This gun’s for hire

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‘If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur’. (Red Adair, oilfield fire-fighter)

One of the problems about marketing yourself as a tax expert is that those using your services are not normally able to test your technical competence. This means that they judge your service in other ways and being a better tax technician than others in your field is largely irrelevant. This can be galling if you like nothing better than parrying one section number with another and dissecting an HMRC argument with your rapier-sharp knowledge of tax legislation but, hey, you’ll get over it.

Lawyers rarely ask for feedback from clients (or from anyone as, according to my brother, we think we know everything) but I decided to be brave and engaged the lovely Jose Jimenez of The Digital Post to speak to one of mine and see what they thought of my services. The client was a small agency supplying dental nurses and the work I did for them formed the basis of this Case Study.

This is how Jose’s research went:

‘Q1. Can you provide a brief explanation of your experience with Ann as a client of hers?

A. Good lifecycle in the way it was dealt with from the beginning to the end. Good communication throughout. My mind was put at ease whilst Ann was working on the project.

Q2. Ranking from 1 to 10 (where 1 is very dissatisfied and 10 is very satisfied)

A.  Nine.

Q3. Which part of Ann’s service did you like and why?

A. Her manner. I felt very comfortable from the very first moment I spoke to Ann. I felt there was a real rapport between us. I liked her honesty and the way she was upfront about other commitments”.

Q4. Which part of Ann’s service did you dislike and why?

A. The technical answer was not what I was hoping for but there were no elements of Ann’s service I disliked.

Q5. Is there anything Ann could have done to improve her service?

A. Not as far as I know. Nothing springs to mind.

Q6. Were you able to fully understand your legal position and the steps you needed to take to resolve it?

A. Yes I was. She made it quite clear in her document and she followed it up with a phone call. She talked it through over the telephone so I could fully understand the advice”

Q7. Does Ann provide value for money?

A. It’s hard to compare but yes. She kept to the price that she gave at the outset. She went above and beyond what she was going to do. She did some extra work for me based on some questions I had.

Q8. Would you recommend Ann to anyone who requires assistance with his or her business tax affairs?

A. Yes, absolutely’

Well I suppose that’s good then if the only thing the client disliked was the technical answer.

Lucky I’m not a brain surgeon.

Tax lawyer specialising in business tax, SDLT and VAT

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