1 – How do people who need tax advice find this website?
There are 4 main ways:
- This website has 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. The site shows up very high in the natural search results (not as an advert) and we are popular because we are evidently more than just a directory service.
- 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.
- We publish a weekly blog containing extracts from the weekly ‘tax tips’ email and this also attracts visitors to the website.
- Our Chairman, Mark Lee, is very active on Linkedin as well as Twitter and Facebook where he regularly posts messages about and to promote the Network as a facility to secure independent tax advice.
2 – How often will users be directed to my profile?
The website attracts thousands of visitors wanting tax advice each month.
It’s hard to predict but, 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 be 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 varies across the year. Another factor is how many of these people choose to use the postcode search option.
3 – How often will I be contacted?
This is one of the hardest questions to answer. Some adviser members get contacted 3 or 4 times a week. Others far less frequently. Much will depend on your chosen specialisms, how often people are searching for help in these areas and also where you are based. So it very hard to predict.
It is up to each visitor to decide which adviser they want to contact from the profiles that appear when they do their search.
Thus there is also the question of how compelling visitors consider your profile to be. This is very much down to you and how you present yourself online. We have shared a series of profile tips to encourage ‘best practice’ so as to help maximise the chances of you being contacted via your profile. If you choose to ignore these tips then experience suggests that you will be reducing the number of visitors who want to contact you.
The simple fact is that we keep our subs low so that even if you only secured one decent job a year your investment will have proven more than worthwhile. In practice you can expect a lot more than this. But we simply cannot make any promises as there are so many factors that can have an impact.
4 – 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).
5 – I’m a tax lawyer, what’s in it for me?
What matters is your tax expertise, not whether your primary qualification is that of an accountant, a tax adviser or a lawyer. The Network includes a number of Barristers, attorneys and solicitors.
The key question is whether visitors – be they accountants needing a second opinion, business owners or private clients, feel that your profile persuades them that you are well placed to provide the tax advice they require.
6 – 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:
- Connection with and profile with 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 same as regards the UK accountants in the Network and those (>3,000) who receive our weekly tax tips 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’)
- Your profile presented to people in the UK searching for tax advise as regards your territory and using our website to refine their search.
We do not send our weekly tax tips to overseas based advisers, other than if specifically asked to do so. The tax tips are written and focused on helping general practice focused accountants based in the UK.
7 – Am I a tax accountant or a tax adviser?
Do other professionals consider you to be a tax specialist or an accountant? Do you spend most of your time on tax matters or do you just have the level of tax experience in certain areas that one might expect from an experienced accountant?
If you are primarily an accountant with a good degree of tax experience you should probably be registering as a tax accountant here, rather than as a tax adviser. In the past some of our tax adviser members have asked us to remove claims from non-specialists who do not have a comparable degree of expertise.
A good way of thinking about this is whether any other accountants or tax advisers would see you as a specialist who could help them? If not, then you should probably be looking at being listed as a tax accountant, rather than as a specialist tax adviser. The fact that you would not be expecting other accountants to refer tax work to you is not relevant. It’s the degree of your expertise and specialism that matters.
8 – Am I enough of a tax specialist?
If you have a good few years of tax experience you’re probably ok – even if you consider yourself to be a tax generalist. Among the 100+ tax specialisms listed on the site we have one for those tax advisers with broad expertise and who are happy to provide accountants with, what we call, ‘tax clinic’ support.
Indeed there is an increasing demand for this type of tax support across a range of topics that might otherwise stump general practice accountants.
9 – In what order are profiles shown on the site?
An automated rotation system operates to avoid any ‘favouritism’. Thus each search shows 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 closest to that postcode.
10 – 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.
11 – What sort of tax enquiries can I expect?
Since we launched in 2007 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. If you only want to receive enquiries from accountants and other professionals, you can set your profile to avoid enquiries from the public.
Occasionally you may get queries simply because you were the featured adviser when a visitor came to the site.
12 – 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 use the onsite search facility and contact a different tax specialist.
13 – 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. And we do mean specialise.
Having said that, at present, we do not operate a numeric limit of specialisms 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).
14 – What investment do I need to make?
Our membership terms are very financially attractive.Our expectation is that you will recover many times the value of your investment each year. But, 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.
If you are UK based you simply pay a monthly subscription of just £50 for as long as you remain listed on the site. You can cancel at any time, without penalty.
Overseas tax advisers need only pay a £20 joining fee and then a monthly subscription of the same amount.
The monthly subs increase every now and then, for new applicants only, to help maintain the exclusivity of the site. The monthly subs are per person fees as we only 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.
15 – 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. Not one tax adviser has cancelled since we launched our new website.
16 – 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 each web 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.
17 – 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 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 are unable to resolve these with you within 48 hours.
18 – 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.
19 – 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.
20 – 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.
Thousands of people use our website every month to find tax advice. But over the 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. So we provide that facility and encourage reference to local accountants where appropriate.
21 – 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.
22 – 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.
23 – How do users contact me through the website?
Most users with an immediate need for tax advice will make contact with you by telephone or 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.
You also have the option to include your own website link to your profile. This facility was added in response to member demand. However we don’t encourage you to include your website details as you risk losing the visitor when they leave our site and land on yours.
The final possible approach is borne of experience. This suggests that some visitors leave our site and ‘google’ the adviser’s name to find out more about them and then approach them directly.
24 – Are members competing with each other?
In some respects yes. Members’ profiles which feature the same specialisms are competing with one and other. We allow users to choose which adviser they want to contact 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 exceptionally 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.
25 – Are there any collaborative working opportunities?
Yes. 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.
26 – 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.
27 – How can I join as a tax adviser?
If you have any further questions, please contact our Chair, Mark Lee. You can book a convenient time to call here >>>>