The 2023 conference for “Scaling New Heights” did not disappoint. If you missed this event, it is a must attend for 2024. Topics this year spanned everything from AI implementation to practice management, avoiding burnout, and how to deal with tax resolutions efficiently for your clients.
Here are this attendee’s top takeaways:
AI is here to stay
Whether practitioners want to admit it, or not, AI has come to the world of tax and accounting. In a recent Accounting Today article, the author pointed out that while AI might be ready to steal your job from you, another accountant using AI when you’re not, certainly might. We already are using AI in more ways than we think. Tools like Siri and Waze that we use on our phones and in our cars on a regular basis run on AI systems.
Most online customer service chat centers are powered by AI tools now as well, as opposed to actual human call center employees. It is evident that danger isn’t the AI itself at this point, the danger is being the firm that doesn’t utilize it. But where do you start? Speakers at this year’s conference recommended that firm owners focus on plug-in implementations to help build efficiency, such as Zapier, Digits and Show Me Diagrams.
Your next chance to top notch free AI training is our next “Future Forward Summit.” Make sure you are subscribed to the newsletter so you don’t miss the dates.
We’re missing the boat on tax credits
Dominique Molina, CPA, MST, CTS and founder of the American Institute of Certified Tax Planners, presented not one, but two knock out sessions on the number of tax credits that are too commonly, not used. Both sessions detailed credits like research and development, clean energy credits, including 2023 changes to vehicle credits, small business pension plan start up credits and more.
Dominique noted that there are more than 1,200 tax credits currently available to our clients and in large part, we are under utilizing them by not providing quality tax planning services to our clients. Check out our refresher on R&D tax credits to get a boost and then check out the AICTP for more information on Dominque’s training.
Subscription pricing models aren’t optional
A number of different sessions throughout the conference either touched on this subject or focused on it entirely. The common theme? Subscription and value-based pricing is incredibly important. Sean Duncan, CPA and founder of Chief of Proactive Advisors, absolutely slayed this conversation in his session for tax practitioners. He hit the nail on the head with his key points on advisory services and how overwhelming it is the number of tax practitioners that are undercharging.
Sean specifically used the example of an S Corporation election where most practitioners either won’t charge or under charge to prepare the paperwork, when in reality we all know that’s going to result in a failed e-file and a letter from the IRS next year simply because of the IRS processing time.
He made a great point saying we need to present our clients the value of a one time, up front fee of $500, $1,500, or even $2,500 to prepare the election and respond to any related IRS correspondence and help them look at distribution issues now that their equity is required to be tracked on Form 7203. When you frame it that way, the flat fee seems like a deal.
The conference also welcomed the Insightful Accountant “2023 Top 100 QuickBooks ProAdvisors of the Year.” The biggest lesson after getting a chance to network with all these super stars? Community is “key.” Especially when you are running smaller, more solopreneur style practices, you cannot ever know what you don’t know.
The best path to continued success is to build a community of other professionals and leaders you can rely on and trust. The sharing of ideas on everything from tech stack, to practice management, to things we all wish we had known 10 years ago when we started are such a critical component to everyone’s continued growth into the future.
The Top 100 as well as the “Scaling” conference as a whole exuded community and unity, right down to the vendors in the exhibition hall bringing their absolute best to help the future of the accounting profession.