Guest blog by Alan Tracey
Choosing your strategic partner in finance is a significant step that can add immense value to your practice capacity to service existing and future clients to a higher level. The drive for faster, quicker and better advice is better enabled when you already have your team in place.
How can an Accountant help me grow my practice?
When Clients attend to you with a problem they want resolved, having access to all of the resources is one of the immediate benefits they expect. The majority of legal problems or challenges that a business faces have significant financial implications, including taxation. Having a trusted firm of accountants as a Strategic Partner will ensure that you add more capacity to provide added value for your Clients more effectively.
The most common issues requiring input from accountants will include:
- What are the Taxation implications?
The majority of property Sales or Disposals, including succession will have implications for property taxes. Some of the more ‘interesting’ cases will have complications in relation to VAT or provide opportunities for careful planning on corporate and financial structures that minimise exposure for existing/future owners. The critical issue here is that the best tax advice is gained prior to the transaction, rather than after the event.
- Is there a better corporate structure that will minimise future costs?
Solicitors are usually very conversant with opportunities that exist for better structures that maximise future benefits for Clients, particularly in relation to trusts and such vehicles. However, complications in entities can often result in an excess of costs of administration and compliance that significantly erode the benefits. Best use of the old tailors’ adage of ‘measure twice, cut once’ comes to mind. The tax authorities do not like complicated structures that are unnecessary and appreciate solutions that are more elegant, transparent and easier to understand and explain.
- What is the projected cost?
Whether it is a family dispute or restructuring, a senior staff dismissal or a major corporate acquisition or disposal, projections of future earnings or distributions can have a very significant impact on the outcome of discussions and negotiations. When you have immediate access to accountants that are experienced in this area, matters flow quicker and simpler.
What makes a good accountancy partner for a Legal Firm?
- Mutual respect and trust are crucial with an understanding of how the other party operates.
- Prompt response and feedback: open lines of communication. This includes full access to key people who will be available to have an open and honest discussion on possible areas of business or conflict, before engagement takes place. Frequently, a simple phone call or email can provide confirmation or assurance to the Solicitor that their proposed approach is robust and correct and does not require the services of a fellow professional. The best advice is often: ‘do not proceed’.
- Accountants who can work to support the legal team inconspicuously to the Client or otherwise as required. Equally, accountants who will take on a brief, deal directly with the Client and keep the Solicitor informed of the key steps and issues as they close out
- An accountancy practice that has the experience and capacity to provide the full range of services including Taxation, Accounting & Financial, Business Advisory, Corporate Compliance, Receivership & Insolvency and Forensic Accounting whether for Private or Corporate Clients
- An understanding and agreement on the basis of charges and Fees; all in the ultimate interest of Clients without a detrimental effect for either the Legal or Accounting practices.
Better alliances make for better business.
Consider your alliance with an accountancy practice to be an essential extension to your legal team, someone that can and will access where major decisions with finance and taxation elements are going to be made. There is a tremendous value to be gained from an added objective and independent view of the major financial decisions that impact your Clients.
Strategic alliances are a smart way to extend your capacity to provide exceptional services for your Clients.
Farrelly Dawe White meets all of the criteria outlined and has extensive experience working with legal firms. Consider having an introductory conversation to extend your client offering and grow your legal firm.