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3 things every tax advice newbie should know

The world of professional advice is daunting. There is a lot of jargon, it can be expensive, and you need to give information to a ‘stranger’ - someone you don’t 100% trust. Understandably, we get a lot of nervous people on the other end of the phone throughout the year, especially if they are a tax advice newbie. Don’t fret, we have got your back.

Being a tax advice newbie

Tax advice newbies are people who have never received tax advice before. They might have friends and family who have had professional advice but never had to explore it until now. They know that it is potentially something they could benefit from, but just don’t know who to turn to.

There is no shame in being a tax advice newbie. We all need tax advice at different stages of our lives and there is no one-size-fits-all.

Ask that question you don’t have the answer to

Most of us have been there - received an unexpected letter, phone call or change in personal circumstance. Anything can impact our financial positions resulting in the need for advice because we simply don’t know what to do. Some of the typical opening lines we hear are:

Umm, hello? I got a scary letter from HMRC.”

My financial position has changed recently and I’m not sure what to do.”

I was speaking to a friend and I think I’ve been doing something wrong for a few years.”

After a few minutes of back and forth, the picture usually starts to become quite clear. As accountants and tax advisors, it’s our job to help eliminate the rules that might not apply to your situation and clarify what might. We try to put ourselves into the shoes of the person on the call.

Three questions for your tax advisor

Even though you might not know how to solve your tax problem, when you speak to an advisor, ask these three questions. Their answers might even help you make a decision on whether they are the ‘right fit’ to help you or not. Don’t feel the need to instantaneously make a decision - speak to a few different experts and get their take on your situation. After all, you need to trust your accountant and tax advisor.

Three questions to ask your tax advisor:

  1. What needs to be done?
  2. How will you do it/approach the situation?
  3. How much will it cost?

When we usually get asked these questions, we will always best to answer them all. However, we won’t pretend to be able to if it is a slightly more complex issue. Since the answers to these questions can be varied, some things may need to be clarified. After that call, we usually send a summary email of the discussion and a price quote to follow up. Other accountants may, however, operate differently. Be mindful that you don’t have to disclose all your information on the initial call, but be as clear as you can so the advisor can get a better picture of the challenge you face. This way they will be able to help you accurately.

Take the plunge

We hope that your first flurry into our world will not be nearly as daunting as you think it might be. After a while, the thought of speaking to a trusted advisor may even become a lifelong habit. For some people, it is the best financial decision they could ever make.

However, we are all human and personalities matter too. Take the time to find a tax advisor that you can trust and who understands your circumstances. It’s also why we have The Secret Network set up - we don’t always have the answer to everything (that’s not tax or accountancy…).

Speak to a newbie expert

Having started our business in 2021, our newbie days seem like a not-so-distant memory, even with more than 19 years in the industry collectively. We turned our tax advice newbie learnings into something practical that we could help our clients with. We don’t want you to face the same stresses that we did when starting our own businesses and families. We’re always keen to hear from newbies, even if it’s to point you in the right direction. Give us a shout to see if we can help. Email Enable JavaScript to view protected content. or call 0131 364 4191.

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