Many potential client’s first question will be, not how can you help my business or what money can you save – but simply what will it cost, give me a figure. And often in these situations you know that however, much will be too much, as they see only price and not worth.
In the Google age we all think we can second-guess our surgeon, vet or TV repair man, so it isn’t surprising some people are reluctant to pay an accountant when they think they might just be able to get away with doing it themselves.
But at the same time, if we all become an expert in everything, the local and national economy would come to a halt. I for one dread the safety of a world in which everyone has a go at their own electrical work and plumbing and attacks their children’s mouth with their tool kit rather than pay out for a qualified dentist!
For me it is great we all have a wide range of skills which mean we can do more for ourselves. Above all we all have access to information so we know if we are getting a good service.
When it comes to contemplating the cost of hiring a professional you have to remember it is about more than just what they charge – it is about all the extra services you receive.
I recently took my wife Jo for a meal at The Hankridge Arms, in Taunton, and having heard good things about the place we were not disappointed. Although well placed and easy to get to we were still able to enjoy an evening table in the sun.
We eat out a fair amount and know for many waiting staff a job is just a job. But the man that served us was a great ambassador for the place and when he told us he had recently chosen to eat there himself on a night off I didn’t doubt his honesty for a minute, as it really is that nice.
We had been warned by other people – in a good way – that the portions were very generous. And although we basically liked everything on the menu, my wife went for a three cheese fondue soufflé to start followed by the lasagne and I in turn picked the crab salad followed by a seafood linguini.
The soufflé was the best we have ever had and the parsnip crisps that came with it added a lovely taste and crunch. She had asked for it without the sourdough bread for fear of filling up and as with everything they were more than happy to help.
When we eat out we like to share and try each other’s food but I have to say the soufflé was so good there is a moment when I think Jo was contemplating growling at me as I went in for a four or fifth spoonful! Our main courses were just as good and whilst we really wanted pudding we were both far too full to do anything more than look at the desert menu – and promise ourselves a return visit.
Everything about the place was great, the location, the building itself with a display about its history, the staff, the food and also value for money. It is not cheap but you really do get what you pay for and we went away full, happy and keen to return.
Caught up in a moment of romantic madness, I set out like many a client to Google my way to try and recreate that night at home – being a good husband, cooking some good food and hopefully saving some money.
But I whilst a recipe was found and soufflé ingredients were bought they remained in the fridge as reality set in. The chances of me making something as good were slim. I can cook but I am not a chef. Even if I did I would make a terrible mess in the kitchen which would lose any romance I had intended and it would take me hours, which I rarely have – time which would be better spent relaxing together.
A meal at The Hankridge Arms was worth every single penny, as they were not just providing great food, they also provided great service. They were happy to accommodate special requests, the setting was great and we didn’t have to think about clearing the dishes after – we could just enjoy each other’s company. Thinking I could achieve all that myself at home with a recipe and save a few pounds was naïve and I guess I little greedy.
For good food I am happy to recommend The Hankridge Arms and for good tax advice or business help I recommend you use an accountant. The same applies to other professionals who study hard to help provide a specialist service, from plumber to painter and engineer to solicitor.
Yes we can all Google our way to a recipe for pretty much anything. But if we remember not to be greedy and we ask the right questions we will realise it is not how much a professional charges but what value we get for our money. In many cases, it is actually saving us money in the long run and in others it is a massive portion of peace of mind – which in the world of tax is priceless.