Growth ahead! Setting your firm up for year-end success

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Tax practitioners especially tend to experience organic growth in the first and fourth quarters of every year. Taxpayers who have avoided their tax needs during the year become pressed by deadlines or the desire to clean things up and start a new year fresh.

We start getting that abundance of calls right around the holidays and just before we step into another tax season.

Growth during tax season can be overwhelming, especially when your team is already stretched thin. The market right now has a much bigger need for experienced tax professionals than there are individuals to fill the roles.

That means nearly every tax team already is stretched and looking at taking on new work could be the last thing on your mind. But is giving up growth the best strategy?

Here are three ways to rebalance your team and set yourself up to be able to effectively manage growth in your practice as we speed towards the last quarter of 2022:

1. Efficiency is key

While I don’t advise that you take on a massive overhaul of process and procedures or software changes right at the end of the year, now is a critical time to look at how your team is being inefficient. It may be as simple as how you are sharing files between your team or the clients.

Look at the processes that take up the most time when it comes to tax preparation services, everything from start to finish. A common challenge that we all face is how to collect the majority of documents from taxpayers upfront, so your team is not picking up and putting down returns multiple times. Something as simple as providing your clients more detailed organizers or preparation lists up front could save you hours on the back end.

Bonus, doing this adds value to your service and will impress your new clients.

2. Build partnerships

With a challenging job market, it’s more critical than ever to build relationships and partnerships with other professionals. Having an outsource or overflow team in place can be the difference maker for your firm this season. You need a backup plan.

If your team is already stressed going into tax season, adding growth will not add to your practice positively unless you’re proactive about how those services will be performed. Look at where your team is most stretched for time. A virtual assistant to organize files and save documents might be the key. Maybe a contracted reviewer to help review returns alleviates a bottleneck.

Growth during tax season can be overwhelming, especially when your team is already stretched thin. The market right now has a much bigger need for experienced tax professionals than there are individuals to fill the roles.

A partner that is more technology-based could help serve as an implementation team for you working on getting client files set up and organized as part of the initial onboarding process, so your professionals are picking up when work is ready to be done.

3. Stay up to date

Have a plan to keep your team abreast of tax law changes and how to best handle them. If we have learned anything from the last couple of tax seasons, it is that last-minute law changes are likely the largest source of pain.

You can start looking at those changes now. Anything you already know is coming, train your team on before the end of the year. Have a process in place to share out changes that happen during the busy season and consider having a once-per-month training meeting to discuss things as they’re happening.

This will not only help prevent mistakes, but it will also help your team feel more confident and less overwhelmed.

It never feels good to have to turn down the opportunity for growth, and none of us want to find ourselves in a stagnant position after tax season because we have developed a reputation for not taking on more clients.

Growth can be managed strategically. Setting your team up with the best support system is critical. After that, carefully assess every new lead and make sure you are only taking on new client work that truly is the best fit for your firm.

Having referral resources for when someone is not a best fit also is a great way to add to your reputation as a positive partner in the industry and may still lead to future work.

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