Maximizing referrals from professional relationships

For the past two weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of working with a dedicated group of CPAs that are committed to adding collections representation to their suite of professional services. Working closely with this group has reminded me about the power of networking within our profession.

We presumably all have a professional network. This consists primarily of colleagues within the tax, accounting, or legal profession that we meet at conferences and trade shows, and that we went to school with or previously worked with.

It’s worthwhile to maintain those professional relationships. Not only is it good for the strength of the profession, and good to have friends that we can relate to, but these relationships all offer important business opportunities.

Very few of your professional colleagues are engaged in representation work. According to the NAEA, less than 2% of Enrolled Agents ever engage in services other than return preparation. I don’t know the numbers for CPAs, but I’m willing to bet that it’s similar. Attorneys are more likely to engage in representation, as it’s the nature of the profession, but even with that, the number of attorneys that are competent in IRS collections representation is most likely quite low.

By being competent in this area of practice, and letting your professional network know that, you can create yourself a nice, steady stream of referrals. Tax debt situations are, without a doubt, a unique area of specialization. Within your professional sphere, you are most likely the only practitioner that specializes in it.

Leverage this to your advantage, and make sure your colleagues know that you’re accepting referrals of these specialized client situations.