1 – How do people who need tax advice find this website?
There are 3 main ways:
Firstly, we have long ranked highly in search engine results when anyone in the UK searches for tax advice. This is a function of our longevity and credibility. Our new website had been designed to be even more search engine friendly than the old one which was created in 2007. People choose our website because it shows up very high in the natural search results (not as an advert) and because we are evidently more than just a directory service.
Secondly, we publish a weekly ‘tax tips’ email that is sent out to thousands of general practice accountants around the UK. Each week we promote 3 of our tax adviser members and their profile headlines with links to their full profiles on the website.
Thirdly, we publish a weekly blog containing extracts from the weekly ‘tax tips’ email and this also attracts visitors to the website.
2 – How often will users be directed to my profile?
Our old website attracted thousands of visitors wanting tax advice each month.
The new site, launched at the end of 2016, is already proving to be even more popular. It’s hard to predict but we would expect that, as a minimum, your details will be presented to visitors seeking someone with your expertise at least once or twice a day. Your profile will also been seen when it appears (through random selection) as a featured adviser on the home page and in our weekly tax tips for accountants.
How often your profile appears will also depend on which tax specialisms you choose and how many people are looking for help with each of those topics each week. This will vary across the year.
Our initial target is to have 100 UK tax advisers listed on the site – spread across dozens of tax specialisms. If many more than 100 are keen to join in we will monitor traffic and decide where to set the cut-off point so as to ensure that you don’t face undue competition for key specialisms. This will be determined on a first come, first served, basis.
3 – Could I benefit in any other ways?
We encourage advisers to refer work to each other and to see the Network as a resource to find advisers in the more esoteric areas (and overseas territories).
4 – I’m an overseas based tax adviser – what’s in it for me?
Lots – but in a different way to the UK based tax advisers. They can expect to benefit from our high search rankings in the UK. We may never achieve anything comparable as regards overseas tax searches. So the benefits for overseas based tax advisers are different. They include:
- The other tax advisers in the Network who would know to approach you first as and when their clients need advice on tax issues related to your country
- The UK accountants in the Network and those who receive our weekly tax tips (>3,000) who would know to approach you first as and when their clients need advice on tax issues related to your country
- The extra traffic generated through your own site having a link from ours (which is already highly ranked and thus good for ‘google juice’)
- People searching for tax advise in the UK and using our website to refine their search.
5 – In what order will profiles be shown on the site?
An automated rotation system will operate to avoid any ‘favouritism’. Thus each search will show relevant advisers in a different random order (that refreshes every 20 minutes). This is the case unless the user gives their postcode. Where they do this the tax advisers shown first will be those whose addresses are in or are closest to the postcode.
6 – Do I have to give advice for free?
No. You should treat all enquiries you get from our website in exactly the same way as you would if they had come via your own website. It’s entirely up to you whether to offer free advice or to look for ways to help beyond the specific questions raised.
7 – What sort of tax enquiries can I expect?
Over the last nine years we have seen thousands of questions on all tax topics. You will only appear in the search results when someone searches for tax specialisms you have chosen. Among the new features will be a facility to avoid enquiries from the public. If you choose to do this you should only receive enquiries from accountants seeking tax support on a professional basis.
8 – What if I can’t deal with the enquiry?
This will probably be quite rare. If it happens, we ask that you refer the person back to the Network and suggest to them that they contact a different tax specialist.
9 – How many tax specialisms can I claim?
The clue is in the word ‘SPECIALISM’. This is not the same as listing all those topics where you have a degree of experience. By definition, you can only SPECIALISE in a select number of topics. However, at present, we do not operate a numeric limit for tax advisers. This is partly because there are often many ways to describe similar tax specialisms.
Overseas advisers should limit themselves to tax specialisms related to their specific territories (and we will update the overseas tax list accordingly).
10 – What investment do I need to make?
Our membership terms are very financially attractive. Even if you only secured one piece of advisory work a year through the site this would still represent a good return on your investment. Our expectation is that you will recover many times the value of your investment each year.
If you are UK based there is a one-off registration fee of £258 and a monthly subscription of just £18 for as long as you remain listed on the site.
Overseas tax advisers need only pay a £20 joining fee and then a monthly subscription.
The monthly subs will increase, for new applicants, in the new year to help maintain the exclusivity of the site. The monthly subs are per person fees as we are only able to promote individuals – not firms or groups of individuals. Indeed most people seeking tax advice want to know who they are going to speak with. The name of your firm is of much less interest.
The registration fee for UK tax advisers helps deter non-specialists and means we only appeal to advisers who are committed to gain maximum value from the Network. The fee is likely to pale into insignificance compared to the fees that you can generate if you make full use of our facilities to promote yourself effectively to the thousands of visitors we get each month.
11 – Is there any long-term commitment?
More good news. We do not look for any long-term commitment from you. It’s pay as you go and you can cancel any time. The pressure is on US to ensure you gain continued benefit and value. If you cancel your agreement we will remove your profile from the site and you’ll get no more leads.
12 – How easy is it to cancel my subscription?
Simple. At such point as you retire, need a break or have no need of any future leads, just email us or use the contact link at the foot of the page. We’ll cancel your monthly subscription within a few days and that’s it. No further payments will be due and we’ll remove your profile from the site. You’ll then no longer be able to secure any more leads from the Network.
13 – Do I need to report back on the work I get from the site?
No. We encourage tax advisers to provide the leads we supply with the same courtesy and level of client care you would provide to anyone contacting you directly through your own website. Over the last nine years we received just a handful of complaints re tax advisers’ service levels (never about the advice provided). To protect ourselves we therefore reserve the right to hide your profile so it doesn’t show on the site if we become aware of client complaints and re unable to resolve these with you within 48 hours.
14 – How time-consuming is it to be on the site?
Once you have set up your profile on the site it takes you no time at all. You should simply benefit from an additional stream of relevant enquiries and business from people keen to benefit from your expertise – on commercial terms.
We provide a simple guide to help you prepare your profile so that it will appeal to the accountants or taxpayers and business people you seek to attract for your chosen areas of expertise.
If you wish to do so you can also add occasional blog posts to the Tax Advice Network’s Knowledge Bank – to further attract interest in your profile and abilities.
15 – I don’t have a professional qualification. Can I still join?
Yes, as long as you have at least £500k of PI cover, sufficient relevant experience in your chosen areas of specialism and meet our other membership criteria. You may have gained your expertise in practice or through a combination of work in practice and in HMRC. You will be able to highlight all this in your profile.
All tax advisers are personally interviewed (over the phone) by Mark Lee. Mark was Chairman of the ICAEW Tax Faculty from 2003-2005 but chose to stop giving tax advice himself in 2006.
16 – Can I avoid having to deal with simple enquiries that a local accountant is better placed to resolve?
Yes. Firstly your account includes an option to only show your profile when an accountant is looking for tax support – not when members of the public use the site.
Additionally, we also encourage the public to use a local accountant rather than a tax specialist if they have relatively simply tax questions. We expect to refine the messaging around this option in the light of experience and feedback.
Thousands of people use our website every month to find tax advice. But over the last nine years we have noted that some of the advice they seek isn’t complex or difficult. We know it doesn’t all warrant the attention of a tax expert. Some of it just needs someone who has good tax experience from working in general practice.
It is clear that many people who should speak with an accountant don’t think to search for one. They search for ‘tax advice’ as this is what they want first. And when they do this – they find our website. When it makes more sense for them to talk to a local accountant we want to encourage them to do this.
17 – What if I don’t have a website?
It doesn’t matter. The primary links in your profile on our site will encourage users to phone or message you.
18 – Can my firm be listed on the site?
Sorry. We only have a facility to provide links to individual tax advisers. This is because most people want to know who they are contacting. For the same reason we would encourage you to upload a professional looking photo when you register on the site. Our experience is that advisers with photos get more enquiries than those who don’t show their face. A number of smaller tax consultancies are choosing to add 2 or 3 tax advisers to the site.
19 – How do users contact me through the website?
There are 3 possibilities. Ideally users will choose to make contact by (a) telephone or (b) email. Anyone calling you will be routed to you via our professional telephone answering service. Your profile will also contain a facility for users to communicate via an email form that will be redirected to your conventional email address.
You will also be able to choose what should happen in the event that you are unavailable. Messages can be taken by the answering service, left on your own system or sent as text, SMS or emails to you. Some users may be prepared to leave a message. Others will choose an alternative available member of the network.
The third possible approach is borne of experience. This suggests that many users leave the site and ‘google’ the adviser’s name to find out more about them and then approach them directly.
20 – Are members competing with each other?
Members’ profiles which feature the same specialisms are competing with one and other. We allow users to choose between them when considering the results of their search for relevant expertise on the website.
Some users prefer to choose the nearest suitable adviser to them. In such cases your location may determine whether or not you are selected.
By using our website, which ranks high in the UK search engines, users are generally choosing to get in touch with an adviser in preference to an anonymous helpline or a consultant in a larger organisation. Each user will have their own reasons to decide what elements of members’ profiles give them most confidence. Some are more interested in the expectation of low fees, others are more impressed by relevant experience. Some may contact more than one member, in which case your ability to ‘close’ an enquiry will also be a factor in deciding who gets the most work.
Beyond this we cannot determine what prompts users to choose one adviser over another. But we do encourage advisers to make sure that their profiles are well presented and will always review these and offer help and support when asked.
21 – Are there any collaborative working opportunities?
You can private message and connect with other tax adviser members through your account on the website. Tax advisers can also use the private discussion forum on the site where tax adviser members can share work opportunities, discuss tax developments and any other issues of mutual interest. Tax Accountants do NOT have access to the forum.
22- What level of fees do members typically charge?
Fee rates vary around the country and depend, in some cases, on the nature of the work. In the past when members did report to us the fees they billed they did so without us knowing whether the work took, for example, ten minutes, ten hours or ten days.
We make it clear to users that they are contacting independent advisers. The only expectation we try to set is that good advice costs good money. What you charge is up to you. It is for you to decide what your market will bear and to use your skills to ensure that users are happy that they will get value for money.
23 – Why should I join now?
We have set the monthly subs at very competitive rates to attract new tax advisers to join the site and benefit from our relaunch. We are promising to hold these monthly subs steady for the first 100 tax advisers. Thereafter we plan to increase the rates to maintain a degree of exclusivity and to better reflect the value of being a member of The Tax Advice Network in 2017.
If you have any further questions, please contact our Chairman, Mark Lee. You can book a convenient time to call here >>>>