These days Mark Lee focuses his business actiities on two key activities:
1 - He loves being engaged to speak on stage to audiences of accountants in all size of firms. His latest keynopte talk is: The rise of Robo-Accountants - and how to beat them. He is an accountancy focused speaker, futurist and influencer with a positive reputation for entertaining, engaging and enthusing his audiences.
2 - He loves supporting 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, author and debunker.
Mark is passionate about helping accountants generally so is a keen blogger and commentator in the accounting and tax press. He has been 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: www.BookMarkLee.co.uk/savvy
Mark no longer gives tax advice 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.
Yup. Press releases assert the idea is to compete with the big 6 big firms. Apparently we'll hear more in July.
Despite a number of award winning firms signing up I'm as cynical as ever that the ambitions of the founder will be achieved or that all those signing up will get anything like the hoped for returns.
If they do then the investors will have to wait a long time to get their returns.
Incidentally the man behind this seems to be Feisal Nahaboo who created Probiz.
Sorry I seem to have upset you Lone Wolf. I’m confused tho as I never ‘peddle’ anything and my website makes quite clear I don’t get involved with anyone paying commissions or affinity fees.
You’ll note I haven’t praised the product/service as it only went live on my website today.
My only interest is in offering independent commercial advice, insights and support for accountants.
If what I share is of no value or interest to you, feel free to ignore it.
(I do wonder if people who use pseudonyms are as rude in real life when people know who they are)
Well, I'm hardly new to the site and I spotted this Q as I'm about to trial melu too after chatting with their owner at Accountex. 30 days for nothing. If it works it'll be worth £99 a month,
Simple to instal and easy to provide a range of answers to the FAQs you anticipate from experience. As more come in - these get referred to you (or your team) so you can update the list that the operators use when reply live on the site.
The live chat can only work well if you provide and update the Q&As that can be answered through live chat and without bothering you.
Those who don't like it won't use it. I doubt it will discourage anyone from using me (or you) if they come across an unobtrusive live chat box on the website.
I spoke with them too. They are only interested in working with accountants already turning over at least £100k pa
If their starter package is indeed £3k a month I doubt they'll have many takers. But maybe they only need 2 or 3 to make the whole thing worthwhile.
Yup. As I said. I summarised the explanation and put it in my website on Monday.
Here's some related thoughts:
I've long advised start up practices to set their fees regardless of whether they are based at home or in a rented office. Those who start with low fees struggle to charge more when their costs increase due to rented office space.
- Clients don't care about your cost base. They simply want what they want. That may be accounts and tax returns or more.
When you start out it probably takes longer to do things the first few times until you get the hang of it and develop processes and systems. Do clients pay more when it takes you longer or more when you get more experienced?
- Clients don't care how long it takes you to do what they want. They just want the output. They don't want to pay more when things take longer. Hey, they don't want to pay more when you have to do things in a rush to beat deadlines either.
The big challenge here is that many accountants have been giving away 'extras' and are focused on how long the work takes to deliver for clients.
This goes back to the way things were when I started in practice. I thought I was selling my time. What I didn't realise was that...
...Clients don't care how long it takes you to do what they want. They just want the output.
Many years ago, the Inland Revenue, as it was, required taxpayers to supply fully detailed lists of all dividends received. Even before the SA system started this requirement for detailed lists was lifted. One experienced accountant I knew was in uproar and demanded we complain. He charged his clients lots of money for preparing those lists and if they were no longer required he felt he would need to reduce his fees.
- His clients didn't care about the lists. The mistake he had made was to justify his fees by how long it took him to do stuff that was no longer going to be required.
The sooner we are able to highlight and effectively promote the value of the services we provide to clients, the sooner we'll stop worrying about how quickly we can do things - compared to pre-cloud times.
Many thanks Gill. Appreciated you sending that over. Very kind. Perfect.
I'd always have an employee doing this work, but there are just as many other issues with that route.
Eh? There are far more issues to address when you employ staff - including all employment legislation and PAYE obligations. Neither of which are relevant when you engage self employed contractors to help you out.
There are other considerations of course and different accountants will prefer one suite over the other. That’s fine. Each to their own.
Indeed my client has a number of full time and part time staff on his payroll.
He has found an independent bookkeeper who can help out as and then required. He simply wants to put in place an appropriate agreement without creating an employment arrangement. He (and I) are well aware that the facts and what happens in practice are crucial here.
It is very unlikely that an employment relationship will develop. Neither party wants to operate on such terms.
It looks like employment to me. How is it not?
Eh? Since when are all arrangements between accountants and bookkeepers employment in nature?
When an accountant takes on work - whether bookkeeping, accounting or tax, they can either do the work themselves, delegate it to an employee, arrange for an outsourcing company to do it or for an outsourced, independent contractor to do it. As indeed, many do.
Is it time for me to pack up?
Time to move back to employment?
There's some good advice here and some good stories too of how hard it can be to build up a practice.
Equally there are lots of ideas here for marketing TACTICS that 'might' work if done effectively. Or that may be a waste of time, effort and money if not done well.
Can I suggest going back to the start. Given what you now know, do you REALLY want to be self employed and try to build your own practice? If not, then take your first year as a wake up call, be honest and fair to yourself, pack up and get a job.
If, despite your frustrations, you are committed to building your own practice, then you absolutely need to do things differently going forwards.
I highly recommend getting as copy of Della Hudson's book: The Numbers Business and taking on board the advice she gives to start-up accountancy practices.
I have also shared advice to help start-ups on my blog. Try these for starters:
Good luck whatever you decide to do next.