End Of Tax Season Means Time To Get Busy

I haven’t been writing to you during the course of the past couple months because I know how busy you have been with tax season (and if you weren’t that busy, then we should talk!).

Now that all of us are wrapping up tax season, however, it’s time to think about what you want to accomplish for the remainder of this year.

It’s so easy to just sit back and take a breather from it all, but right now is the time to begin big, wonderful, and potentially scary things.

Why is this? Because you’ve been working your tail off for two straight months, which means you have MOMENTUM. You’re in a position right now that is enviable from a business perspective: You’ve gotten used to the longer hours, time away from family,
missing your favorite TV shows.

This means that NOW really is the time to launch new marketing initiatives, push your firm into new practice areas, offer even greater value to your existing clients.

If your entire practice is return preparation based, then this is even more important for you to think about: What other services of value can you offer your clients through the rest of the year? You JUST had close contact with your clients, NOW is the time to solidify that relationship going forward.

Now that I’m starting up the newsletter again, we’re going to explore this issue in greater depth here over the next couple weeks on this exact topic. This is such a critical time of year for all of our practices, so don’t be surprised if you start hearing from me daily or almost daily.

Let’s continue the momentum of tax season, and make 2012 a record year!… Continue reading

Remembering To Do Marketing During Tax Season

When it’s the middle of tax season, and you’re buried under a mountain of returns, it’s often difficult to think about doing marketing of any sort in order to get new clients.

As a tax professional, your day right now probably looks a lot like mine: A full day of new tax returns that need to be done. Most days, I have appointments on the hour, every hour, for the entire work day, plus an entire stack of work that takes into the evening to complete.

Because of this, it’s difficult for me to stop and “practice what I preach”. Fortunately, I have built highly automated systems and have a very short list of marketing items that I have to perform daily.

To generate the day’s mailing list for postcards takes literally a push of a button, and then uploading of that list to Click2Mail.com and sending out that day’s mailing takes only a few more clicks, and it’s done.

Similarly, to generate another set of personal introduction letters to new prospects that I mail out daily, I click one link in my CRM system, and it generates a mail merged PDF with all the letters for that day. It’s usually only 10 to 20 new letters, which I then sign and have my assistant hand address and stamp.

My total time commitment for my daily client marketing: About 5 minutes.

That right there is the power of having systems and checklists, to get done the things that need to get each and every day, but doing them quickly and efficiently without sacrificing quality.

What are you doing on a daily or weekly basis, even during tax season, to ensure that you have a steady stream of business even after tax season? Leave a comment below to share how you’re doing it, and read the other comments to see what other people are doing.… Continue reading

Tax Return Preparation Daily Client Checklist

If you’ve been doing tax returns for very long, you may find the thought of having a checklist to do them to be somewhat ridiculous, especially if your tax software has a good “interview” mode that you use and rely on.

In reality, this checklist has more to do with everything BUT the tax return. If you are running a busy tax preparation office during the height of tax season, having an organized and efficient way to handle the large numbers of people coming through your office quickly becomes vital, and if you don’t have a swarm of people coming through at tax season, then you owe it to yourself to take a look at the Tax Return Preparation Marketing System.

This checklist really covers what to do with clients when they walk through the door until they depart with a completed return in hand. If you operate your practice as a drop-off service, then you will need to modify this slightly. This checklist is based on a new client coming in for whom you have never prepared a 1040 in the past.

Tax Return Preparation Client Checklist

  1. Ensure that client is properly greeted and provided Client Information Sheet to complete.
  2. Create client folders, set up in computer system.
  3. Review Client Information Sheet, asking questions regarding anything that comes up off that sheet.
  4. Inquire about items NOT marked on Client Info Sheet, but which are common tax items (deductions, credits, allowances, dependents, etc).
  5. Make necessary copies of client documents.
  6. Enter client data and complete the return.
  7. Review refund/payment options, as applicable.
  8. Review bank product options, as applicable.
  9. Obtain all necessary signatures.
  10. Provide client with return copy.
  11. E-file return.
  12. File documents as necessary for storage requirements.

Daily Items

  1. Process e-file rejections. Contact clients regarding these, as necessary.

  2. Print checks and distribute to clients, if applicable (for bank products).
  3. Confirm appointments, as applicable.

As you can see, there are groups of items to do daily, and also items to complete on each and every client.

Again, it may seem ridiculous to you to have a set of checklists for completing these actions, since you are likely used to doing them anyway. However, by having a procedure that is adapted to how you run your tax practice, and reviewing it regularly, you can operate your practice more efficiently and ensure that other preparers whom you supervise are all on the same page.… Continue reading