Top 10 benefits of becoming a Lifecycle member
It’s three years since Leonard Curtis launched its Lifecycle accountants’ network and membership numbers now stand at over 2,000.
To achieve such a figure, over what is a relatively short period of time, is testament to the way we operate as both a membership network and a national professional services group.
Everything we do is founded on experience, trust and building the strongest relationships with our member accountants. As a result, we’re able to provide them with the specialist added-value services that will help them grow their practices - not to mention client satisfaction.
Here we take a look at ten of the most popular benefits that our members enjoy.
#1 Free specialist CPD seminars
Tackling the most topical issues affecting the accounting profession today, our rolling national programme of free-to-attend CPD seminars always prove a real draw for our members.
Through them, we help ensure that they’re kept up to date with the ever-changing legislation for compliance, client service levels and practice growth.
Some of the most popular topics we’ve covered include dealing with legacy tax avoidance schemes, as well as general accounting and tax updates. Our members regularly tell us that they like the seminars because they get the chance to ask questions to our speakers, as well as network with other accountants plus the Leonard Curtis team.
For those members who are unable to attend their local event, we also make the content available via an on-demand webinar.
Our in-house team deliver the CPD in partnership with external specialists and guest speakers who are leaders in their field. We frequently team up with tax and accounting experts Chris O’Hara and Val Steward, along with our recent partnership with MTD “guru” Rebecca Benneyworth MBE, which again is typical of how we work.
If we don’t have the necessary specialist capabilities in-house, we know plenty of people who we can refer on to through our network of trusted partners.
#2 Enhanced capabilities - and therefore client satisfaction
Every day, our member accountants approach us to help them support their clients at all stages of their businesses’ lifecycle. It could be that a client has a liability from a tax avoidance scheme or that they’re in need of commercial finance to grow or overcome a tricky time financially.
We complement their offering by helping to plug their non-core service gaps with the specialist support and advice that’s of great benefit to the client and their own practice and reputation.
#3 A real understanding of their practice and clients
We spend a lot of time getting to know our members so that we’re in the strongest position to support them and their client base.
We always try to find out as much as we can about them so that we know how we can add value. We often end up talking about a couple of their client requirements and then identify other ways we can lend our support - pairing them with exactly the right problem solvers.
And never has there been a more important time for SME accountants to enhance their service offering. With lots of larger practices snapping up smaller firms, there’s pressure and fierce competition amongst smaller practices and sole operators. But there doesn’t have to be with Lifecycle.
By being part of the network - using Lifecycle as their conduit to broaden their capabilities and meet their clients’ requirements - our members can retain autonomy and independence and remain competitive whilst being able to offer the large-firm services that clients require from time to time.
#4 A great topic of conversation amongst peers
From experience, we know that lots of members sign up to Lifecycle after speaking to colleagues and peers. We’re clearly a great topic of conversation - by being a value-adding partner - which is always good to hear.
What I also really love about our Lifecycle network is how we’re often able to reconnect members who previously studied, trained or worked together and have since lost touch.
#5 New specialist offshore capabilities
Recently adding yet another string to our bow, we’re now in a great position to support our accountant members who have clients doing business with, or housing assets in, Guernsey and Jersey.
Despite only being open for a matter of weeks, we’re already referring UK-based accountant members to our colleagues in Guernsey to advise on both solvent and insolvent situations from within the jurisdiction.
#6 A heads up on clients experiencing financial difficulties
We’ve recently designed and implemented our own new data project that, each day, identifies companies experiencing any levels of financial distress. Where they match as a client of one our members, we let our accountant partners know.
Although relatively new, it’s already proving to be a useful tool to have within our portfolio.
We always recommend acting quickly in times of financial difficulty, the sooner you react, the more options are available. But often clients are slow to recognise the warning signs and those that do tend to be reluctant to admit them to their accountant.
By stepping in, we flag any issues early and have the specialist services and capabilities at hand to work to overcome them before they become any more serious.
#7 My-MVL for the simplest, most streamlined liquidations
With the changes to IR35 that will come into play next April, we’re expecting to see even more accountant members use our My-MVL software package to easily and efficiently manage solvent liquidations online.
And despite being simple to use, it’s backed up by our expert customer service team.
#8 Access to top quality legal advice - with a free initial consultation
An ever-increasing number of our members are using Leonard Curtis Legal on behalf of their clients. This is helped, for sure, by the fact that we offer our initial consultation free of charge. There’s no costly invoice hitting their desks a couple of days after the initial discussion.
Instead, when we are appointed, we work to a fixed fee that is agreed up front with the client. This is very appealing to our members - especially in the South East and London - as we’re so cost-effective yet the quality of the LC Legal team and advice we provide is second to none.
#9 Dedicated regional Lifecycle relationship manager
With relationships at the heart of the Lifecycle model, we have a nine-strong team of local accountant contacts in place across the UK. This means all our members have someone on or around their patch, with local contacts and knowledge, who they can easily approach - or meet up with - for advice.
#10 We’re not all sell, sell, sell
Much of the value we add for members doesn’t generate fee income for Leonard Curtis.
Our relationships engender goodwill, which sometimes sees us helping our members to recruit, for example. By getting to know them and their practices so well, we often know exactly who is in the market for a move and if they’re the right person for the job.
We also often lend support through challenging times in their business - maybe when key personnel are off sick, or if partners are looking for an exit - we’re often asked to keep our ear to the ground for any potential buyers.
These certainly aren’t part of our official service portfolio, but they certainly demonstrate the strength of our member relationships and the trust placed in us.
Become a member of the Lifecycle network here.
About the Lifecycle network
It provides member accountants with a comprehensive range of specialist services - and the expert support required - to improve their client offering at every stage of a business’ lifecycle. From company formation to cessation and all stages in between.
Lifecycle is free to join and also offers members many additional benefits. These include access to competitively priced Professional Indemnity insurance cover, a regular programme of free training and education and discounts on products and services relevant to their business and clients’ needs.
Services offered by Lifecycle include: Company secretarial and formation; equity finance for SMEs; debt advisory for SMEs; personal debt advice; corporate restructuring, insolvency and cessation; debt finance for SMEs; cashflow maximisation; property solutions and legal services.
For more information on Lifecycle click here.
By Nicola Brooks, Business Development Manager at Leonard Curtis Business Solutions Group - providers of the Lifecycle network