How to Have Your Best Tax Prep Season Ever in 2021

For many years, my rallying cry has been “no more filing season”.

Yep, I’m one of the people that goes against the grain, and reminds you that there are other things you can be doing with your time other than grinding through tax season.

Personally, I chose to completely eschew tax season when I was in practice, and focused solely on tax resolution. Full time, year-round, nothing else.

That’s my personal philosophy about it. But, I’m a very pragmatic person, and I totally understand that such a message just isn’t going to resonate with the majority of tax professionals. For many in our profession, filing season is just so heavily ingrained into their psyche, that they can’t fathom NOT participating in filing season — and just never going to change that.

I totally understand that.

So, this year, I’m going to take a different angle on this: If you’re going to “do” filing season, choose to do it better.

Plenty of tax professionals have easy-going filing seasons. They work 40 hours a week or less, not 90. They don’t miss their kids’ events. Their marriage doesn’t suffer for 3 months a year. And they still generate plenty of income.

Fairy tale? Not at all.

Since this isn’t at all my area of expertise, I’ve arranged with my good friend Salim Omar, CPA to share with you his amazing system for creating genuinely ENJOYABLE filing seasons in your tax firm.

Salim is well versed in what it’s like to have miserable filing seasons, but several years ago he made specific choices to totally turn around his tax firm. It really is fascinating to read how about Salim got from where he was (which included being up to his eyeballs in debt), to where he was running a smooth, systematic tax prep business. You can read about this transformation by clicking here.

Consider, for a moment, what your life would be like if you had a tax firm that:

  • Runs like a well-oiled machine WITHOUT YOU.
  • Pumps out profits during tax season like never before without you working like an insane person.
  • Attracts the clients YOU want (not just “more clients”).
  • Has more self-driven, competent, confident staff (with very little babysitting from you).
  • Easily gets clients SAYING YES to your services, regardless of the fees.
  • Has clients that refer, so that you’re not wasting time and money on advertising.

You have an AMAZING opportunity in … Continue reading

Every Tax Firm Owner Should Have a “Default” Marketing Task

If you’re never caught up on client work, and always have more on your plate than you can handle, then today’s email might not make a lot of sense.

But even if you’re busy beyond belief, you always need to be doing marketing. Always, always, always.

Why? Because it’s what breaks the proverbial roller coaster, boom/bust cycles of revenue. If you’re always doing some lead generation marketing, you’ll always be filling your funnel and building out your pipeline of future business.

This is particularly true with project-based services, such as tax resolution. You need to always have some sort of tax resolution marketing going if that’s a focus for your practice — which it is, or else you wouldn’t be reading this. Huzzah!

So remember last week, when I educated you on the fact that you need to spend at least three hours a week doing marketing? And to block that time out on your calendar no matter what? Here’s that post.

Well, later in last week we went through that detailed exercise to define your action steps. But what if you didn’t do that exercise? Tsk, tsk. You should. But, at the same time, I realize that many readers just never will.

So then, what do you fill your three hours of marketing each week with?

Or, heaven forbid that you have any downtime from client work, what should you fill the time with? Honestly, if you have down time from client work, then you need more client work — so you should do marketing!

Well, I believe that every tax practice owner should have a default marketing task that they do when they have any sort of down time, or don’t know what else to fill their marketing time with.

It should be a task that you can start and stop at will. Something you can fill short time slots with. And it definitely needs to be something that directly moves the needle in terms of revenue.

When I first went into private practice in late 2010, my default marketing task was telemarketing. Since I had no clients when I just started out, I had nothing else to do all day except marketing. Sure, I spent some time each day on my Google Adwords campaigns and direct mail, but my default marketing task, the thing I spent most of the day doing, was cold calling.

Yes, cold calling sucks. But I … Continue reading

Converting Future Vision to Present Action to Transform Your Tax Firm

Yesterday, I tasked you with an exercise to define your future by visualizing what your business structure and personal finances look like on Dec. 31, 2021. If you missed it, you can read it here.

I promise, that’s as “woo-woo” as I get. Today, we start the process of converting that vision of your future state into pragmatic action steps.

prag·mat·ic
/praɡˈmadik/
adjective

  1. dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations.

Above all else, this is the most important word that I try to keep in mind whenever I’m writing an article, developing a CPE class, or assembling a marketing toolkit for you to use in your practice. It’s a byproduct of my engineering background. My brief foray into doing research science was miserable, just way too theoretical for me. Engineering is all about practical application, and that’s what I try to bring to you here, as well.

So how do you convert a vision of the future into practical action steps you can start taking today?

Creating Action Steps, Part I

Here’s Part I of the simple process:

  1. For each component of your future vision (e.g., each question in the exercise), write down the metric that defines it’s achievement. In other words, a KPI (Key Performance Indicator). This should be an objectively quantifiable unit of measurement, such as hours or dollars. Again, see the the exercise from yesterday — it’s worded the way it is for a specific reason, to flow into this process here. For example, personal net income of $250,000 for the year.
  2. Write down the equivalent metric’s value as of Dec. 31, 2020. For example, personal net income for last year may have been $50,000.
  3. Calculate the delta between the two. In this example, it’s $200,000. This is the gap that we need to bridge, over the next 12 months.
  4. Divide the gap by 50. This gives you the weekly change you need to create. In the example, that’s $4,000 per week.

Was that complicated? Was that too obvious? Have you stopped reading because you already knew that?

Well, if it’s so obvious, and you already knew it… How come you’ve never done it? Aha, gotcha! 🙂

And if you have done it before, GREAT!

But if you haven’t, please…please…please DO IT. It’s one thing to proclaim a New Year’s resolution to 5x your income in 2021. But unless you … Continue reading