Accountants’ interest in probate services set to soar

Following the recently published SWAT UK Probate Survey which indicates a growing appetite amongst accountants for providing probate services, an ICAEW best practice masterclass held in London in May confirmed the trend after the intense interest in probate software shown by the attending practitioners.

The first of two, half-day ICAEW events – ‘Probate: making the most of the opportunity’ – focused on how chartered accountancy practices can grow their business through offering probate as a new service.  The seminar was sold out with 150 delegates attending including a mix of accountants who are already authorised to conduct probate administration and some who were thinking about registering but wanted to know more about the business opportunity.

Mick Jones, managing director of leading wealth management software developer thewealthworks, said:

“We supported the ICAEW event with a stand showcasing Troika, our specialist probate and estate management software package.  We were inundated by delegates and took a number of bookings for in-depth demonstrations after the event.

“The SWAT UK Probate Survey shows that probate as an added value service to clients and a new income stream is highly attractive to many accountancy practices who also believe that because of their existing expertise in IHT and estate administration, they are better placed than solicitors to provide this specialist service.

“Amongst responding firms that are already authorised to conduct probate and estate administration, 76% anticipated modest to significant growth in their probate practice and some expected probate to become ‘an integral part of their businesses’.

“The encouraging feedback for thewealthworks from the ICAEW event, was that those practitioners who had acquired probate software found it didn’t satisfy their requirement being too geared towards legal rather than accountancy practices.  Interest in Troika, however, was very strong as it is written for accountants by accountants and delegates were keen to learn more.

“We anticipate interest in offering probate services to increase significantly and for those who are investigating the advantages of doing so, we offer a Chartered Accountants Starter Pack.”

The SWAT UK Probate Survey reveals positive attitudes from the accountancy sector on taking more probate work seeing as extending the estate planning and administration/executorship work they already do.  Amongst the challenges they see are the time commitment and public awareness.

Mick Jones added:

Troika Accounting for Probate addresses the question of time by helping to make the provision of probate services cost-effective and competitive through reducing administration time by up to 25 hours per case compared to using spreadsheets.

“As for public awareness, I am certain that when more people realise that accountants can administer probate cheaper than solicitors, the word will get around soon enough.”

The next ‘Probate: making the most of the opportunity’ events take place at ICAEW, Chartered Accountants’ Hall, Moorgate Place, London, EC2  on Wednesday 22 June between 1330-1800hrs. Further information is available by calling 01908 248 159 or mailing events@icaew.com or book online via the ICAEW website.

The event features probate specialist speakers from SWAT UK, one of the largest accountancy training businesses in the UK, and will include Jane Mather, Divisional Director and Kathryn Jones, Practice Consultant with additional expertise from ICAEW’s Patricia Adair, Regulatory Policy Manager and thewealthworks’ Gill Pickworth, Head of Client Liaison.

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