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Damned if we do and damned if we don't!

Updated: Oct 21, 2021

We have an interesting marketing/selling dilemma in the accounting and tax profession. We have some rules that say we are not allowed to say that we are better or cheaper or faster than our peers. All we are allowed to do is to emphasise our area of speciality and leave it up to the world to decide whether to use us or not.

Then the next issue is, an advisor must really mess up badly (or die) before his clients will leave him (or her). The subconscious mind of most people will tell them that it’s “better the devil you know than the one you don’t.”

By contrast, our competition who are not registered with SAICA, ICAEW, CIOT and so on can advertise as much as they want. The advertising creates “credibility”, especially if they can add in some scare tactics, and they can then charge more for doing a job they may not be properly qualified to do.

So how do we advisors solicit for business if we want to stay within our ethical rules? Honestly, I haven’t figured that out yet and if anyone out there reading this blog knows of a solution I would happily welcome their input.

For now, I write this little blog every week hoping I can show that we have the skill and expertise to meet the needs of our targeted client base. It works sometimes but most of the time our business comes through word of mouth referrals. Satisfied customers who are happy to share their experiences are undoubtedly the best form of marketing.

Which leaves us in a place where we will do our best to make sure every client has a happy experience with us. What makes up a happy experience? Will I guess not getting ripped off is a good starting point. Then doing what we said we would in the time frame we said will help. Communicating timeously and effectively when the wheels do come off also helps. Staying focused on our clients' needs is always a good thing and striving to serve our client community in ways that are meaningful to them must put us on a winning trajectory.

So, this week’s little blog posting has been about me mulling over thoughts about ensuring we have a sustainable business that can continue to serve a community with very specific needs that not many are able to meet.

If you have a South African background with assets and/or tax responsibilities in SA but are living in the UK then your need is best met by a team that has knowledge of the tax processes in both SA and the UK. That’s us, of course. We DO have competition but I guess the question is do they have the knowledge of both regimes?

Allowing others to look after your hard earned money is always a tricky call so best you check out everything before you pass your trust on to them? What’s their pricing like? And their service levels – are you a small fish in a rather large sea or are you important to the organisation that should be serving you? Do they have the knowledge that ensures you don’t solve one problem in your old home state and create a potentially bigger one in your new country of residence.

Tough questions to answer unfortunately but you should at least do SOME due diligence on your potential service providers before you “sign up”.

We will always welcome a chat with anyone who is looking for help in our field of expertise so please feel free to contact us. And if you’ve had a good experience with us, please tell others because we also need YOUR help.

Then finally, if you know how to market what we do without making us break our ethical rules PLEASE contact me – I would value your input and service.

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