The Secret Accountant on…why probate is an exciting and rewarding new opportunity.
We are constantly being told that we need to think laterally as technology is taking over our traditional roles as accountants. Well, at long last, we have been provided with the ideal opportunity.
The buzz word is ‘PROBATE’. For years we have been assisting clients, executors and solicitors in complex situations relating to probate, but were unable to provide the complete service from start to finish. Well, now we can. The Legal Services Board has given regulatory approval to ACCA to authorise its members to do this, provided that they complete an intensive course of training and pass an examination to gain the necessary qualification.
True, it does mean going ‘back to school’ and sitting an exam but, according to the examiners, the eldest to take the exam so far is 75 years old so there is hope for us all!
True, it does mean that you may have to set up a new separate business and all that entails, with new bank accounts, indemnity insurance, VAT registration, designing new letterheads etc. etc.
True, it does mean that you will need to devise new advertising strategies and target totally different markets e.g. the local Parish news, undertakers, clubs with a relatively elderly membership.
True, we can only provide non-contentious probate services but you will find that most solicitors are in the same boat and, if things get difficult, there are specialists out there to take over. Usually, once the contentious aspects are sorted the specialists are only too willing to pass it back to be finished.
True, it is a challenge – but what a rewarding and exciting one. Who is better placed than accountants to provide this service? We deal with figures all day and are used to dealing with HMRC and supporting clients, shouldering the burden of dealing with bureaucracy, form filling, obtaining professional valuations, calculating tax liabilities, completing tax returns, preparing and finalising accounts.
What an opportunity to help in any way we can, directly with the bereaved, with other firms of accountants, with solicitors and anyone who needs assistance in this area.
What a way to provide continuity to our existing clients and to assist them, their friends and relatives at a time when they are at their most vulnerable, and to keep their trust.
It offers so many opportunities, enabling us to not only provide tax planning before but also after death, acquiring new skills, and importantly for small practitioners, to become real specialists. As someone who has already started down this path, I can thoroughly recommend you do the same.
There is no doubt that we can provide a good service, charge reasonable but fair fees, make a good return and offer good value for money compared to the competition out there.
Talking of competition, for how long have we been complaining that non-qualified accountants are beating us at our own game, charging fees with which we just cannot compete? Well, NOW we have a niche area from which they are totally excluded and the true benefit of being a qualified accountant can be really felt.
How to become authorised to provide probate services