Roundtable Discussion: Key Tips for Tax Preparers to Grow Their Business Year Round
In our “Past, Present, and Future of Bank Products” webinar, industry experts Eric King, VP of strategic alliances at Santa Barbara TPG; Carter Dempsey, VP and director of tax refund solution sales at Republic Bank; and Jermaine Shearin, VP of sales at MetaBank tax division, talked about what tax preparers should be doing year round to grow their businesses and ensure a smooth peak season.
Here’s what they had to say:
Q1: Give your clients options during peak season.
During your peak season, you want to be able to offer your customers as many options as possible to file their return and get their refund. Bank products allow those people who need cash quickly an option to get a direct deposit and to pay your fees by refund as soon as possible after filing.
“That's how you're going to attract those clients and keep them,” says King. “It's going to be a good experience for your office, it's going to be a good experience for your taxpayer, and it's going to keep them coming back because it's easy.”
Q2: Use the off-season to evaluate and reset.
Once you’ve breathed a sigh of relief after filing your last client’s return, this is the time to focus on activities like evaluating your tax season’s successes and opportunities for improvement. You also want to identify at-risk clients so you can act now to win them back long before they need to file again.
If you’re trying to attract a different type of client, Dempsey advises figuring out where most of your clients are coming from, how they heard about you, and what keeps them coming back. Also on your Q2 to-do list should be continuing education training for you and your staff.
Q3: Find efficiencies and get ready to grow.
Now is the time to evaluate your pricing compared to other tax preparers in your market, and to decide if you could do more with less staff.
Instead of trying to figure out if you can hire one or two people, Dempsey says, “You should be looking at how you can be more efficient to do that amount of business with the people you have and the tools you have.”
One way to reduce time-consuming interactions is to send out a link to the TaxWise mobile app so clients can fill out the organizer in advance. That way, you’re ready to prepare the return as soon as it comes in.
Other growth activities include fine-tuning your social media marketing plan and getting involved with a local newspaper or magazine, or homeowners’ associations, schools, churches to spread the word about your services.
Q4: Focus on early enrollment in bank products
The next tax season is on the horizon, but don’t wait until January to get a jump on key tasks. Now is when you should be enrolling in bank products for the upcoming season.
Shearin says, “You should be making that decision in September or October, because [come January] you need to understand what it is you're going to be offering to your consumers.” He says these year-end months also are the best time to conduct an annual review of your partner services, make sure your tax software is still a good value for your dollar, and decide whether to raise your fees.