Tax Practice Daily Goals Checklist

I like to start my day by reminding myself why I bothered to get out of bed. Some people need that sort of daily reminder in order to be motivated about doing the things they need to do. Other folks may not need that, but perhaps need something to help them stay focused, rather than playing Angry Birds all day. For other folks, perhaps they need a quick look at their short term or long term goals in order to stay focused on achieving some objective.

Whatever your reason, I think that everybody should start their day by reviewing their goals. Your goals, vision, and mission in life are what drive you, both personally and professionally. A practice operating without goals is most likely a dying practice, no matter how slowly. Even if you have no desire to grow your practice, you still need goals in place in order sustain your practice.

Your tax practice goals can come in any number of different flavors. The purpose of this checklist isn’t to set goals, but rather to review them and determine where you’re at in regards to the steps required to reach those goals (goal setting itself will be covered in a future article). Your tax practice goals could be based on revenue, number of returns prepared, number of active cases, marketing metrics, number of days off, etc.

Daily Goals Checklist

  1. Repeat your daily affirmations and visualizations.
  2. Review your entire written list of functional goals and their deadlines, as a reminder.
  3. If I accomplished only one thing today, what should it be, and why?
  4. What milestones do I need to reach today (this week/month/quarter/year) in order to reach my goals
  5. What actions have I NOT been taking that are preventing me from reaching any goals I’ve set?
  6. If I’m not feeling motivated, what physical actions do I need to take in order to become motivated or create momentum?

Some people may think verbal affirmations or visualization exercises are lame or cheesy, but I have yet to meet any successful athlete, no matter how macho, that doesn’t use them, and highly successful leaders and entrepreneurs have used these techniques for eons. I have been fortunate to interact with some of the most elite figure skaters and competitive shooters in the world, and none of them would have gotten as far in their sport if it weren’t for the power of visualization exercises.

I’ll cover goal setting itself … Continue reading

How The IRS Works Collections Cases

When a taxpayer owes money to the IRS, they enter the IRS Collections system. The IRS has a very detailed process that they are required by law to follow when it comes to collecting tax debts. Knowing a little bit about how this system works and how IRS collections personnel are required to act can be very beneficial to you.

There are two distinct collections units within the IRS. The first is the Automated Collection System (ACS), which consists of computerized lien filings, automated send out of bills and notices on set intervals, and the call center agents that perform basic collections functions. It is important to understand that the people you’re talking to on the phone at ACS have limited authority, and may not be able to assist you with every tax matter without elevating to a supervisor or other personnel.

The other distinct collection unit within the IRS is the Collection Field Function. Field agents, called Revenue Officers, are located in cities and towns across the country. Rural Revenue Officers may work from home and have a field territory covering hundreds of miles, while thousands of agents in big cities have extremely small territories and may hardly ever leave their Federal Building.

Revenue Officers are required to do many things in order to “resolve” a tax liability placed under their control. They are required, by law and regulation, to collection certain information, verify things through whatever means available, and close out cases. Over the course of the past year and a half or so, I have personally noticed a significantly reduced emphasis on simply reducing the number of open cases, and instead increasing cash collections through whatever means necessary.

In order to demonstrate to IRS management that they are doing their jobs properly, here are some of the biggest actions that Revenue Officers are required to perform (and document in their files):

  • Make sure you’ve filed every past tax return you should have (and if not, make you do so)
  • Verify that you are making payments on time and in full for any new taxes you have come up, such as employment taxes or estimated tax payments (and if you’re not, making sure that you do)
  • Collect detailed financial information from you concerning your income, expenses, assets, and other debts
  • Based on that financial information, determine sources of money from which the government can collect on the tax debt (this can include forcing
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Tax Practice Daily Checklists

Starting today, I’m going to start sharing the core checklists that constitute my tax practice systems. I’ll be sharing these checklists in order to help you organize your tax practice and make it operate more efficiently. Keep in mind that these systems are constantly changing, based on new lessons learned, input from staff members and clients, and ideas gleaned from books, courses, and seminars from the worlds of sales, marketing, management, and more. As these checklists and systems change, they will be updated on the blog.

I encourage your feedback on these checklists. Be sure to leave a comment on the blog if you have any thoughts to share.

Checklists are organized as layers, like the roots of a tree, starting at one point and branching out and down deeper, and deeper. The Tax Practice Daily Checklist is where I start, and everything branches out from there.

Tax Practice Daily Checklist

  1. Tax Practice Goals Checklist
  2. Tax Practice Daily Marketing Checklist
  3. Tax Resolution Daily Client Checklist
  4. Tax Preparation Daily Client Checklist
  5. Other Client Services Checklists
  6. Tax Practice Business Management Checklist

Checklist Overview

Each of the sub-checklists in the main Tax Practice Daily Checklist serves a core purpose within the overall scope of running a business. The checklist is intentionally oriented towards running a profitable tax firm, and the sub-checklists are presented essentially in order of importance to be tackled each day.

To start, it’s important to take a look at your goals every day. This is to remind you of what you are trying to achieve, why you’re even in business, and to “right your ship” at the start of your work day to give you the proper focus and direction for the day.

Next, the Daily Marketing Checklist guides you through testing your marketing systems to make sure everything that needs to be working is working. These can be simple things like making sure your 800 number and your web site are operational, all the way to making sure that complex automated direct mail fulfillment systems are up and running. The Daily Marketing Checklist comes before client work on purpose: Lead generation and new client consultations are the absolute single most important thing you do every day. This statement may run contrary to what many CPA’s and Enrolled Agents think is true, but think about it: A constant stream of new potential clients coming through your office is what eliminates the up and down … Continue reading