The tax side of public accounting is always changing, but the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that was enacted at the end of 2017 was one of those “once-in-a-generation” sweeping reforms that has had CPAs scrambling to determine how to:
- Navigate the new waters
- Make the necessary changes to minimize their clients’ taxes
- Manage the flood of questions from clients on what is going to happen to them under the new laws
Without a proper policy and strategy in place to stay current on these new laws, it’s incredibly easy for a public accounting firm to fall behind on all the changes. And since change equals opportunity, it is more important than ever to be prepared.
At Measured Results, we have a four-step approach to education that helps ensure we stay abreast of the changes, and communicate those changes to our clients:
- Establishing and living core values
- Implementing an ongoing education process
- Regularly strategizing and productizing action steps under the new law
- Educating our clients about the changes
Step One: Establishing and Living Core Values
One of our firm’s five core values is “continuous improvement.” We have posted these core values on the wall, and regularly communicate them internally and to our clients. Regularly referring to and living our firm’s core values helps instill a strong belief in the value of constant education.
Step Two: Implementing an Ongoing Education Process
After establishing and living those core values, we implement an ongoing education process. During our weekly hour-long, firm-wide meetings, we have a dedicated section for training, where we update our team on any tax changes as well as revised firm processes.
From a tax law standpoint, the firm partners are subscribed to multiple CPE service newsletters. Part of our daily routine is to review upcoming courses that directly apply to our firm’s client base. When we see an applicable course, we or a staff member attend and communicate the highlights of what we learned to the team.
Step Three: Regularly Strategizing and Productizing Action Steps Under the New Law
One of our core competencies at Measured Results is creating tax plans that are not just one-off plans, but products that we can roll out to our clients at scale. This helps the firm grow, while also helping us efficiently impact as many of our clients as possible.
Whenever one partner at the firm takes a tax update course that addresses a major recent tax law change, we always take the following actions:
- Meet together to discuss the relevant update
- Discuss how we can use the update to create an effective tax strategy
- Brainstorm about which clients could benefit from the new strategy
Step Four: Educating our Clients About the Changes
Once we’ve determined strategies for the new laws, we must then introduce them to our clients; otherwise, we’re not serving as effective tax advisors. Educating our clients takes two forms:
- One-on-one communication and tax planning
- Using tools like email newsletters and social media to disseminate information
For any of the clients we specifically target as benefiting from the new strategies mentioned above, we directly reach out to them to schedule a planning meeting. That involves running their year-to-date numbers, both without the new plan and after the new plan is implemented in order to show the value of the strategy, and then discussing any action items that will need to take place to implement the changes.
The other element of educating our clients, as well as thousands of other business owners, is daily education leveraging social media.
Weekly email newsletters as well as daily tax updates on Instagram and on our podcast (search “Tax Savers University” in your favorite podcast app) are part of this social media approach. This allows us to educate at scale, enabling us to have conversations with business owners that we couldn’t have had if we didn’t inform and educate through these powerful modern channels.
As I mentioned above, tax laws are constantly evolving, and change creates opportunity. For any firm, it’s important to adopt a culture that fosters constant education. Such a culture can maximize your impact on clients, especially when new tax law changes occur. Plus, it will help you grow your business by engaging with and signing new clients.