What is the benefit of a tax specialist?

Please be warned that this blog may sound like marketing and it is different from our normal blogs.  The reason for this is that we were recently asked by a prospect and a client the question:

“What is the benefit of a tax specialist?”

We thought it would be beneficial to answer this great question for our audience.  Of course, this question was raised in relation to why the prospect should hire our firm and why the client should continue to work with us.  They were both specifically wondering why they should work with us if their existing accounting firm (both large accounting firms) could do the work.

The short answer is that they should utilize our services because we believe that we are one of the more knowledgeable and proactive resources for tax and estate planning advice.

As we say in our mission statement, “we are passionate about tax optimization”.

All of our professionals aggressively stay up-to-date on new case law, legislation and administrative positions.  We hold weekly meetings for continuing education and to discuss new developments in tax and estate planning.

Our team of tax lawyers and tax accountants work together in our multi-disciplinary practice which allows us to better identify issues, research, create and implement optimal strategic plans for clients all within one firm.  We are the only firm that we are aware of that is structured in this way.  In addition, we are one of the few firms in Canada that has in-house US tax practitioners that can offer cross-border solutions.

In many traditional accounting firms, the tax department is often reactive in their approach to client needs.  Certainly the existence of the tax department to support the audit and assurance practice is sufficient in many cases and there are many great accounting firms out there.  However, given the current business and regulatory environment, we believe that the traditional model makes it more challenging to deliver leading edge services in both accounting and tax, especially if tax is a supporting service and not a leading service.  Graphically depicted, we believe that a traditional accounting firm with a tax department is structured like this:



We believe our unique multi-disciplinary and cross-border practice is a proactive approach to tax advisory services that can offer our clients the following benefits:

  • Specialist level knowledge on a very complex subject matter;
  • Arrange solicitor client privilege if desired or deemed necessary;
  • Capability to both develop and implement bespoke tax plans in-house;
  • Ability to assist accounting firms and law firms with tax matters for their clients; and
  • Fewer conflicts of interest due to the fact we do not offer audit or accounting services and are focused solely on tax advisory.

Our model enables us to work with our law firm partner to deliver tax advisory services in the model depicted below. We believe that this model is logical, efficient and provides greater value when delivering tax advisory services.



Our research has shown that our tax advisory model is common in Europe, but not in North America due to a variety of reasons including industry regulations.  We believe that ultimately our role is to provide specialized, proactive advice that complements your existing advisor, not to compete with them.

Will your professional advisory fees be less as a result of our involvement?  In many cases the answer will be “no”.  However, if your goal is to reduce your total costs and obtain greater overall value, we believe our firm’s value proposition makes the answer to the question “yes, your overall costs will be less”.

When we explained our tax advisory model to the prospect and the client, they both understood and trusted us to deliver on our value proposition.  We believe that our model is the wave of the future and more “stand alone” professional service firms will be created to fill client needs and complement existing advisors.