Tag Archive | "Matthew Durrant"

Forbes Young volunteer at City University, Business start-up Clinic


Matthew Durrant, Partner at contractor accountants – Forbes Young, has been volunteering at the City University London business start-up clinic, City Enterprise Services. The idea behind the clinic is to offer real business advice in financial and legal matters, to small business and technology start-ups.

Since the start of the year, the clinics have been open for anyone that needs help in the local area and is run by the law students of the City Law school.

As most consultants will already know – it is vital that knowledge learned in the study room is backed up with practical experience. In essence the law students spend time with each client and find out as much information as they can about the issue. Then a professional advisor comes in and goes though the scenario with the students and the client.

Eric Klotz from City University London was keen to recognise the contribution of Forbes Young. “Matthew Durrant’s input has  been invaluable, both in providing useful guidance to early stage startup businesses as well as a key insight for students who learn from witnessing the experience.” Klotz continued “ultimately, City Enterprise Services provides startups and small businesses with a great opportunity to get free high quality professional input as early as possible and this can only be beneficial for their growth and development.”

Startup and small business owners may sign-up for a free consultation through the group’s meetup site.

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Why does UK business accept poor customer service as the norm?


Even the word “customer service” has become a standard mantra for every company on the internet. I can’t remember where I first heard it – but I am pretty sure it was not around 20 years ago. When was the last time you heard a company advertise themselves as giving an average or mediocre service? It must be the easiest idiom to offer, but the hardest to deliver.

Only this morning I called a company (for the second time) whose services we need for some designs I want looked at. Having been greeted very politely on the phone, I was asked if a message could be left … again. Having remarked that a second message was probably not necessary as it would be a repeat of the first, the lady said “okay – bye” and put the phone down.

Frustrating though this is – we are in the same boat as everyone else. How often does a business change a service provider due to a poor relationship? I am the first to moan about my mobile phone provider not having a strong enough signal or our stationery supplier delivering two weeks later than promised. But, like every other company, we deem it too much trouble to change over to someone else.

There can only really be two real reasons for this :-

1. Our acceptance this is just the way things are and we can’t make the change as it would be a lot of effort. The nationally acclaimed (by us) British reserve comes into play and we don’t want to make a fuss.

2. The service you are looking to receive is not important enough to warrant a switch.

So how much does all of this cost UK business? In wasted time and revenue, it must be billions of pounds. I know, as a company, we must spend countless hours waiting on the phone for someone at HMRC to speak to us. Sometimes we only want to ask a quick question about a clients tax situation – but it takes forever. And how many times have you heard the phrase “Your call is important to us”? If it was important to them – there wouldn’t be a message, as I would already be speaking to their customer service department.

This is not just about wasted money and time. Fundamentally – this is about the paradox of expectation. We expect the service to be what we pay for – we really want to receive the service we pay for and not feel robbed. As a global business centre – the UK could learn a lot from our American and European peers. We have a great work ethic and a culture that encourages people to run a business for themselves. No other country in the world allows you to start up on your own as easily as the UK.

I just think it’s about time UK business signed up to Father Christmas rather than Dick Turpin.

About the author: Matthew Durrant

Matthew has been an accountant in practice since 1989 and has established a strong reputation in the contractor marketplace. He acts as accountant for a diverse blend of clients from sole traders to medium-size limited companies. An acknowledged IR35 specialist, Matthew’s services are much sought across the UK.

Matthew Durrant. Partner, Forbes Young Accountants

© 2011 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited

Image: Telephone Robot by Jenn and Tony Bot

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What is the dark art of Tax Planning?


In August 1989 I started my training as an Accountant. Mrs. Thatcher was still the Prime Minister and everyone under the age of 21 wanted an XR3i or a 205 GTi.

I remember on the first day having a meeting with a senior Accountant (in my new grey suit) and he explained that, once I was experienced enough – I could begin my training on tax planning for clients. I nodded to confirm my approval and nearly said “Yes Sir”, but stopped short just before I raised my hand in salute. Obviously, I had no idea what he was referring to.

Over the next few years there would be several occasions when this arcane gift was again mentioned. I was half expecting some Masonic ritual needed to be performed or a secret handshake returned before I could wear the badge of honour and plan my clients entire future in the world of income tax.

Many years later, I realised there wasn’t going to be an initiation ceremony after all and I could roll my trouser leg back down again. It turned out, planning a clients tax – was not a thing you could actually teach. There wasn’t a secret book with a list of examples or a flow-chart to follow. It could only be performed when you are conversing with an individual – and they are all different. Without exception, all of you have a different personal circumstance and aspiration. For some people it is an expensive car or a big house. For others – it is sending their children to private school or five holidays a year.

Tax planning is a term given to the blanket of advice that helps your business to perform the following :-

1. Retain enough money for all of its debts and liabilities.

2. What are the laws you and your company must not fall foul of?

3. Pay the director and employees the salary they need.

4. Pay the shareholders the dividend the company can afford in conjunction with their personal requirements.

5. Have a look at the costs and expenses the company will need to pay for its daily running.

6. When will the taxes be paid and who has to pay them?

7. Where are the savings you can make?

If you are not or have not considered the above – you haven’t really started a framework for you or your company yet.

One day I may even get the chance to teach Accountancy to smartly dressed juniors at one of the many Accountancy colleges around the UK. If I do, I fully intend to walk up to whiteboard and write “Speak to People”. And then walk off.

About the author: Matthew Durrant

Matthew has been an accountant in practice since 1989 and has established a strong reputation in the contractor marketplace. He acts as accountant for a diverse blend of clients from sole traders to medium-size limited companies. An acknowledged IR35 specialist, Matthew’s services are much sought across the UK.

Matthew Durrant. Partner, Forbes Young Accountants

© 2011 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited

Image: Fruit Pie Magician by Roadsidepictures

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