Are you whetting the tax bed?
Go on be honest with yourself. Have a proper look in the mirror and ask:
Is your firm seen as the go to place for tax advice?
Are you reactive or proactive on the tax front?
Do your clients and prospects see you as primarily tax compliance driven?
Where does your local community place you on the tax profile league table?
You may very well see yourself as the Premier League of accountants on the tax front in which case don’t bother to read on. If that is not the case or you are not sure, you could be brave, like some of our ProActivTax members, and survey your clients on this matter.
There is no magic wand which can miraculously transform your tax profile overnight. It has to be earned and executed in an ethical manner. By doing so your firm will benefit from the tax value generated.
Here are just a couple of quick suggestions you may want to adopt or at least try out.
Surround yourself with tax knowledge
This can be achieved in a number of ways and they are not necessarily mutually exclusive.
1. Put aside half an hour a day to read up on the latest tax changes; listen to webinars; attend tax update seminars. If you have a team encourage them to do the same. For example ProActivTax are running a series of half day tax events around the UK in February/March. If you are interested click here to register.
2. Recruit an inhouse tax specialist/s. The overhead costs can be expensive and in some areas of the UK it is difficult to find a tax specialist of suitable standing. However, it’s an option. The specialist can work hand in hand with you and the rest of the team whilst building a rapport and reputation amongst clients and prospects alike.
3. Widen your tax connections within the tax domain perhaps through AccountingWEB, Linkedin, networking events or through bodies like ProActivTax who have a bank of tax specialists, within the safe confines of the tax legislation, you can use on an ad hoc basis. To the outside world you can provide a bigger tax offering than before but without the overhead millstone around your neck. Assuming you follow the guidelines laid down by the respective Professional Bodies you can perhaps earn from the work passed to the specialist.
4. Bounce the knowledge around within the team as that can only heighten the knowledge you have acquired and reinforce it. How does it apply to your present client base?
Take away the fear – Share the knowledge
It is all very well having the knowledge at your fingertips but if you don’t let the clients/prospects know you’ve got it what’s the point? There’s a whole raft of ways of doing this:
1. Talk to your clients in a timely manner. Find out about their intentions, aspirations, and fears. With the prospect of MTD around the corner set up quarterly meetings or at least one’s to coincide with year-end planning reviews. Don’t be afraid to flag up potential tax issues/opportunities. You will find the client is grateful for the heads up. Bring in the tax specialist (inhouse or otherwise) to provide the appropriate ethical tax advice if you don’t feel you have the relevant tax knowledge to see it through.
2. Let the world know your firm has the capability to offer proactive tax advice. Put together yourself or subscribe to a personalised quarterly newsletter you can email out to your database which simplifies the latest goings on in tax and points them back to you.
3. Regularly attend networking events or set up one controlled by you. Offer to do a 15 minute tax presentation on a given subject. This will build your tax profile and gravitas within your local community. Encourage the team to do so as well if you have one. Putting together the presentations can take a while but some associations like ProActivTax have ready-made scripts and slides where you don’t need to reinvent the wheel.
4. Regularly roll out tax tips to your client base, perhaps tied in with their Tax Returns or when sending out accounts or email communique. Likewise, for prospects send out a bank of tax tips in a personalised form which shows them what you do for your client base. You can build up this tax tips collective yourself or use the likes of ProActivTax to create them for you.
5. Make your local press and media aware of the latest tax happenings and offer your firm’s services for the reader/listener to have a consultation.
6. For many prospects your website is their first port of call so why not create some articles or short and simple tax videos to place on the website highlighting what you do for your clients in the area of tax and offer a similar service to them. Again the likes of ProActivTax can help you if you don’t want to do a DIY.
7. Use resources to put numbers to the tax issues/opportunities so that the client/prospect can see the impact. You can create them yourself or use one of the many set ups out there, like ProActivTax, to provide them for you with the appropriate training in tow.
These are just a small number of suggestions which I hope will help you enhance your tax standing in your local area.
ProActivTax help accountants across the UK
ProActivTax was set up to help accountants around the UK to develop their tax offering to their existing client base and to build up their tax profile within their local community and beyond.
We do this through tax resources (such as PAT Potentials), tax marketing, tax specialists, tax training/webinars/seminar programmes and us.
If you would like to find out more please click here to access my online diary or simply drop me an email with some provisional dates and I’ll set up a conference call.
Email: [email protected]
Tele: 01246 488 200
Mobile: 07903 799091
Turning Tax Technical issues into commercial reality
ProActivTax Ltd (09540555) 7 Midland Way, Barlborough. Derbyshire. S43 4XA