As an onboarding success coach at Intuit®, I spend a lot of time with tax and accounting customers to help grow their business, save them time and make a difference in their lives. During these conversations, I share best practices on all different kinds of topics, from workflow solutions to tips on how to get more clients in the door.
Today, most of the work tax professionals do is compliance driven, especially when it comes to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and other tax law changes. While compliance is important, there are other ways to leverage your expertise, demonstrate who you are and maximize the value you bring to your clients. We identified four key actions leading firms have done to transform their practices to deliver more value for clients and create the practice they always wanted.
#1: Define Your Customer
If someone asked you what your client value proposition is, could you quickly answer? Do you know who your ideal clients are and what problems you solve for them? Until you can define your target market, you won’t be able to create your strategy or make decisions about marketing, such as how, where and when to promote your practice.
#2: Lead With Social Media
Now that you know your ideal customer and the problems they face, it’s time to go out and let them know you have solutions to their problems! Don’t limit yourself to just solving for your local customer – go global. Today’s social media users turn to their favorite social platform for all aspects of their lives, including keeping up with friends, shopping, research or finding businesses, and staying abreast of news and content that is relevant to their lives.
As a tax professional, you are uniquely qualified to provide tips and financial “FYIs.” This isn’t content Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn users regularly see, so it will catch their attention. Always include a link to your website and a call to action to get in touch to get advice specific to their needs. Keep in mind that social activities are important, but don’t fully leverage your expertise. Instead, social media marketing demonstrates who you are and what value you bring to your clients.
#3: Implement Automation
To remain competitive in today market, you need to implement automation into your workflow. This will allow you to focus on developing your practice. Start by automating the easiest processes first, pick the task first and build from there.
While that sounds like a big company idea, it’s actually more applicable to small businesses to smoothly apply automation. I love hearing about how leading firms apply automation to their workflow and how it makes a positive impact to not just their clients, but to their employees as well.
Make sure to bring your employees into the conversation by discussing what they like, and didn’t like, about your last tax season. Employees are often reluctant to embrace automation because they’re concerned they’ll automate themselves out of a job. Yet, in most businesses, this allows for a work/life balance and opportunities for staff development.
#4: Add Value
Creating an advisory services practice is a way to differentiate yourself other firms and deliver more value to clients, enabling you to become a trusted advisor and your clients’ one-stop shop.
Have you ever asked your existing clients what other services they would love for your firm to take off their plate? I had a great conversation with a leading firm that decided to partner with small businesses in their area to offer in-office tax prep services based on a conversation they had with one of their small business clients. This allowed the small business to offer an employee benefit.
If you’re looking for ways to expand your firm, make a difference and keep a competitive advantage, one of the best ways to get inspired is to look at what other tax professionals are doing. I would love for you to take some time before tax season and watch “Best Practices from Leading Firms That Offer Pay-by-Refund” taught by Rosanna Gianini.
Editor’s note: Discover if Pay-by-Refund is a good fit for your practice.