This page provides some brief details about how we work with clients:
The majority of our clients are not local to us. However, we do like to meet clients for a face to face meeting if possible – we find this helps to establish a good working relationship, even if most day to day interaction is by phone and email.
We act for clients all over the UK – but we find that most clients are very busy these days, and once we have met initially, most clients are happy to meet up annually to review the year-end accounts and tax-planning work, and operate by phone and email during the year.
We meet new clients either in our Lancashire office, or in Central London, or elsewhere as we will tie in meetings with other clients.
Our main office is near Blackpool in Lancashire, however around half our clients are based in and around London, and we have office space near Moorgate (just behind London Wall), that we use on an appointment-only basis.
This gives us a London base with which to service London-based clients, and our Principal, Stephen Fay ACA, is in London every 2-3 weeks for scheduled client meetings.
We also regularly visit groups of clients in major cities as we try to deal with clients based in particular areas in each month. For example, we usually deal with our Yorkshire-based clients during June/July, and schedule meetings in Leeds at a good local hotel (the Queens Hotel).
Everyone has had experiences of call centres, frustrating bureaucracy, and being passed from one department to another in a fruitless search for a real person to speak to.
By using a smaller firm, our clients receive good service as soon as they join us as a new client -regardless of whether the year-end accounts & tax work is required at that point. All clients have direct access to our staff – we don’t screen calls, and are happy to provide direct line numbers to clients.
All client work is allocated to a particular month of the year – agreed with you – so that we both have a year-end timetable to work to. Work is completed for client review within two weeks of submission of full records.
Once you are taken on as a new client, you will be assigned to either Stephen Fay or Gary Major as your key contact. Both Stephen and Gary will provide you with their direct dial phone number, and of course their email address. The role of Stephen and Gary, as experienced accountants and tax advisers, is to review your affairs in detail to ensure that every tax-planning opportunity has been identified, and to ensure that your accounts are properly completed.
Stephen and Gary are supported by Nithin, who specialises in dealing with small companies, and Hailey and James, who specialise in dealing with private landlords. These staff members are responsible for most of the basic accounts work and have been trained up personally by Stephen and Gary.
If you call us and either Stephen or Gary are unavailable, the other staff are usually able to help with all but the most technical queries.
Our target client is a property investor who takes their property business seriously, and wants to get at least a basic understanding of their property accounts and tax-planning.
We do expect clients to provide good financial records – this means either using our Excel Workbooks (more than adequate for 95% of clients), or at least providing downloaded bank statement data, or other soft-copy information. We don’t accept clients that provide us with carrier bags full of receipts!
We usually spend extra time with new clients to explain how to use our simple Excel Workbooks, and most are more than happy to keep their own basic records. This has two advantages: (1) it keeps our fees at a sensible level, and (2) it ensures that the time spent on your affairs is spent on tax-planning and ‘adding value’, rather than basic number-crunching.
For those clients that require transactional book-keeping support, we can provide this as a separate service, or refer you onto a local book-keeper that we recommend.
Clients expect a modern professional accountant to be using modern communication methods and technology.
We use licensed state-of-of the-art software to manage our client base, and to produce accounts and tax returns. Our software provider, CCH, is a global company that is constantly improving its products, and ensures updates to tax rates, allowances, returns and all HMRC changes are made as these occur. This professional software also flags any errors, or unusual items that may need explanation, to minimise the risk of HMRC investigations into our clients’ tax returns.
The software also allows us to generate PDF copies of tax returns, to be emailed to clients for approval, before we file online directly with HMRC, using our online software access. We can then email clients the HMRC tax return acceptance notice within 10 minutes of receipt. No need for snail mail!
All staff are provided with top-of-the-range computer equipment, and we use email, conference call facilities and Dropbox extensively – around 10% of our clients are not UK-based and so need us to work by email, phone and Skype.
We feel that this investment in technology, along with a desire to keep up to date with modern business methods, enables us to provide our clients with a superior service.
We work on a fixed-fee basis generally, where the work required is predictable and so easier to propose a fee for. This means that in almost all cases, the fee we agree with you is the fee that you pay.
Where fixed fees are not appropriate, we will agree fees in stages with you, and provide a best estimate of likely charges.
Fees include all-year round general support, as well as the year-end accounts and tax work. If significantly more work than expected is required, we will discuss this with you in advance.
Please bear in mind that fee quotes assume that good quality information is provided to us (as a minimum, soft-copy data), and we do reserve the right to charge extra where this is not the case.