Member Since: 17th Jul 2008
I am Chairman of the Tax Advice Network - a nighly ranked online resource tfonr anyone seeking indepdent tax advisers. As such it is also a long established lead generation facility for tax advisers and tax accountants.
Before the lockdown I was also speaking at conferences and awaydays for accountants and tax advisers. I had started describing myself as an 'Immediate Futurist' to help distinguish me from the more general futurologists.
My own focus involved highlighting what accountants need to do differently to succeed in the immediate future.
Many of my articles on AccountingWeb date back to my time as consultant practice editor. Nowadays, when I'm not speaking on stage at conferences or at firms' aways days I tend to work with savvy sole practitioners who want more out of their practice. More clients, more money, more time, more satisfaction - or everything!
After qualifying as a charttered accountant I was in practice for 25 years before choosing to move away from the provision of professional advice in 2006.
I have long been passionate about helping accountants generally so I am a keen blogger and commentator in the accounting and tax press. During my time as consultant practice editor of AccountingWEB I rote hundreds of articles here that have been viewed over a million times.
Check out how I could help you here: www.BookMarkLee.co.uk/savvy
NB: I no longer give tax advice despite being a past Chairman of the Chartered Accountants’ Tax Faculty. I remain 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.
I have extensive network reach through my blog, talks, social media activity, articles and my regular 'Magic of Success' tips and tricks email that goes to thousands of accountants every week.
Chairman of the Tax Advice Network and BookMarkLee
25th Jun 2020
As you appreciate, the reason prices vary so much is that what you get can vary enormously. A key question is to start by being clear as to who you want to influence with your new website? This can help you decide what you want from your new site.
The 3 most common responses here are:
1 - People who are searching online for an accountant just like you.
2 - People you have met who know your firm’s name.
3 - People who have been recommended to you and want to find out something more about you before they get in touch.
I don't build or design websites. I'm more of a strategic adviser to accountants and tax advisers. My guidance for the most basic websites for accountants is here >>> https://bookmarklee.co.uk/effective-websites-a-checklist-for-accountants/
And my more recent advice re how to get the traffic you want to your website is here >>> https://bookmarklee.co.uk/websites/
2nd Jun 2020
No one, other than employer, wants to pay you for the hours you spend on their books. They want the work done and to know what it will cost them. Being a good bookkeeper is one thing but if you're going to Provide that service as a self employed person you also need to develop the skills for 3 more Ps - To be able to Promote your service (generally), to Pitch your service (to interested people) , and to Price your service so that clients will pay happily and that you earn as much as you are comfortable with for the service you are providing.
30th Dec 2019
Reaching all those people is only part of the story. How many are likely to be real prospects for your practice. AND, when they click though from the facebook ad, will your website be sufficiently compelling to get them make contact with you?
An alternative approach is to be listed somewhere that people who need an accountant or tax adviser are looking for someone with your skills.
Many of the software houses have such facilities on their websites. There is also a low cost listing service at TaxAdviceNetwork.co.uk which is used by people who need tax help. It's only £12 a month - but doesn't guarantee loads of new clients - just those that need your help in your area.
20th Dec 2019
It takes longer to check than not to check.
There is no legal obligation on you to check. I'm not even convinced it's best practice.
As is clear from the replies here, many accountants do not check.
I would expect fees to reflect the different approaches.
What value does your client perceive they are getting from your checks? This is not the same question as what value do you think client gets.
This client, like so many others, is scared to file a return directly or doesn't trust themselves to get it right, or doesn't want to spend the time trying to do it.
If they can find someone to file the return on their behalf without having to pay them to check it, I'll bet that's what they'll do.
6th Dec 2019
Years ago I ran the tax support operation at WJB Chiltern. Hundreds of smaller firms used the facility to secure expert tax help when they encountered situations outside of the norm. After I left, the firm and service was acquired by BDO.
In 2007 I set up the Tax Advice Network to replicate the facility and service. Hundreds of accountants now choose independent tax experts from the Network for tax help.
The tax adviser members are typically happy to either supply the tax support you require to you or, if you prefer, to work directly with your clients.
Whether you advise clients you have sought external advice is up to you and may depend on the complexity of the issue. It's a HUGE mistake to pretend that you know the answer to all tax questions - unless you really do (which is rare in my experience).
6th Dec 2019
You'll find a (small) choice on the TaxAdviceNetwork.co.uk website
8th Nov 2019
Some great advice on this thread. Coincidentally I addressed this point in my Magic of Success email this week:
Debunked: That free initial meeting
Long before the advent of 'fake news' I was debunking hype, myths and misconceptions to help accountants avoid fads and common mistakes.
If you ask a group of accountants if they offer a free initial meeting to prospective clients - the answer is invariably 'yes'.
"Everyone does it", "People expect it", "It shows our desire to invest in a new client"
Yes, yes, yes. I know. I've heard it many times before.
The problem is how few accountants limit the length of such meetings and how much free advice they give away unnecessarily.
Offering strangers a standard one hour free meeting is traditional but may actually be a BAD idea.
Tips and tricks: Think about how long you need to spend in a meeting before you know that YOU want them as a client and that THEY will agree to your fees and terms.
Plan your free initial meetings so that you can gather the information you need asap - beforehand if possible. You'll waste less time if you pre-qualify prospects on the phone before you decide whether or not to meet for a free initial meeting.
And stop thinking you need to give free advice to strangers. When clients haven't paid for initial advice they are hardly likely to value (and pay for) the advice you give them later.
29th Oct 2019
The problem here isn't where on the site you ask the question but the challenge of ANYONE being able to do as you require.
You're not alone in wishing things could be different. You've probably got a website and you may be great at looking after and serving your clients.
Are you clear as to why clients come to you and stay with you? And what makes you special and different from other accountants?
Most sales lead generators for accountants struggle to succeed when the accountant wants to pay them by results and doesn't give them any compelling reasons for prospects/lead to change accountants. The only motivator is often the lure of lower fees.
Such leads are then rarely worth you investing much time in as they are likely to move onto another cheaper accountant next time. Indeed, all that may happen is that they use your fee quote to reduce the fees they are paying their current accountant. So you lose out twice - once when you pay for the lead and then again when you invest time in trying to convert the lead.
In my experience the only person who can generate decent leads for a small accountancy practice in London is the owner of the firm.
Being able to do the work is not enough to run a firm. You also need to develop the skills to promote and pitch your services. And then to complete the sales process efficiently.
Your website can help, your online profiles may help and your networking activity may help. But it's all so much easier if you do the hard work up front. Be clear who you consider to be a good lead and why they should want to work with you.
Even then, experience tells me, you'll struggle to find someone else who can generate decent leads for you at a price you're prepared to pay. You may occasionally find someone who SAYS they'll do it for, but London has so many accountants that most of the lead generation people I know have pretty much pulled out of the market here.
29th Oct 2019
I guess the leads you really want will need to fit certain criteria. In other words, you may not really want leads to people who simply want their self assessment tax returns done for £100 a time or maybe you do.
The clearer you can be as regards the leads you want, the easier it will be to identify how best to generate them.
Getting the right leads is, as I'm sure you know, only the first step in the process of winning new clients - ahead of then serving them and doing the work they need you to do for them.
Here's a blog post I wrote a couple of years back that you may find helpful: https://bookmarklee.co.uk/4-things-to-change-if-you-dont-get-good-value-...
7th Oct 2019
Good advice here. I'd also encourage you to get hold of a copy of della Hudson's book 'The Numbers Business' as it's easy to read and full of practical and commercial advice for anyone starting a practice from scratch. That's what Della did.