The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Tayabali & White is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.
Tayabali & White
Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
32 | TAYABALI & WHITE
Tayabali & White strive to be the best possible example
of a modern accountancy firm, putting client care, good
advice and technology at the forefront of everything they
do. When equal partners Simon White and Imran Tayabali took
over the firm from Imran’s father in 2007, it was successful:
well respected, it had an enviable client base and generated a
good profit, but the services were predominantly compliance-
based. They realised that to continue that success for another
generation, their team of staff would have to adapt.
We identified two main areas in which our clients wanted more than traditional
services: first, reliable business advice for the multitude of issues that our business
clients face; and secondly, technical tax knowledge for all clients to provide higher-
level thinking and planning. To help achieve this, Imran completed the Cranfield
School of Management Business Growth Programme, which is designed for owner-
managers to articulate and plan the future they want for their business. Creating
our own strict vision helped us guide our clients to theirs. Meanwhile, Simon sat
the examinations for entrance to the Chartered Institute of Taxation.
As well as helping the business, this personal investment also added greatly to our
enjoyment of work. We then undertook a major redevelopment of our business.
We surveyed our clients to understand what they wanted from an accountancy
practice. The results of this have informed the way in which we now do everything.
Above all else, our clients appreciated the high level of service and the personal
nature of our business.
We realigned our branding to reflect the personal nature of the business and set
a goal which was: using our firm should be the accountancy equivalent of using a
private bank. We focused on the following areas:
»Processes: these were reviewed, modified and documented, staff work plans
were created and we are focusing on the turnaround time of client work.
»Communication: this is absolutely critical to the delivery of exceptional client
service. Training was provided on telephone manner, email etiquette and
»Dress code and manner: we offer a high-end service, so clients expect us to be
professional in the way that we dress and deal with them. Everyone is trained to
help clients wherever possible. If a client has a problem, we take it away from
»Front of house: a team is dedicated to dealing with clients on arrival. These staff
know the clients; they know how they like their tea or whether they like to chat
AT A GLANCE
TAYABALI & WHITE
»Equal partners: Imran Tayabali
and Simon White
»Established in 1979
»Based in Cambridge
»Services: Tax, accountancy and
business advice for individuals
and family businesses; and
»No. of employees: 10
»Specialists in acting for
Tayabali & White
33TAYABALI & WHITE |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
before a meeting or simply sit and
read the paper. These are small
things but make a big difference to
the overall feeling that clients have
when they visit.
»Regularly surveying clients for their
feedback and to spot any trends.
In setting out our stall we aim to attract
“ideal” clients; that is profitable clients
with whom we enjoy working. Our
branding and processes are designed
to attract and retain these ideal clients
as much as they are to discourage
clients with different attitudes.
Tailoring our services
Some work does not suit the service
that we offer. Audits are largely
process driven and the rules on
independence mean that it is difficult
to given meaningful advice to these
clients. Therefore, we decided to
reduce the audit work that we do.
Recently, we have both become
authorised probate practitioners,
adding a much-appreciated ancillary
service to our tax and accountancy
offering to family clients. Probate has
long been the preserve of solicitors,
but accountants are perfectly placed to
help clients in this area: client care and
tax knowledge are crucial attributes –
and that is where we feel we excel.
Investing in staff and
To deliver a high level of service, good
staff are needed. A team of ten, no
member of staff that has joined our
firm has left; two members of staff
have been with the firm for over 20
years. This ensures consistency and
ongoing knowledge of clients and is an
important factor in the client experience.
Delivering great client service is all about
going the extra mile for clients.
We have to stay on top of technology
and use the latest software. We have
been using portal technology for a
number of years. We also created an
app over five years ago which gives
clients an easy and effective way to
answer simple queries or arrange to
meet with us. Each year we spend
a significant amount on IT and IT
support. Having all systems integrated
and gearing up for Making Tax Digital
through the use of Xero and IRIS
Kashflow is an ongoing project.
We take data security extremely
seriously and have invested significantly
to obtain the “Cyber Essentials”
qualification. This demonstrates to
clients how important their data
is to us. Very few other firms have
done this. Our approach seems to be
working. Client retention rates are very
high and survey results are extremely
positive. Profitability is increasing,
too. Crucially, our staff are with us on
this journey and, encouragingly, we
have always been able to secure our
preferred candidate when recruiting.
The accountancy sector
It is increasingly apparent that
technology continues to commoditise
the traditional compliance service that
accountants have provided for many
years, and clients rightly expect more
from us. This will drive accountants not
only to improve their service levels, but
also to deepen their advisory skills and
add new services.
The light that has been shone in
recent years on dubious tax-avoidance
schemes means that no client expects
improbable outcomes. They do
expect good advice, however, which
only comes from a strong grasp of
current tax law and reliefs, the ability
to think laterally and having a good
understanding of them as a person,
their assets and their family. Building
that trust down generations is the
challenge for accountants – and it is
also the most enjoyable part of the job.
the ability to
and having a
of them as a
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review
This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.
In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.
We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.
With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.
And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.
As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.