Keeping It Simple
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James Smith, Chartered
Accountant is a small practice based in West Hanney, Wantage, close to Oxford.
Our principal James
Smith, as pictured when we started out in early 2003, originally trained with KPMG back in
1995 and has since worked in industry in a variety of roles
before commencing his own accounting practice. James is a published author writing tax and small
business books including Keeping It Simple
There are three general complaints about accountants,
their fees, their service and lack of business acumen. This is
what our Principle James Smith has to say on these three key matters.
1. Fees. "My Accountant billed me for a phone
call" or "The fees are unjustified"
"Wherever possible I agree fixed fees in
advance before the commencement of any work. I don't generally
work on an hourly fee basis, and I certainly don't set a stopwatch
when you call or email. We don't compete for work on price but
for the quality of service provided and we present very good value
for money. My current charge out rate is actually lower than it
was as an unqualified accountant at KPMG.
2. Service "I cant ever get hold of my accountant". "My
books are completed by the office Junior "
"The contact phone numbers advertised go
directly to my desk rather than hiding behind my assistant. I answer
all emails personally, and I aim to respond to all queries on the
same day. I am often able to respond to emails within the hour.
Although I do use some unqualified assistance for routine paperwork
and bookkeeping, anything technical is completed by me personally,
and nothing leaves my office without my personal approval."
3. Advice "My accountant doesn't seem to
really comprehend the real world of business"
I originally trained with KPMG one of the "big
4" largest practices in the UK. I then spent 5 years in industry
in a variety of accounting and management roles where I learnt
a great deal about "real" businesses. Coming back into
practice has opened my eyes to the fact that many people in my
profession have unfortunately never worked outside of an accounting
practice and focus very narrowly on accounting issues. I believe this can give a somewhat skewed idea of the
pressures that exist outside of professional practice. By having
fully experienced both sides I believe I can offer a better quality
of advice to the business owner.
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