How to Build a Bigger, Stronger Tax Practice
The Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How for Delivering More Client Services and Making More Money
By Edward Mendlowitz, CPA, ABV, PFS
With Step-by-Step Procedures, Illustrative Examples, Checklists, Worksheets, Client Handouts, Marketing Materials, Proposals, Exhibits, and Engagement Letters.
PLUS: Bonus downloadable, customizable forms and worksheets in Word and Excel
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The 5 Reasons I Wrote This Book
Part of growing a practice is to have existing clients use more of your services. A major goal of every meeting with a client is to make sure they know every way you can help them on issues relevant to them.
These opportunities can come from anyone in the firm. Therefore, it is important for everyone in the firm to understand what the firm can do, and how they can offer it to the client. This requires careful, directed, and focused training.
The average tax return client thinks of accountants as being mainly involved in taxes. Also, an accounting firm’s largest volume of clients is usually for tax return services. Therefore, a good part of the public image of your firm must come from the tax department.
The tax department must be involved in strengthening the firm’s brand and name recognition, getting publicity, and introducing tax return clients to additional services. Unfortunately, many accounting firms provide very little guidance or training in this area.
There are important advantages to introducing tax return clients to additional services.
That said, there are five main reasons I wrote this handbook.
- Tax departments provide a wide range of services, some directly flowing from a tax return, such as financial planning and asset allocation, and others indirectly such as compensation planning for executives and divorce tax and cash flow planning.
- Methods need to be developed to cross-sell additional services to existing clients.
- Marketing is a thorough process that includes positioning the firm, introducing the services to the clients, and getting the engagement.
- Also necessary is training staff and partners to recognize opportunities to better serve the client, and to be able to communicate this to the client.
- New business and growth doesn’t just happen. It needs deliberate attention and management.
Much of the extra work disclosed while preparing the tax return is not time-sensitive, in that it could be done after tax season ends (which is April 15, hopefully), and even stretched into the summer months. Also, any number crunching can be assigned to summer interns, which our office has been very successful with.
Generating the work during “slow” periods helps to even out the workload, creates revenue where it wouldn’t exist, and provides challenging, interesting, and satisfying services while truly helping clients.
Besides individual tax clients, business clients have great needs for additional services. For businesses that do not pay tax, planning at the business level will reduce the taxes of its owners. For tax-paying corporations, taxes saved at the entity level can be used for reinvestment by the company for further growth.
– Edward Mendlowitz, CPA
- Putting Tax at the Center
- 4 Ways to Identify Cross-Selling Candidates
- The 5-Step Tax Season Client Follow-Up Form
- Example: 17 Additional Client Services
- When to Upgrade Current Clients into Annual Tax Planning Clients
- Who Should Handle Marketing and Cross-Selling
- The Differences between Marketing and Selling
- 4 Good Habits for Raising Client Awareness
- Getting Paid: How to Discuss Charges for Additional Services
- Example: Proposal for Year-End Tax Planning for a Business
- Example: Proposal for a “Second Opinion” of a Client’s Financial Plan
- Example: Proposal for a Thorough Review of a Client’s Business and Personal Tax Situation
- Example: Proposal to Offer a Plan for a Specific Tax Purpose
- 21 Money-Making Busy-Season Questions
- “How Much” It’s All Worth
- The 3-Item Summertime Tax-Planning Meeting
- 4 Reasons Clients Need Tax Projections
- Why You Need to Charge for Projections
- Financial Planning Services: Why, When, and the Top 9
- 10 More Financial Planning Service Opportunities
- 11 Ways to Introduce Clients to Financial Planning Services
- Checklist: 11 General Financial Planning Questions
- Checklist: Financial Planning Engagement Checklist – 28 Items, with Client Memo
- Estate Planning: Who, Why, How, and The Worksheet
- Estate Planning Worksheet (and Marketing Tool)
- Example: Asset Distribution Worksheet for Estate Planning Services
- Inheritance Advice and Guidance: Who, Why, How.
- 13 Things the Client Needs to Hear from You
- Second Marriage Assistance: Who, Why, How
- 6 Ways to Introduce Clients to Second Marriage Assistance Services
- Unmarried Couples Living Together Planning: Who, Why, How
- The Easy Way to Introduce Clients to Couples Services
- Investment Allocation Construction: Who, Why, How
- Who Needs Investment Allocation Services
- The Simple Way to Introduce Clients to Investment Allocation Services
- Investment Management: Who, Why, How
- How to Introduce Clients to Investment Management Services
- Assisting Clients with Their Budgeting And Spending: Who, Why, How (with Worksheets)
- Macro budget worksheet
- Detailed budget worksheet
- Investment Clubs: Who, Why, How
- Divorce Settlement Planning: Who, Why, How
- 9 Ways to Introduce Clients to Divorce Settlement Planning Services
- 15 Tax Issues of Divorce that Clients Need to Know
- Client Handout
- Employment Compensation Assistance: Who, Why, How
- 7 Topics, 8 Decisions
- Retirement Planning and Counseling: Who, Why, How, & When
- Why – And When – To Introduce Clients to Retirement Planning Services
- Eldercare Assurance Services: What, Who, Why, How, & When (with Sample Engagement Letter)
- Sample Engagement Letter and 17-Item Checklist for Eldercare Assurance Engagement
- Sample Engagement Letter for Second Opinion Service
- Conflict Resolution Services: Who, Why, How
- Buying and Selling a Business: Who, Why, How (with 16-Item Checklist)
- Checklist: 16 Reasons Clients Need an Accountant
- Starting-a-Business Assistance: Who, Why, When (with 67-Item Checklist)
- Checklist: 67 To-Do’s for Clients Starting a New Business
- Business Valuations and Forensic Investigations: Who, Why, How (with 20-Item Checklist)
- Preliminary 20-Item Document Request for A Business Valuation or Consultation Engagement
- Succession Planning Services: What, Who, Why
- Structuring Partnership and Buy-Sell Agreements: Who, Why, How (with 20-Item Checklist)
- Checklist: 20 Major Issues to Consider in a Buy-Sell Agreement
- Preparing Returns for a Multiple-Year Non-Filer: Who, When, Why, & How (with 21-Item Checklist)
- Checklist: 21 Questions for a Non-Filer with Delinquent Returns
- Industry-Specific Advisory Services (with 35-Item Checklist)
- Tax and Financial Planning Services for Physicians, Residents, and Surgeons
- 21 Illustrative Services for Physicians, Residents, and Surgeons
- Tax and Financial Planning Services for Construction Contractors
- 46 Illustrative Services for Construction Contractors
- Tax and Financial Planning Services for Realtors.
- 47 Illustrative Services for Realtors
- Selling Bundled Tax Services with Two Client Letters
- Vetting New Clients (with 8-Item Checklist)
- 8 Things to Consider When Accepting a New Tax Client and Establishing a Fee Arrangement
- High-Level Charity Giving
- The Lessons of Three Great Philanthropists
- John D. Rockefeller
- Warren Buffett
- David Geffen
- 10 Considerations in Referrals
- 3 Reasons Accountants Make Great Referral Sources
- 9 Ways to Meet Referral Sources
- 1 Very Important Tip
- 14 Ways to Build Your Brand
- 7 Tactics for Targeting New Clients
- 12 Ways to Get New Individual Clients
- 22 Ways to Get New Business Clients
- 15 Reasons to Hire a Sales Person
- The 1/20th Tax-Client Marketing Rule
About the Author: Edward Mendlowitz
Partner, WithumSmith+Brown, PC. AICPA designations: PFS, ABV, CFF, CITP, CGMA. One of Accounting Today’s 100 Most Influential People. Author of three tax practice management books published by the AICPA and contributor to AICPA Management of Accounting Practice Handbook. Winner of the Lawler Award for best article published in 2001 in Journal of Accountancy. Article titled: “Nine Ways to Make Your Firm More Exciting and Profitable.” Article in January 2011 Journal of Accountancy was that year’s most viewed article and was titled: “Maximizing Tax Season Efficiency.” Author of 24 professional books including the bestselling How to Review Tax Returns (CPATrendlines.com); author of over 1000 articles and blogs, and developer and presenter of more than 250 continuing education courses and speeches. Has testified twice before House Ways and Means Committee on tax reduction, equity, and reform; admitted to practice before U.S. Tax Court; and was an adjunct MBA instructor for 11 years.
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