Tax blog for accountants

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What’s Fees-ible?

written by Editor, 1 April 2015

Blog by Ashley Leeds, Digita Business Development Manager

Following on from my previous blog where I set the scene following my visits to many different accountancy practices, I wanted to look at another issue that is causing pressure on the profession – FEES.

How do you keep your fees at a sensible level while still giving excellent service and value for money?

A partner I was talking to recently explained how he met with a prospective new client who was using an accountant remotely. This professional was doing the compliance work and taking the fee – sound familiar? The partner was suggesting ways that this prospect could be more tax efficient, for example setting up as a Ltd company or involving his wife to spread the tax; thus providing an improved, more holistic solution to the incumbent accountant.

Suffice to say, although my contact was pitching the work at a slightly lower fee, the prospect stayed with his current accountant as the cost to change wasn’t significant enough. A common theme amongst the profession and I’m sure that many of you are nodding in agreement.

So, after clocking up an hour or so of wasted and non-chargeable time, what do you do? The prospect was just looking at the bottom line, but could my partner have got the deal if he’d worked differently?


Working in sales as I have done for twenty five years, i’ve taken part in many training courses and gained lots of experience in different roles. Accountants don’t see themselves as sales people and therefore approach the prospect meeting in a different light.

To add more of a sales pitch, you need to be proud of what you do and value everything that you are. To become an accountant, you’ve trained hard for many years, gained varied experience and passed numerous exams. And as if that isn’t enough, you also have to keep up-to-date with CPD and other legislative changes.

All of this adds to your value proposition. When was the last time you called a plumber out for an emergency? I bet the rates, including the call out fee, were more than your normal charge out rate. So why do you have to drop your prices to win business?

You Get What You Pay For

Can you remember the old lager adverts? The advertising campaign was based upon the lager, Stella Artois, being a premium brand. Their strap-line for the advertising campaign was ‘refreshingly expensive’. Look at Land Rover as another example – very expensive vehicles, yet their business is booming. I bet you wouldn’t get a discount on a new Ferrari! So you need to position and promote your services as premium quality in order to get the deal.

Sales Training

So how about some sales training courses for accountants? Could you see yourself in the situation above and winning more of these business opportunities? Why not? Perhaps practice your sales pitch with a colleague? Or, why not bite the bullet and book yourself on to a sales training course. There are many training courses available to help you hone your skills and build your confidence. Many consultants would be willing to work with you to come up with bespoke plans to take you and your practice to the next level. You never know, you might enjoy the experience and more importantly, think of the opportunities that could be won if you were able to position your practice to prospects in a more positive light.

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