“Slow” Season Improvement Ideas

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As the tax deadlines have (mostly) passed for filing 2018 taxes, tax departments and firms have a big opportunity to capitalize on some down time. While most of us tax accountants spend this season drinking to forget the pain of busy season so we are willing to do it again come January, there are some other areas of our practices that we can focus on.

Here are six ideas for your consideration. I will be writing a series of articles in Tax Practice News to help with each of these areas over the next few weeks.

  1. Process.
    Is your process still based on paper? If you answered yes, it is time to start planning for a transition to automated and computer-based processes.

  2. Technology.
    There are many applications to stay on top of: tax preparation technology, document collection technology, communication technology, tax planning software, phone apps for our clients to use, etc. This is the season to consider alternatives, understand what’s on the market, and potentially upgrade or implement something new. Good applications can facilitate a transition away from paper processes.

  3. People.
    Is your team ready for busy season? Do you have the correct number of people to handle the work that you need to get done? Start assessing any growth needs, now. Consider using part-time people remotely to help manage the tax preparation.

  4. Training.
    Have you considered attending any in-person or online tax training events? This is the right time to familiarize yourself with tax law changes as well as level-up your talent.

  5. Marketing.
    Tax firms grow the most in the beginning of the year, so now is a great time to get your name out there! Consider attending new networking events and utilizing social media to cheaply build your brand and drive traffic to your office or website.

  6. Pricing.
    Off-season is the best time to evaluate your profit margins and discuss the need for pricing increases with clients. It is also a great way to filter out the clients that want too much service for very low prices.

It is always wise to spend time on your internal operations to build the best practice possible. Stay tuned for more in the next part of my series in Tax Practice News.

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Liz Mason is a serial entrepreneur, a giant nerd, and an involved accounting vanguard. She is the Founder of High Rock Accounting, Rebel Rock Accounting, TheDepartment.Tax, and a few other related brands. Liz speaks on a national stage, guests stars on podcasts, and writes frequently. To further her passion for the advancement of the accounting profession, Liz currently serves as a Xero National Ambassador and as the Content Strategist for Tax Practice News. Liz started her career in tax at Grant Thornton (at 20) and automated a portion of her job landing her in the national tax practice. She spent a decade in large public accounting firms working on highly technical tax consulting before branching off on her own. Liz utilizes her creativity and passion at her company to uproot traditional practices and replace them with innovative concepts. She finds joy in efficient technology and her core belief is that everyone and everything can continuously improve (she says "be better" too often). When Liz isn't planning world domination in accounting, she is a die-hard skier, down for any adventure, plays the ukulele, reads everything, and has a good sense of humor. If you're looking for her, you can find her traveling the world and enjoying new food and cultures with her young son. Follow Liz and High Rock Accounting on Twitter at @LizzyNorMa and @HighRockCPAs.