As an accountant, your business is unique. The term “busy season” doesn’t even begin to describe the hours and hours of work crunched into a four-month window. With a trusting taxpayer’s fate in your hands, your promise is to get them an accurate return as fast as possible.
Dedicating your time to tax returns is a delicate balance: you have to spend enough time checking through every little detail making sure you have it all right, but in order to be profitable you need to complete a certain volume of work within a year.
Streamline your workflow
Your time is valuable, but spending it all on one client wouldn’t pay the bills and would quickly put your firm out of business. Investing in a professional tax software will save you time normally spent on manual tasks, so you can take on more clients—without sacrificing quality of work.
With an automated workflow, you’ll see all your e-filing activities on a single screen. This makes it easy to see the schedules you need and track the progress of your returns. All the information for your firm’s clients, from their data to billing, can be easily managed in one place.
Communicate efficiently with clients
It’s safe to say you didn’t get into this job to spend all your time tracking down missing information and client sign-off. These empty fields and back-and-forths may seem insignificant, but in reality they can take up a whole day’s worth of work. The right software can help you collect e-signatures and streamline your daily processes.
In addition, focus on soft skills in your tax firm. Do your employees understand how to effectively communicate with clients? Be sure that you’re providing high-quality service every day. Better reviews lead to better business, so it’s worth investing in your team’s soft skills.
Get paid faster
Besides saving time, another big (and rather obvious) step in becoming more profitable is getting paid. Let’s face it: your clients probably don’t want to be worrying about paying their tax prep fee, and you probably don’t want to be chasing them down for a collection.
Offering a pay-by-refund option gives convenience to your clients, and reduces your risk of slow or no pays. Since your payment comes out of their refund, you’ll get paid faster and they won’t have to think about it after they receive their return. This in turn allows you to take more clients you may otherwise have turned away and eliminates the collections part of your job.
Build your reputation
Your industry is based on trust, and customer service will always be king. In addition to providing excellent in-person service, and enhancing communication processes, you must also position yourself as a reputable authority in your field. If your company website doesn’t already have an active blog (with a regular posting schedule), it’s time. Not a writer? Hire a freelancer and ask them to create posts about industry-related topics.
By providing a stellar experience, and establishing yourself as a thought leader, your customers will return year after year, bringing more business to your bottom line. The more returns you file efficiently, the more satisfied customers you’ll have—and the more likely it is they’ll refer you to their network.
Go beyond busy season
All these tactics go beyond relieving the four months of headaches busy season can bring. With the right software, website, and in-house strategies, it’s easy to improve and expand your offerings for year-round custom tax planning and advice on tax reform changes. Give your clients the confidence they need, and watch them come back to you again and again—any time of the year.