BEEVER & STRUTHERS’ tax partner Paul Wilson has had a very good year, picking up 30 new clients worth a cool £100,000 – a record number of new wins for the firm.
While Wilson hasn’t conjured them up out of thin air, there is conversely no huge battle plan that has won the clients. It’s a case of good service leading to referrals, and subsequently a plain speaking approach, that has done for the firm.
What is really interesting is that the type of clients Wilson has won might prove a bellwether for the economy as a whole.
Wilson says that the bulk of the new clients are “first-timers”.
While RSM Tenon’s recent entrepreneur’s survey showed a lack of ‘get up and go’ for owner-managers to expand their reach into foreign territories, there does appear to be some brave decision-making and entrepreneurial spirit coming from less likely sources.
“People are starting from scratch,” explains Wilson (pictured). “They’ve been employed and realised that they can do it better themselves.
“People are just setting up on their own, they see large businesses not run efficiently, and they can do so much more from home – there are economies of scale. They’re run of the mill people trying to get on with life.”
The prevalence of faster internet connections means it is easier for them to do business – and work closely with their accountant.
Initially the clients are most concerned with being ‘legal’. For Wilson this involve various tax registrations and setting up companies.
However, in straightened times, Wilson has to work hard to keep them happy.
Along with Beevers’ tax team he is, as he puts it, “getting out and about more”.
Despite increasingly automated tax services, Wilson is spending more time than ever meeting clients, and also making more of an effort to network.
“The concern is, if you don’t look after them someone else will,” says Wilson.
Charging them for all the time they take up is difficult and would push them away, he explains.
“But our billing’s pretty fair,” he says.
“We’ll carry on banging the drum and looking after clients. You’re their port of call, an agony aunt as well. You need to respond.”
Practice: Beever & Struthers
Fee income: £11.6m (y/e 30/09/10)
Specialist sectors: Not-for-profit; professional firms
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