancounters and compliance officers. Using an agent who understands their needs can smooth that process, without threatening to hijack the relationship.
Formations Direct will help you build the all-important client relationship and can offer free expert advice and technical back-up based on years of experience working with Companies House. Additional facilities such as fast track bank accounts, domain registration and free online cloud e-registers are available to the accountants themselves, or their clients as they see fit.
The commoditisation of the formations market has drawn a sharper focus on price. Formations Direct concentrates on formation and the extras are optional value added tools. It’s a bit like paying for extra legroom and hold luggage on a budget airline, but not having to pay if you don’t want it, as you might on a flag carrier.
There’s a limit to how much attention accountants can give to a company formation and our advice is to get an expert in to do their part so you can use your time more efficiently.
We built our business catering for practitioners who understand that you get what you pay for, and that includes building a relationship so when things go pear-shaped you lift the phone and a friendly, knowledgeable voice is there at the other end to help you.
Bearing in mind that most formations are charged to the client, doesn’t it make sense to take advantage of all that an agent can offer when, excluding the statutory fee, it costs less than half a tank of petrol?
Company formations debate
About John Stokdyk
John Stokdyk is the global editor of AccountingWEB UK and AccountingWEB.com.