30th January 2019
By Rik Heap, Director of Lifecycle and Leonard Curtis Business Solutions Group
It’s two and a half years since Lifecycle was introduced to UK SME accountants. Since then, over 2,000 of them have become members and 1,350 practices are now benefiting from the wide range of non-core professional services provided by its parent company, Leonard Curtis Business Solutions Group (LGBSG).
A collective of specialist services, Lifecycle is an easy to access hub of SME problem solvers. It’s essentially a one-stop-shop of specialists who are at hand to support those accountants who are advising small to medium-sized enterprises.
By partnering with Lifecycle, accountant members can significantly increase client satisfaction, performance and fee income. It also takes away a whole lot of daily headaches caused by tight timescales, uncertainty or simply not knowing who to rely on to advise a trusted – and trusting – client.
For those who aren’t yet fully up to speed with the Lifecycle service offering – and are yet to take advantage of its free membership – Rik Heap, one of its directors, tells us more about its service lines and the benefits they bring.
- What services does Lifecycle offer to accountants?
Lifecycle provides its members with free specialist advice on everything from company formation to cessation and all stages in between. Our free CPD training sessions are also a big attraction – peer networking is a real focus for us moving forward, as is our ultra-efficient My-MVL software package for solvent winding up of cash shells.
Our other popular services include legal advice, managing creditor pressure or distressed real estate portfolios, raising additional funding and maximising cashflow.
- Why do accountants access Lifecycle services for their clients?
Our member accountants – whatever their size, capabilities and client base – freely admit that they’re not experts in all service areas. As a result, they’ve sometimes turned down additional non-core work or ‘muddled through’ it. Others tell us that they’ve even passed it on to a partner practice hoping that the favour will be returned when similar skills gaps need to be filled.
We take away this uncertainty, pressure and risk for our members. Every day, we’re at hand to complement their own service offerings.
We’d like to think that between the accountant and all of the specialists within the Lifecycle service offering, we’re able to advise on – and provide a solution to – almost every conceivable SME quandary.
- So, I get in touch with Lifecycle… then what happens?
First of all, we meet with the accountant to discuss their client’s needs. Sometimes we talk on the phone. Then we introduce the most appropriate specialist that can best advise on that particular issue and move forward with the accountant and the client.
We often find that we’re initially contacted to fulfil one requirement but, after finding out more about the client’s business, there are other value adding services that we can provide. This is another big benefit of partnering with a network that has such extensive service lines, national reach and expertise. We have the capabilities to solve almost every issue – often before they’re even recognised.
- How would I position Lifecycle to my client?
Most members position us as an extension to their in-house team and we truly believe that we deliver to the same high standards with the same commitment and care.
But let’s be clear here. We’re not looking to take over client relationships – that really is not what we’re about. Instead, we provide a non-competitive, highly trusted and experienced service support to SME accountants who want to service their clients’ commercial and financial needs most effectively
- What benefits would Lifecycle’s services bring to my business?
By expanding their service offering through partnering with us as a strategic outsourcing network, our members’ reputations and capabilities are enhanced amongst peers – resulting in further recommendations and referrals.
In effect, by joining the Lifecycle network, our members can position themselves as a bigger player –differentiated from the competition – whilst retaining those mid-market qualities, attention to detail, care and approachability that SME business owners require.
Our ongoing programme of free CPD is yet another real benefit for members. Over the last two and a half years, we’ve hosted over 80 free-to-attend seminars and two live webinars. They equip members with the necessary skills and knowledge to work in what is an ever-changing regulatory landscape – essential and, even better, at no cost at all.
Finally, for many, our involvement reduces professional stress and tension. We recognise that family life and relationships are damaged by pressures at work and we like to think that when we step in, we reduce this. We’re told that we do.
Services offered by Lifecycle include: Company secretarial and formation; equity finance for SMEs; debt advisory for SMEs; personal debt advice; corporate restructuring, insolvency and cessation; debt finance for SMEs; cashflow maximisation; property solutions and legal services.
Read more about Lifecycle and how it works with the nation’s accountants here.