Not content with being one of the region’s leading accountancy firms, Moore has launched a new, ongoing series of bite-sized podcasts aimed at demystifying tax and its place in our lives, from Budget announcements to probate, from stamp duty to child benefit. We chatted with presenters (and partners in the firm) Tim Woodgates and Matthew Grief to find out more...
In some ways a podcast from an accountancy firm seems like an unusual step, but in many others it makes perfect sense: helping people understand something that often seems scary or challenging but is part of our lives, whether we like it or not!
Matthew Grief: It’s our own attempt to make tax more accessible, because it’s not always an easy subject to understand.
Tim Woodgates: Initially, we weren’t sure whether anyone was going to listen to a podcast about tax, but it’s just grown and grown! We’re now getting hundreds of listeners every month and that’s increasing month on month. I also get clients giving me feedback saying that they’re listening to and enjoying it, and I’ve had potential new clients come in and say they listen to the podcast and off the back of that want to become a client.
MG: Lots of people don’t have access to an accountant, and so this is our way of giving a bit back by trying to unpick some of the complexities of the tax system, making it so it’s relevant and understandable for the everyday person who is not a tax expert. It’s why we don’t go too in-depth about anything really ‘niche’ or technical, we try to make it broad-brush and topical – for example we talked about Child Benefit and the Child Benefit cap, which impacts thousands of people who aren’t necessarily clients of ours, but will be caught out by it. It’s a free resource on a podcast that is hopefully doing some good.
Which podcaster or podcasts have you looked to for inspiration?
TW: I was a bit late to listening to podcasts generally, but I have been listening to a particular football podcast quite a lot and really like the dynamic of them talking about a subject they were knowledgeable about and interested in. I thought: we should have a go at that, but with tax! I bought some stuff off the internet – mics and recording interfaces, bits and pieces like that – and we went into the Peterborough boardroom, plugged various things in, tried to get the software to work and then once they were up and running, we just went with it. The first few recordings, the interactions between Matt and I, were probably a bit stiff but I knew the key was making it into a proper conversation between real people, rather than simply a presentation.
How is it working out in terms of reach, and how does it compare to other media you’ve worked with?
TW: We were putting out blogs and, of course, working with social media but not getting a massive amount of traction – it’s not everyone’s favourite thing to wade through a raft of information about tax! But a podcast is much more accessible, plus we’ve deliberately kept them short, so that each episode is around only ten to 15 minutes long. It’s something people can listen to on their commute – it wasn’t ever meant to be a formal, hour-long investigation into a complex tax area; we wanted to create something that would raise awareness of different issues that affects the target audience. We have, I think, around 600 to 700 listeners per episode now, and reached over a thousand for our Budget cast.
MG: There’s no way most people will want to listen to a half-hour chat on a complex tax issue, but if we provide some nugget of information they can take away to help them save some money, that’s far more interesting.
How much do you script each episode, and how much is spontaneous?
MG: Tim is better at talking off- the-cuff than me, but I think our two styles do work well together – sometimes he will ask me questions that aren’t scripted, but it works ok!
TW [to MG]: I think you’re finding a bit more structure around what you want to say, which works better, but I think on the other side, you have rolled with more of a casual approach to some of the off-the-cuff parts. Both of us were kind of the opposite in terms of how we approached it, but we’ve merged towards one, coherent style.
MG: We’ve got to get the facts and the figures and the percentages, anything that’s legislative, written down – we’ve got to get that right. So, we have some kind of structure there but in general we do try and make it conversational.
TW: The pressure is on when, for example, we’ve got to react to something that’s just dropped, like the Budget – that’s a challenge because obviously we can’t prepare for that, we can’t script it.
MG: Yeah, it is quite fun – but I wouldn’t want to do it that way all the time!
To find out more about Moore UK, visit moore.co.uk
To listen to Matt and Tim’s podcast, ‘The Tax Advice Podcast with Moore UK’, visit spreaker.com/show/the-tax-advice-podcast-with-moore-uk