The Budget is a great opportunity to market to clients with minimal effort, writes Della Hudson. So make the most of it.
It’s good of the government to provide accountants with opportunities to market to our clients and demonstrate good service.
Some practitioners sigh and complain about the extra work that the Budget creates -- but it’s a well trodden path, after all we had three the other year, so it doesn’t involve much mental preparation. Just blow the dust off the procedure and crank the Budget machine into action.
I’m not going to try and forecast what will change this time as there are tax experts on AccountingWEB who can do that far better than me. If you’re a general practitioner then your role is to interpret what those changes mean for your individual clients.
Watch the Budget predictions here and elsewhere and take your own view on whether your clients need to act before any possible changes are announced. You may still get caught out on something but that will always be the way unless you have access to a TARDIS.
When I ran my practice I would usually listen to the Budget, with a pen in hand, making notes. Not so much notes of the content of the Budget as a list of names. The names of clients affected by each change. Once the announcements have finished then go through your full client list (or get your account managers to do this) adding more affected names.
These days the Budget seems to be mainly about changes happening years into the future which will probably be altered along the way. Whilst we accountants need to be aware of them, they’re not our primary focus yet. It’s good to make a note of these changes and an initial list of those clients who will be affected. When more information is available you can proactively contact them with:
What the final change will be
What this means for them in the real world
What action they need to take
Until then just bear it in mind during normal interactions as the Budget is a great opportunity to do some early tax planning.
What you can focus on is speaking to the clients affected by more immediate issues. Small businesses are usually heavily dependent on their accountants for advice as they may have no other professional to assist them on a regular basis. They’re not interested in what the changes are so much as what they need to do. The Budget provides us with a great opportunity to look after our clients in just this way.
Although clients weren’t bothered by most of the details we would still sent out a branded Budget release (bought in as I need my beauty sleep) by email and put the updates on our website:
Clients are reassured that we know all about the technical changes so they can relax and get on with their business
Some clients might actually read the Budget release and contact us about an issue of interest to them
Some clients might pass our Budget release on to other business colleagues which served as a form of advertising for us.
The Budget is a great opportunity to market to clients with minimal effort so make the most of it.
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Della Hudson was part of the class of 2009. She built up Hudson Business Accountants and Advisers from her kitchen table to a small team of flexible workers with independent premises in Nailsea, near Bristol. The firm ran regular Money Matters seminars and other training and webinars. Della sold the firm in 2017 in order to focus on the...