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Being proactive

1st Jun 2023
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Chris Frederiksen in his course on how to build a million-dollar practice used to say the three most important things to clients (in order of importance) were 1. Speed of response 2. Proactivity and 3 Transparency on fees (not necessarily being cheap.)  We used to use a proactivity checklist for number 2.  It is reproduced below in case it is useful.

Do let me know what you think.




  • Do you have enough resources to last 3 months in the event of a catastrophe?
  • Do you have credit cards where you are paying excessive rates of interest?
  • Do you have life insurance?
  • Is the life insurance written in trust?
  • Is the premium paid by the company and is the tax relief correct?
  • Is there enough to live off in retirement?
  • If you own a company - does the company pay the premiums to avoid dividend tax?
  • Is your pension fund written into trust?
  • Do you need a shareholders/partnership agreement for your business?
  • Is there an IHT issue (if so for whom)?
  • Do they use the ISA allowances?
  • Are they using CGT allowances? (take advice on the wrapper to avoid bid-offer spreads)?
  • Is there income protection in place/PMI?
  • If there are higher marginal rates for the Director at eg 50k -60K and above 100K consider pensions and gifts?
  • Should you shift assets and income to lower-earning spouses?
  • Use rent-a-room relief?


  • Are all bank and credit card accounts reconciled?
  • Does the business know its debtors?
  • Is the Creditor's ledger regularly reviewed and old invoices investigated?
  • Are suppliers statements reconciled?
  • Do payroll journals get processed properly?
  • Does the PAYE creditor equal HMRC figures?
  • Is turnover in the accounts reconciled to the output tax charged?
  • Does the balance on the VAT account equal the amount payable on the VAT return (and if not why not)?
  • Do the management accounts show accurate profit figures (if not why not)?
  • Do the management accounts show which parts of the business make a profit?
  • Is use made of job costing and/or tracking codes?
  • should use made of invoice scanning software?
  • does the accounting system provide timely management information?
  • Is it easy to do the bookkeeping?





    Have you considered:

  • Profit extraction from the company?
  • R and D tax credits or patent boxes?
  • Capital allowances at enhanced rates?
  • Plant in buildings eg lifts, lighting heating systems?
  • IR 35 risks (quantify them!)?
  • Use of home as an office – claim it?
  • Spouse wages?
  • Pension payments?
  • Electric cars?
  • Set up payment plans before penalties are applied?
  • Is exit planning from the business in place? 
  • What could be done to improve the value of the business?



  • Does the business maintain appropriate KPIs eg leads, conversation rates, prices vs market rate, repeat business, yield per customer, turnaround times complaints, staff turnover and lifetime value of a customer?
  • Are these KPIs used to manage the business?
  • What is the lead flow like – is there enough and if not what programme needs to be put into place to generate leads (see 66 ways to grow a business)?
  • Is the conversion rate known and how does it compare with good (typically 20-33%), if higher it might indicate poor pricing and if lower that sales performance is poor?
  • Is there a programme for extracting repeat business?
  • Is the yield per customer increasing and if not why not?
  • Do they measure and monitor turnaround times?
  • Do they use client satisfaction measures?
  • Is a complaints file kept and root and branch reviews regularly carried out?
  • Do recruitment ads explain the benefits of being employed by the firm?
  • What is staff turnover and morale like.  Is it “us and them” or “we”?

    This checklist was designed by Alan Kennedy for and on behalf of Time Team and Money who help accountancy practices become more profitable with less stress for the owners.  Time Team and Money is a trading name of Apollo Business Broking Limited.


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