7th Jul 2021

Transactions Teams and Tax

Transactions Teams and Tax

It's easy to think what other businesspeople do isn’t that hard, and that it doesn't matter who does it. It's easy to think the accountant who does your payroll and annual accounts knows how to advise on risk and tax on a sale, disposal or investment transaction, or is experienced in corporate approval processes. It's easy to think the lawyer who did your conveyancing can also deal with a corporate transaction and at a similar cost.

But none of these are true and believing them to be is dangerous to you as a business manager or owner and to your business. At Berwins, one of the things we say and keep repeating is that what we can't do brilliantly, we don't do.  And then, what we do, we do with deep expertise. Without this, we would be a risk to our clients and everyone else we were working with.  

We've been dealing with a business acquisition. It's a small one, but maybe because of that, the sellers thought it would be OK to use the guy who did their lease. This guy keeps saying things are in typing, as lawyers did 30 years ago, and produced cobbled-together documents showing he was having a go at something he really had no idea how to do. Does it matter, as long as we know what we're doing? It does, because the documents - when they come out of the typing pool - are fundamentally wrong and need redoing from scratch.

We will redo them. It will cost more. It will take longer. The other lawyer will be affronted with us. He will badmouth us to his client. Our client will blame the other lawyer to the seller, who will defend him. Time, energy, money and goodwill will be squandered. 

What should happen? 

Lawyers on these transactions can't be dabblers - they need to know what they are doing. Accountants need to be comfortable reviewing legal documents and advising on tax, liabilities, and warranties. Both need to have the resources to deal with these transactions, and to be prepared to work the hours they sometimes need. And they all need to have the experience and respect to be able to work with each other.

So even on early-stage transactions, you need teamwork - within teams, across your own teams, in getting those teams together and choosing the right team members. Your team also needs a good team on the other "side".  

Can you do this cheaply? Really - it's about value, not cost. We do not cost-cut, and we have done dozens, maybe hundreds of transactions. We know from the comments made to us that the expertise we bring to the party is what clients value - we never see the cost queried, ultimately, because the actual value is so clear. Whichever team you choose - you will never regret choosing a good one. 

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