OUR CHARGES

See our first year maximum fees guarantee

Accountancy and bookkeeping are specialist services that require a range of professional skills. These services are never cheap - especially in the Cambridge area - so how can we guarantee that you will pay a reasonable price?

Let's start with our motto: 'Absolute integrity at all times through excellent management and fair tariffs'. Fine words - but what do they mean?

    We employ experienced, professional staff under the direct supervision of Tim Phillips. Nothing leaves the office without his personal approval. That's the 'absolute integrity' bit.

    Each stage of your work is dealt with by the most suitable person, which ensures it is carried out with maximum efficiency. That's the 'management' bit.

    We regularly go 'mystery shopping' to check our rivals' rates and total fees for equivalent work to ensure that ours are competitive. That's the 'fair tariffs' bit.

No one can do better than that.

All our charges are time-based. You may see other accountants offering fixed tariffs. We believe this is inflationary, because it is impossible to know exactly how long a job will take until it is done. Therefore a fixed charge must be an estimate of the time required PLUS a margin for error - and there is no provision to pay less if the job takes less time than the estimate.

The purpose of offering a free, no-obligation initial consultation meeting is to provide you with a realistic estimate of our charges before you make any commitment.

TERMS

Some accountants insist you sign 'Terms of Agreement'. These are usually unnecessarily long and therefore they are unlikely to be fully read and understood. In any case, many of them are little more than a get-out clause to shift the blame for any problems over to you.

We don't work in this way. Instead, here is a short list of the things that we should both be able to take for granted between us. By instructing us, you agree to these terms:

1 You must provide us with all the paperwork, books and documentation required for the accounts, returns and/or other reports to be prepared. We are happy to discuss what is required in advance.

2 Remember that we act as agents between you and the authorities, who have wide powers of inspection. This means we have no options regarding many aspects of our work and hence our charges. You must not withhold anything and you must tell us about everything that may affect the production of correct accounts, returns etc.

3 Once we both agree that we have all the necessary information and explanations, we will prepare accounts, return(s) and/or other reports to comply with the relevant legislation (or to meet your specification, where applicable). We will use our professional knowledge and experience to do this as quickly and efficiently as possible. In order to do so, we must follow certain routines and procedures in all cases. We will contact you during the job if we have any questions.

4 All our charges are time-based, which we believe is the fairest method. As it is impossible to know in advance precisely how long a particular job will take, we give estimates, not quotes. Such estimates are based on long experience of a wide variety of clients' circumstances but obviously we cannot guarantee that your work will be as expected. However in most cases we are able to give a first year maximum fees guarantee.

5 Keeping to these terms will result in the lowest charges but you must understand that we will charge for all necessary time taken on your work, irrespective of any estimates given. Such time may include unexpected aspects outside what was discussed at the initial consultation.

6 Our initial consultation meeting is genuinely free and never charged at a later date; and we take care not to charge for dealing with brief telephone or email enquiries, because we do not wish to discourage effective and efficient communications with our clients.

7 Payment is due 14 days after receipt of our invoice, on which the Due Date is clearly shown. You must make provision for this; our Credit Control Manager will pursue all late payments immediately. We will only consider invoicing queries if raised before the Due Date.

8 We reserve the right to carry out credit checks on you and/or your business.

FOR YOUR REASSURANCE

The practice has been built on Tim Phillips’ unwavering commitment to trust, honesty and absolute integrity, which is why our client retention is excellent and the rate of tax investigations is extremely low; and why so many new clients come to us on recommendation.

One of Tim's main issues with the Tax Office is the prevention of unnecessary levels of work being required for small businesses where it is only relevant to larger businesses. In this he has been quite successful.

As Tim supervises all the work being done by every member of staff in the practice, and reviews it before approving it (and the accompanying bill), you can be reassured that we have only done what is necessary - and that therefore our charges are as low as they can be for each job.