Adding client value with advisory services

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After a couple of tough tax seasons in a row, it might be hard to think about adding more services this upcoming busy season. Clients, however, are keenly aware that they can get data entry anywhere.

If they are only concerned about numbers being out on a form, they can head over to any (insert name of box shop preparer), but that’s not why they came to you. CPAs are considered advisors and advising is critical to enhancing your client relationships and building long-term firm loyalty.

Here are three simple ways you can step up your advising this tax season without having to add a whole service line or even take significantly more time prepping your returns. Your clients will appreciate the added service.

1. Prepare, adjust and send estimated taxes

This seems like a no brainer but a lot of preparers will skip this step, or just send the client the vouchers that get spit out with the tax return. You don’t need to do a whole tax planning projection to take a minute and make sure that estimated payments make sense.

If you already know your client will have significant changes in their income, either up or down, for the coming year, taking a few minutes to adjust their estimated payment vouchers is a great way to make them feel like you are paying attention to their needs.

Even if the vouchers don’t need adjusting, make sure you send them separate from the return for ease of use by your client. The few minutes it takes to pull them out of the return and point out the mailing or online payment instructions to your clients will help them feel like they have you on their team.

CPAs are considered advisors and advising is critical to enhancing your client relationships and building long-term firm loyalty.

2. Help your clients get organized

Most clients don’t know what they’re supposed to be sending you for tax preparation documents. Yes, even if they have been coming to you for years. Recent tax law changes could make their anxiety even worse, or they may not send you what you need at all.

You can make your tax season more efficient, and make your clients feel comforted by taking the time to send them a customized list of documents they need to prepare based on last year’s return. Always include a couple items related to tax law changes that may or may not impact them.

This is a great way to demonstrate that you and your team are staying on top of changes that could impact your clients.

3. Do a review before year end

Unfortunately, there’s not much we can do in the way of tax planning once the clock strikes midnight on Dec. 31. You may not have time to do a personalized year end review with every client, but consider hosting a webinar or a lunch and learn event to help your clients prepare.

This is a great way to get in some face time while making sure that questions are answered. Things may pop up that you didn’t necessarily know about during the year and this also gives you the opportunity to address it in a way that adds value to your client.

Running detailed and customized projections is always a great idea but in the event your clients cannot afford an upgrade service or you do not have the capacity to provide more advisory services, the small steps above can make a big difference between you and your competitors this tax season. 

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