The eminent sage, August J. Aquila (right), has an eminently practical to-do list to help firm managers get ready for tax season.
(RELATED: Click here for more about managing busy season.)
1. Prioritize issues and work on the low hanging fruit first. Do not try to fix all your problems at one time. 2. Create a personalized development program that focuses on the success of individual staff members. 3. Provide staff with professional development in:
- understanding client needs,
- closing skills,
- time management, and
- communication skills.
4. Analyze all clients for gross profitability and tier them – A, B, C, D. The A and B clients (those being the most profitable) should be given the most attention during tax season. C clients are the least profitable. What it would take to make them more profitable? D clients (unprofitable) should be analyzed to determine what it would take to make them profitable. This may require raising rates, doing less work on the engagement (minimal risk clients), or informing the client that you can no longer do their work. 5. Understand capabilities of your tax processing system. Many firms do not use a large portion of their system’s functionalities. A sales representative or business representative for your vendor should be able to assist you in this area. August is the co-author, with our equally eminent associate Bruce W. Marcus, of “Client at the Core” — required reading for anyone in professional services.
[First published here Feb. 14, 2008]