Email five other tax firms and ask for work they don’t offer but you do.
Estimated Time: 20 minutes
Doing some simple email marketing today.
Pull up your contacts list of other local tax pros. Pick 5. Send them each an email with a very short description of the specialized services or niche industries that you’re primarily servicing these days, and ask if they have any such clients that they would like to refer out.
For specialized services, such as tax resolution, 1031 exchanges, and wealth management, make sure you mention that you’re not trying to poach their clients. You’re just offering specialized services that other tax practitioners don’t offer.
Go meet your neighbors.
Estimated Time: 1-2 hours
It’s a sad fact of modern American life that most people don’t know their neighbors. It’s gotten so bad that tech startups like NextDoor are creating private social networks via a combination of Internet and direct mail to help bring neighbors together.
Your neighbors, both residential and business, contain a goldmine of opportunity. They all need tax and accounting help, obviously. You’re immediately local, so you have an instant leg up over many competing tax pros.
Do your neighbors know you exist? Do adjacent businesses know you do accounting, vs just 1040 prep?
Get out into the neighborhood. Go door to door to introduce yourself. Go participate in a community event. Heck, create and host a community event (we’re coming up on the season for such things). Hand out business cards or flyers, or just keep it casual and get to know people.
Might this take some time? Absolutely! But it’s one of the easiest ways to pick up new clients. You’re conveniently close by, which for a lot of people is reason enough to use your services.
Evaluate your 7216 disclosure and engagement letter language.
Estimated Time: 1-2 hours
First off, if you’re not using a 7216 disclosure or engagement letter in your practice, you need to start. Do not proceed another month without these two important documents.
If you have professional liability insurance (E&O), then your insurance company most likely has example documents they can provide you with this language. The big national societies also offer example language, so be sure to check if you have such a membership benefit available from AICPA, NAEA, NATP, etc., or your state chapter.
An engagement letter defines the scope of the services you provide, and the taxpayer’s responsibilities as well. If you use a generic engagement letter for all services, make sure you review it and update it at least annually. Make sure it covers all the services that you actually provide, that fees and payment policies are current, and that it lists any exclusions.
For your 7216 disclosure, make sure it contains language allowing you to utilize tax return information for internal marketing purposes. This is the most important element of the 7216 for most people, since you want to make sure you maintain marketing communication with your clients year-round.
If you use third party software services, your 7216 disclosure also needs to cover the storage of private taxpayer information on these third party services.
Reviewing and updating the language contained in these two documents can save you a lot of headache and potential liability. Doing this review will also kick off reviews of other procedures and policies in your business, helping you to streamline operations even more.