In 2014, the number of people who owned mobile phones exceeded the number of people who owned desktop computers. So, it is now more important than ever for tax practices to embrace technology to remain competitive.
And, while there is no one idea or trick that will be a silver bullet, here are six technology ideas that will get you headed in the right direction:
Websites have become the “new business card.” Having one is imperative, and how your site looks speaks to your credibility as a firm. Be sure you invest in having a professional looking webpage.
People who seek out a tax preparer are looking for someone that can be their trusted advisor. Seek out a monthly electronic newsletter that shares helpful tax info to help cement your partnership.
Similar to a newsletter, a blog also shares helpful tax info, but with the intent of attracting new clients. Often, before taxpayers seek out a professional, they try to figure out things for themselves first. A blog that shares your tax expertise will not only help potential clients to find you online, but also help to increase your website rankings. If you’re not ready to start a blog, consider creating a microblog. You can do this through Google+ or LinkedIn. Both have tools built in that allow you to write a short blog entry and post it online in minutes, without the need for software.
4. Social Networking
Most tax practices grow by referrals. Facebook has more than 1 billion active users and LinkedIn has more than 332 million users. Creating a presence on these social networking sites makes it easier for your clients to drive referrals back to your practice.
5. Internet-Based Video Conferencing
Even if your clients live near your office, less than half have the time to make it by your office in today’s technology age. So, if face-to-face meetings are a must, consider an internet-based video conferencing site, such as Skype. It’s free to use and works on desktops, tablets and phones.
6. Electronic Signatures
Today’s tech savvy taxpayer demands services that are available anytime, anywhere, on any device. Today’s tech savvy firm demands the ultimate security in their client communications. Electronic signature services fulfill both needs. Unlike mail, email and fax, electronic signatures fully encrypt the document as it is transmitted to and from the client. And, since electronic signatures can be accessed on any device, your clients can sign when it’s convenient for them and won’t have to find a fax machine or scanner just to get you the files you need.
Editor’s Note: Intuit eSignature is an electronic signature service that is included in Lacerte® and ProSeries® professional tax software. For the 2015 tax year, Lacerte eSignature will be enhanced to include a payment service to help pros get paid faster. For more information, visit us online at Lacerte eSignature or ProSeries eSignature.