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Collaborations between lawyers and accountants; the route to success for both clients and the advisers

Accountants and lawyers often need to work together, and particularly given our line of specialism at FS legal, we find our paths cross regularly.

By collaborating effectively, we can improve client outcomes and profits while also benefiting our own businesses. For example, litigation specialists, like us, may have recovered multi-million-pound tax-free sums for a client who may then need the help of an accountancy firm to monitor and handle their finances or offer investment advice. Indeed, it also applies to other areas of law where someone may be looking to invest large sums to generate a future income. This could follow divorce settlements, or clinical injury and medical negligence cases, for example.

Many of our clients have fallen foul of bad advice from previous Accountants, IFAs or tax advisers and so are naturally looking for a new, reliable relationship. We regularly refer clients to advisers that we know well and trust.

Any client of ours is potentially a client of theirs.

Partnerships between accountancy and legal firms are a rich source of referrals.

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We develop long-term relationships by offering free “health checks” to Accountants or IFAs who may inherit a client and want to find out, for instance, if they may have a problem with a tax or investment scheme. We will investigate and tell them if their client has a claim against their previous adviser and we do this without charge.

It’s a fantastic additional service for Accountants or IFAs to offer clients. Not only does it equip them with knowledge, security and confidence, but it also means that there’s no requirement to pay lawyers upfront. Best of all, it costs them absolutely nothing.

It’s an excellent way to instil trust and loyalty from the beginning.

Accountants and IFAs do need to assess their potential legal partners’ expertise very carefully, however, before they start building relationships. The independent Legal Directories (The Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners) should be the first port of call and is an extremely credible resource. It offers an independent guide to law firms by specialism and geographical area based on reviews by clients and others within the industry.

This way, Accountants and IFAs can find contacts that are reputable and a safe pair of hands for their clients. The worst thing an adviser could do would be to refer their client to ‘ambulance chasers’. Their client certainly won’t thank them and may start to question the adviser’s judgement.

Also, for the advisers, the Lawyers are a great source of new referrals and business. It goes without saying that the higher the calibre of the law firm, the better the quality of potential referrals to the Accountant/IFA. It is an excellent way of being introduced to potential new clients.

Accountants should always speak to trusted associates for recommendations as there’s no better way to have confidence in who you are potentially working with. A personal introduction from a mutual contact is a great way to start a conversation.

Provided the ‘fit’ is right between the financial and legal advisers, the mutual client will reap the rewards of a seamless and dedicated team whilst the professional advisers will each benefit from a potentially unending source of new client introductions. It’s a ‘win-win-win’ scenario.

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