If you’ve managed to get out from under “the man” and run your own tax practice, you’re likely experiencing a sense of elation from your newfound freedom. The ultimate Catch 22 is that you now need to keep the business afloat, and that means attracting clients. Not only that, but these clients need to become repeat customers that are so impressed with your work that they refer you to friends and family members.
If you thought you could hide behind a desk and crunch numbers all day, you’re mistaken. With a bit of elbow grease, dedication, and the ability to network, however, you should be well on your way to launching a competitive business.
If you could use more advice, read on for our four tips on running a successful tax practice.
1. Make Sure You’ve Got the Proper Credentials
With tax laws evolving at a rapid rate, it’s important that you consistently continue your education and earn new credentials. Some find this to be too difficult and change fields, but if you stick with it, your business can do quite well.
Although the CPA (certified public accountant) degree is the one you’ve likely heard of, the Enrolled Agent credential might be better for you as a tax practice business owner. As this article by iaam.net notes, “Passing the EA exam provides a solid foundation for providing 1040, 1120, 1065, 990, tax advisory, and other related preparation services. It provides the skill set you need to handle the diverse needs of your clients. It also allows you to choose those areas of specialty you believe will help grow that client list.”
Make sure to also stay abreast of the continuing education requirements for starting a tax business in your state.
2. Build a Strong Team
As any business owner knows, you’re only as strong as your weakest team member. And because your practice is likely relatively small, it is even more important to hire quality candidates. Bad hires are one of the costliest mistakes that business owners can make, so ensure that your screening process is top notch.
After talent, enter rules and regulations. Indeed, hiring is a complex process. This article by TheTaxAdviser.com notes, “Before hiring staff, one must understand the related employment laws at the federal, state, and local levels. Employers must follow many complex rules and regulations, and it is advisable to seek guidance on what is involved with hiring a workforce.”
In response to the complexity, one option would be to outsource employee benefits, retirement, etc. to a payroll firm. If you don’t have the money for this right away, at least consider hiring a payroll person and/or taking webinars put out by these national payroll firms.
3. Hold Yourself Accountable
Another thing that all business owners need to do is to remain accountable as far as time management and achieving daily goals go. If you’ve got a business partner, consider sending him or her a note every time you get something done from your to-do list. Otherwise, it’s far too easy for small business owners to flounder and find other less important busy work.
This is particularly true during tax season.
Every accountant you meet will tell you that he or she wonders where the time went during the day throughout this season. It’s crucial to stay on task and complete projects in a timely manner. It’s not only imperative for your business but it’s also necessary to show clients that you have prioritized their needs. This makes them repeat clients and will hopefully garner you referrals to boot.
4. Put Money and Effort into Your Marketing
As an accounting firm business owner, it’s easy to think it’s about numbers alone. However, you need to reach clients to be able to launch your business and keep it running.
Don’t minimize the importance of a solid marketing program. If you’ve got the means, outsource this to an advertising or marketing firm. Yes, it’s that important. If not, however, you must take the time to do this yourself.
Get yourself social media accounts, do the market research on how to reach your target demographic, and keep up with the best practices within these mediums. A blog is another important aspect, as you are providing information for free, which your clients will love
As a bonus, providing regular content like this keeps your website current which means Google will continue to crawl it. This, in turn, helps your SEO standings when potential clients do internet searches for tax help.
So, there you go – four tips that can help your tax practice grow by keeping the fundamentals in check. Do you have anything to add? If so, please share with us by commenting below.