Tax season 2020 is officially in the history books and there’s no doubt you and your staff have been thinking a bit more about what to do now that it’s over. Despite the end being upon us, there’s still plenty to keep your firm busy in the following months. Below are several steps to help you take a look behind the curtain and improve your firm from the inside out.
Take a break
Your staff have been working hard for the last several months – and a month longer than originally anticipated, thanks to the deadline extension earlier this spring. It is important for mental, emotional, and physical health to check-out after a period of stress so you can recharge. May is Mental Health Month so there’s no better time to take a step back and check-in with your own wellbeing and encourage your staff to do the same. Here are a few ideas for how to “check out” and unwind:
- Take an afternoon out of the office
- Turn your phone off for a weekend
- Get outside
- Spend time with family and loved ones
- Meditate or practice breathing exercises
Whatever a mental recharge looks like for you, make it intentional and commit to it so that you can come back refreshed and ready to take on the following post-tax season tasks.
An important part of any career is maintaining certifications and continuing to learn as you grow. For CPAs, this often comes in the form of Continuing Professional Education, or CPE. Post-tax season is the ideal time to earn your CPE credits to make sure your up to date on your professional competence and skills. While it may be an easy thing to brush off for another time, getting your annual CPE credits checked off early allows you to take any learnings from your courses and apply them to your firm operations or ways of working.
Develop a marketing plan
Now that you’ve got more time to evaluate firm operations, it’s a keen time to develop a strategy for marketing your services in preparation for next tax season. While many accountants say their marketing muscle is on the softer side, I’ve worked out a basic checklist for firm leaders to better market themselves as experts in their field.
- Set a budget and tracking system. Marketing costs can add up quickly! Aim to set aside a specific amount annually or quarterly and have a system in place for tracking marketing spend.
- Determine measurements and targets for your marketing efforts. Once you’ve got a budget, you can get specific about what your firm’s goals are for marketing efforts and how those goals can be tracked. Tools like Checkpoint Marketing for Firms are designed to help you with connecting with clients via multiple channels and allow you to track performance all in one platform.
- Develop messaging. Identify a few personas your firm seeks to serve and create a list of their common pain points. Once you’ve nailed down your customer, develop messaging (slogans, mottos, taglines, etc.) that connects the customer’s concerns to the services your firm offers.
- Get creative! The most memorable marketing efforts are the ones that stand out. Don’t be afraid to try something new like get involved on social media design a new, more modern logo.
Collect client feedback
There’s no better time to gather input from clients than immediately following tax season, when their interactions with your staff are fresh in their minds. If you’re looking to make any sort of improvement in your client experience, it should start with their feedback. Getting feedback from clients can be as simple as a 2-3 question survey sent via mail or email. Collecting this data allows you to make informed decisions about any changes you may want to make to the client experience and measure your firm’s improvement over time. In my next blog, we’ll evaluate how you can design an actionable survey and steps to take with client feedback.
Evaluate your offerings
Now that you’ve got more time to evaluate your firm from the inside, it is time to take a critical look at the services your firm offers. A top concern for practitioners continues to be feeling like their tax expertise is being given away to clients at the price of a tax return – a generously discounted price! The good news? There’s a way to take advantage of your client’s questions that benefits them and you. Advisory services enable your firm to turn knowledge into a new revenue stream for your firm and give clients the change to access your expertise and become more strategic with their business. For more on getting started with advisory services, click here.
Last but not least, hang in there! The end is so close, and I have no doubt your firm has been working especially hard throughout this tax season. For more insights from me and other Thomson Reuters experts, check out our blog site and be sure stay tuned in for my next post on designing effective client surveys for firms.