We all know that running a modern tax practice has its unique challenges. This is a career that has:
- deadlines virtually every month,
- requires detailed specialized knowledge (the Federal tax code is a hefty 2,600 pages and much more if you includes all the regs and case law.) and
- deals with the lifeblood of people’s businesses.
On top of that, to run a successful practice, you can’t just have your nose buried in the Tax Code or be heads down in Excel all day. You’ve got to get out there and:
- find new clients,
- keep current clients happy, and
- manage the headache of wrangling data.
Whew! You need to be a bit of a superhero – and here are some of the ways tax pros are doing it.
We’ve seen successful firms focus on these things to adapt to today’s challenges.
Build a virtual team. This isn’t really an option anymore. The real question is how do you do it? Is it simply allowing your existing team more flexible options, and equipping them with the right tools to be successful? Or is it also expanding your teams to new locations, leveraging different hiring dynamics in other markets?
With proper automation, we’ve seen firms maintain or even lose staff but still grow the firm. And they are happier doing it and actually have unlocked time to spend enjoying things outside of work.
Find a niche & leverage templates. Work is more enjoyable if you truly understand a client’s business and become their expert. Lead with standardization of processes and data to gain efficiency for the benefit of everyone. Data and processes flow, become semi-automated, and you free up your brainpower to provide real value: knowledge of the tax law, tax planning and tax insights. Templating your chart of accounts is a key step in serving a niche. Sometimes it seems like a holy grail, but we’ve seen it done well.
Collaboration. Expanded collaboration is like a super-team. It’s not just your team, it’s multiple teams. Many practices are already collaborating with the book accounting side. Mix and match. Why just accept clients only on one kind of software? With the right software, it all becomes common data. Expand your network and seek and share opportunities. Software today can help achieve this.
These are a few observations I’ve noted in talking to many tax practices in the past 6 months. The challenges in front of us can be turned into opportunities. Rock on, superheroes!