One Can’t-Skip Touch for Tax Season

Businessman talking on phone in the officePlus 4 more ideas.

By Ed Mendlowitz
Tax Season Opportunity Guide

Occasionally accountants lose touch with their clients, especially during tax season. Part of this is because of the crush of work, which is compressed into a pretty short period.

MORE: 5 Steps for Tax Season Success | Help Tax Clients Help You | 3 Steps to Tax Season Happiness | 12 Ways to Have More Fun This Tax Season | Bill with the Tax Return, Get Paid Faster
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We sometimes lose sight that we are working on something the clients consider one of the most important things in their lives at that moment.
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Why You’re Only as Good as Your Staff

Senior businessman mentoring two younger workersEveryone is busy, but work still has to flow smoothly.

By Ed Mendlowitz
Call Me Before You Do Anything: The Art of Accounting

This is a response to a reader who sent me the following email:

MORE: Staff May Surprise You with Leadership | What’s Your Negotiating Style? | How to Make Your Own Opportunities | How I Became a Published Author | Large Clients We Landed from QuickBooks Consulting | 26 Value-Added Benefits Clients Need to Know
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All your articles are good, and so was this one about a surprise staff leader.

Question: Why was it important in your firm, for you personally, to “know” about Elliot and the tax manager?

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5 Steps for Tax Season Success

Man talking to woman with checklistApply consistency to service, processes and standards.

By Ed Mendlowitz
Tax Season Opportunity Guide

One way to guarantee extra work is to have everything always done differently each time it is done.

MORE ON TAX SEASON: Help Tax Clients Help You | 3 Steps to Tax Season Happiness | 12 Ways to Have More Fun This Tax Season | Bill with the Tax Return, Get Paid Faster
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Not establishing uniform procedures is bad business and unnecessarily consumes part of your life. Consistency in performance reduces work and review time and creates a greater reliance on the staff people.
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Tax Season Readiness: 12 Ways to a Better Busy Season [Live 1-Hour Webinar]

Provide More Effective Client Services. Make More Money. Have More Fun.

With Ed Mendlowitz

Accounting firms learned a lot the hard way during the 2019 busy season. From under-trained staff to tech glitches to continuing tax law ambiguity, it’s time to take a breath, cool tempers, and reflect on what needs to be improved.

Learn More
Thursday, Jan. 16
9AM PT, 10 AM MT, 11AM CT, 12PM ET
1 hour, 1 CPE

Don’t make any major changes in your firm (especially about staff) until you hear the advice in this session from tax season veteran and process expert Ed Mendlowitz.

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Help Tax Clients Help You

Man staring at pile of paperwork11 clear instructions to make tax season easier.

By Ed Mendlowitz
Tax Season Opportunity Guide

Providing instructions of what a client needs to do must be clear enough so that the client doesn’t call you to find out what to do.

MORE: 3 Steps to Tax Season Happiness | 12 Ways to Have More Fun This Tax Season | Bill with the Tax Return, Get Paid Faster
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Sometimes taking an extra minute to lay out what the client should do can eliminate that call or indecisive moment a client might feel.

  1. The object of the instructions is to have the client do what you want them to do.

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Staff May Surprise You with Leadership

Two happy businessmen looking at digital tablet at desk in office3 lessons learned.

By Ed Mendlowitz
Call Me Before You Do Anything: The Art of Accounting

One time I was reviewing a time run and noticed a certain staff tax person, Elliot, kept appearing on clients he wasn’t assigned to and I wondered why.

MORE: What’s Your Negotiating Style? | Why Tax Time Is the Best Time to Get New Business | Becoming a ‘Media Star’ | Don’t Pass Up Opportunities | Why We Train on Excel, Word and Adobe | Stop Pricing by the Hour | Getting by Giving Back
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When I asked the people in charge of those clients what Elliot did, I was told that they either needed a tax question answered or some research done and asked him to do it. Elliot was one of the younger people in the tax department. I wondered why they asked him and not the tax manager.
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Help Clients See the Big Picture

What they ask for and what they need may differ.

By Ed Mendlowitz
Call Me Before You Do Anything: The Art of Accounting

I once had a client who felt he was getting ripped off by his salespeople padding their expenses.

MORE: What’s Your Negotiating Style? | Why Tax Time Is the Best Time to Get New Business | Becoming a ‘Media Star’ | Don’t Pass Up Opportunities | Why We Train on Excel, Word and Adobe | Stop Pricing by the Hour | Getting by Giving Back | Some Mistakes I Made
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I found this out by walking into his office and finding his desk and credenza overloaded with files halfway up to the ceiling.

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What’s Your Negotiating Style?

Businesspeople having a meeting over coffee sitting together at a table discussing a document, young man and two middle-aged women presentThe meeting is the goal.

By Ed Mendlowitz
Call Me Before You Do Anything: The Art of Accounting

We all have our own styles. Many have different styles for different things. Over the years I’ve developed an individual style for negotiating on behalf of clients that I have been very successful with, which I am sharing with you now.

MORE: Why Tax Time Is the Best Time to Get New Business | Problem Clients | When Pushing the Pencil Pays Off | When to Say No to Pro Bono Work | I Used to Hate QuickBooks
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When entering a negotiation, it is very important to have clients clearly articulate their thoughts about what they want. This takes time and patience, along with some prodding and challenging. But if it’s done right, clients will be clear about what they want.
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How to Start an Accounting Practice

Free webinar: Monday, Dec. 16, 2019, at 4 p.m. ET.

Ed Mendlowitz, CPA Trendlines expert contributor, will be revealing everything you need to start an accounting business in this one-hour, one-CPE-credit session hosted by CPA Academy and produced by New Jersey-based Withum CPAs, where Mendlowitz is a partner.

Register Today | Learn More

Mendlowitz will cover what being in business entails, a quick discussion of the 64 things you need to do when you start your business, five ways to get into your practice, pros and cons of per diem work, and he'll touch on what to read, podcasts to listen to, and courses to take. The session will include a three-question test that can determine whether you would succeed in your own practice. READ MORE →

Bill with the Tax Return, Get Paid Faster

STAMP PAID - 3DIt's good business and your clients prefer it.

By Ed Mendlowitz
Tax Season Opportunity Guide

Tax season is a business and businesses need to be paid. It is harder to justify prices when providing services rather than products. Products are usually priced before delivery while many times services are priced after delivery, i.e. performance.

Many accountants price returns before they are worked on, usually basing the fee on last year, or a rate schedule. Sending a bill with the return establishes the relationship that you should be paid promptly for the work done.

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Why Tax Time Is the Best Time to Get New Business

Businesswoman talking on phoneSometimes it's as easy as being available.

By Ed Mendlowitz
Call Me Before You Do Anything: The Art of Accounting

Tax season has always been the best time of the year for me to get new business.

MORE: Problem Clients | How to Make Your Own Opportunities | Large Clients We Landed from QuickBooks Consulting | 26 Value-Added Benefits Clients Need to Know | Some Mistakes I Made | Growing with a Client
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The reason is that there is much less competition.

I never turn down an opportunity to get new business, whether it is tax work, audits, consultations or special assignments. Tax season notwithstanding, I am always available to meet with someone who needs an accountant.
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