No I won’t introduce you to all my clients

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If you are like most accountants you probably get approached every now and then by third parties who have a proposition for you, explains Mark Lee.

They may be financial advisers who want to work with you and to service your clients; bankers who want to help your clients; marketing folk who want to help you grow your practice; trainers who want to help you and your staff develop personal and business skills; or anyone else who has cottoned on to the idea that you are a trusted adviser to your clients. Typically the idea is that, as such, you are the ideal person to introduce a new service provider. Your recommendation will be trusted and so it should be faster to get to a large number of prospective clients via you than to approach them directly. That’s the theory anyway.

There are evidently many people who think this is a good idea. Rarely does a week go by without someone approaching me with a request or suggestion such as...

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About Mark Lee

Mark Lee works almost exclusively with savvy sole practitioners who want more out of their practice.  More clients, more money, more time, more satisfaction - or everything!

An accountant by profession, Mark moved away from the provision of professional advice in 2006.   He is now a professional speaker, mentor, facilitator, author and debunker.

Mark Lee is a realist and regularly debunks myths and hype related to his areas of interest and expertise.  His keynote talk for audiences of accountants is How to STAND OUT and be more than 'just another accountant'.

Mark is passionate about helping accountants generally so is a keen blogger and commentator in the accounting and tax press. He is consultant practice editor of AccountingWEB and has written hudnreds of articles here that have been viewed over a million times.

Check out how he could help you here:

Mark stopped giving tax advice himself despite being a past Chairman of the Chartered Accountants’ Tax Faculty. He is however Chairman of the Tax Advice Network - the UK's highest ranked lead generation website for tax advisers and accountants. The network also publishes a weekly practical tax update for accountants in general practice and full tax support, on demand too.  You can also use it as a lead generation resource for local people seeking tax advice from an accountant.

Mark has extensive network reach through his blogs, talks, social media activity, articles and his regular newsletters that go to thousands of accountants every week.


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30th Dec 2013 12:12

they all want something

and most of them give bugger[***] all back . Happy New Year Mark , keep up the good work!

Thanks (2)
30th Dec 2013 13:09

Hope you make it clear

If any accountant is in the "I know my job and that's all I'll do' camp I hope his terms of engagment make that clear. Even a well time worn phrase such as 'I think you need a pension' which does not itself consitute advice prohibited under the FSMA could quite easily come back and bite you.

I would agree with Mark that many firms have a client bank to thin or of too low grade  to warrant much attention from competent financial advisers (who have to justify their fees and costs as well you know) just as I know of others too arogant to perceive a need. On the other hand...

I worked with one sole practionner deploying highly successful income tax defferal mechanisms (plain vanila S42/44 film schemes) which provide sufficient capital to completley refurbish a property portfolio ( on which he eanred his fees)

Another using the same device to help in a complex re-financing project

Partially solved a prior accounting period corporation tax problem using a SASS pension (the accountant had correclty identified that a pension contribution could not be carried back but had not appreciated the scale of potential contributions of just under 1m therby creating a loss in teh current period.

 could bore you with many more.

The critical thing is that in every case my accountant contact had identified a problem; I identified the solution. In most cases there was no wish to receive a fee split and in today's regime I would be highly reluctant to offer one. After all a GP doesn't get a share of the surgeon's 'cut'!

Happy New Year

Thanks (1)
By morgani
30th Dec 2013 20:53

Honest and trustworthy
To be honest I'd love to hear from an honest and trustworthy IFA, particularly for mortgages for directors and the self-employed.

I've tried lots of different ones for clients but have yet to find one they really understands it properly.

The two Scenarios I have had which they just don't get are.

1 - a foster career who may well have income of around £50k but due to allowable taxable reliefs may have a nil profit for tax purposes. They state they understand and then ask for SA302s from HMRC to confirm the income. This will just show nil!

2 - a director / shareholder of a ltd co where the one director/shareholder has just left. They were an admin role and profit will now actually increase for the company and the remaining person. They understand and again ask for an sa302 to proove the new level of income. I stress that is has happened in the last 2 months so it is not going to show on an sa302 until a full tax year is done. We go nowhere.

I could go on with more and more situations where there is a lack of understanding or honesty. I know that there are rules to follow but a simple look at the situation and a quick I can't help sorry would earn far more respect than wasting everyone's time.

So if you find one who knows what they are doing and is not up for promising the earth when they will deliver nothing then yes send them my way!

Thanks (1)
31st Dec 2013 14:28

No rudder?

Only director has just left? So the 'remaining member of staff 'and potential mortgagee is employed by a company with no director?

Thanks (0)
By MalcyD
02nd Jan 2014 11:42

Client retention

It's about providing a full service to clients - for example, my accountant connections can provide information and guidance on pensions auto-enrolment, but are not in a position to implement the scheme review, liaise with providers, provide communication material, advise  members etc - which can be provided by a trusted partner, to ensure that the client receives a rounded service proposition.

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By morgani
02nd Jan 2014 12:37

left one
One left leaving one director in control.

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04th Jan 2014 15:40

financial advisers

My experience  may be out of date, as I retired 3 years ago, but this may help.

I was asked by a personal friend/ client for a list of clients so he could circulate them about  some issue or other. I explained that client confidentiality didn't permit me to do that.


I did have a financial advisor who I discovered through a mutual contact. Unlike most financial advisors he understood tax.  I used to introduce him to clients who needed investment advice, until he retired.   He used to advise me gratis on changes in investment law and practice and I used to answer his tax questions where his knowledge was not technical enough.  But I never introduced him to business the clients didn't need.

Unfortunately the layers of reporting in order to show accountability to the FSA and their successors made a practice of his size unviable. But his sucessor is pretty good.

One fairly obvious rule of thumb.  Ignore approaches from people you don't know, especially if they come in circular letters on  embossed paper. You have no idea about the firm, and they probably don't know anything about yours either.  I know that, because three years after retriement I still get them!


Thanks (0)