What’s your backup plan?

After returning from my recent vacation, I decided that I didn’t want to spend the winter in Wyoming as I had originally plan. Because snow.

So I moseyed on out to the Puget Sound area.
I’m staying on Bainbridge Island for the week, and had a CPE webinar scheduled for this morning..
Unfortunately, the weather decided that tomorrow would be a better day for that webinar.
Overnight, a snowstorm moved in, and dropped a whopping quarter inch of snow on the ground. Back home, a quarter inch would simply be a big nothing burger. But here, the wet snow was heavy enough to snap power lines, close schools, and shut down roads.
I was able to get a couple notification emails out via cell phone (since many cell towers have backup generators), but even 4G LTE isn’t really adequate to run a webinar from.
For something as simple as a webinar, “postponement” is an acceptable backup plan.
But for bigger things in your business, you need a real plan.
A robust plan.
Really, a set of plans for weathering much more than a measly quarter inch of snow.
Have you given this much thought? Have you given thought to what you would do to survive if certain things happened that impact your business?
For example, what if Congress passed a law (and provided the funding) to mandate that the IRS do what a number of other countries already do, and pre-prepared most people’s tax returns? After all, the IRS already has the data on file to do this for the majority of taxpayers, and there is a small movement to make this happen.
How much of your tax prep business would disappear as a result?
For most preparers, at least 3/4 of their business would disappear overnight if this were to happen. One stroke of a pen (and a strangely coordinated Congress), and an entire industry vaporizes.
What would you do?
You may think this is a far-fetched example, but the exact same thing is already in progress, at a much slower pace, due to the rise of AI.
What about bookkeeping? How much of your revenue comes from recurring bookkeeping clients?
You know that AI is killing that, too, right?
I’ll even put my own field on the chopping block. What if the current administrative remedies for tax debt resolution were suddenly eliminated? What if Congress decided that all tax debt cases now had
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Making room for better tax clients

We all want better clients.
And by “better”, I mean better quality…better mix of service usage…better timeliness…better paying.
In order to make room in your practice for better clients — without expanding your overhead — you have to trim the fat.
Remember those cheapskate clients I wrote about last week?
Once you fire the worst of the lot, you can fill their spots with better clients, and life will be better. I personally think that the cheapskate customers should be the absolute first to go, because they cause the most irritation. They’re the ones you lay in bed at night fuming over, so they need to go, and go now.
If they complain about your fees, fire them.
If they call or email you incessantly asking for free advice, fire them.
If they are actively blocking your efforts to resolve their IRS debt, then fire them.
Here’s an even bigger Practice Pro Tip (PPT, hmm, I should make that a thing): When you fire crappy clients, announce it to your leads, prospects, and clients.
You already know that you should have a CRM system of some sort, and you already know that you should be frequently communicating (at least bi-weekly, bare minimum) with your unconverted leads, best prospects, and paying clients. This is all part of your client engagement process, and long-term lead and prospect follow up processes.
But what you may not have ever given thought to is that, along with your client success stories, you also need to write about your bad client stories. Write emails, newsletter articles, film YouTube videos, etc. discussing those bad actors. Don’t name names, obviously, but use those firings. Here’s what this does:
1). By providing concrete illustration of the kind of clients you don’t want, you will help to filter out those leads and prospects that might ultimately engage in similar behavior. They will unsubscribe from your emails, unfollow you on social media, etc.
2). You will be signaling to your unconverted leads that you have time for new clients. You can make specific, targeted offers for folks to schedule consults now that you have all this free time available to help people that really want to resolve their tax problems.
Here’s some inside baseball: Between the “Name Your Own Price” promotion on the 60-day videos and the ensuing emails I sent regarding the “cheapskate” issue, a whopping 8%
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The Single Best Thing You Can Do This Week To End Tax Season Stress

With the filing deadline just two weeks away, most tax professionals are gasping for air right now, barely able to keep their heads above the mountain of 1040 work that they’re drowning in.

Some practitioners, however, have made a choice not to live that way for the next couple weeks. You can make that choice, too, and all it takes are a couple very simple procedural changes in your business.

At our tax resolution boot camp last September, Chrisa Anderson, CPA shared a brilliant strategy for attenuating the April madness: Just stop taking on new returns. Anybody that doesn’t have their documents in by this week simply goes on extension. Problem solved.

Another Premium member, Dan Henn, CPA, has taken it a step further. Not only does he have a document cutoff, he also imposes a Rush Service fee for any returns that an individual absolutely insists on being completed between now and the filing deadline. And it’s not a small priority service fee, either. In fact, he charges the client an extra 50% of their regular tax prep fee.

So if you are normally scrambling like a crazy person to complete returns for the next two weeks, it’s time to make some policy changes. And this doesn’t need to be a “we’ll do that next year” sort of thing. No. Do it now. Today.

Anybody that calls in today or later… Anybody that sends you an email… They simply get told that they’re going on extension or need to pay a priority service surcharge. It’s as simple as that.

Have a nice, relaxing rest of your filing season!… Continue reading