22 Nov Building Your Business: Tax Season Wrap Up
Building Your Business: Tax Season Wrap Up
Now that the dust is settling from tax season, are you looking for a way to re-connect in a more relaxed environment? Are you looking for some specific suggestions on how to approach these clients to solidify your relationship and help them improve their business (while building yours)?
The complaint we hear most often from clients about their accountants is that they don’t provide the service (i.e. value) that is expected for the fees that are paid. Now this can take on many forms: missed deadlines, constantly working with (i.e. training) new staff each year, not understanding what exactly the accountant is doing, etc.
To compound the problem, often the accountant feels the pressure on their fees, yet the client will go out and hire an expensive consultant to assist with a project that was within the knowledge and experience of the accountant. There are a couple of simple steps I would like to suggest to help improve the relationship you have with your clients, while providing them valuable service for an additional fee.
- Year End Adjustments – Don’t just send the adjustments back to the client; offer to help them make the adjustments (remote access works great for this). This will make future processing easier for you since the data can be password protected so the beginning balances will most likely be correct. In addition, the client will now understand the adjustments (this is especially important for CPAs based on the expanded Independence interpretations) and potentially correct coding errors going forward.
- Data File Analysis – Quite often during tax season the QuickBooks data file is taken at face value. Extra time is not available to look at every detail, and evaluating if procedures should be changed is definitely beyond the scope of what can be offered during that time of the year. However, after tax season is the perfect time to analyze the file to see how healthy the file is. We offer a Small Business Diagnostic Tool – QuickBooks Edition designed specifically for this type of work. By providing the client with the comprehensive report, they then have the option to tackle some of the issues themselves, or enlist the help of you or others. In either case, the client has a data file that is more useful for business management purposes, and you will have a cleaner starting point for the next processing.
- QuickBooks Clean Up and Training – Are there any issues that need to be addressed with the client, for example, did you make an adjustment to inventory or Accounts Receivable that will need to be adjusted for specific items or customers? Are there reclassification entries that you make year after year that a little training for the client would mean that they record the transactions correctly, eliminating your adjustment? Are there features in QuickBooks or add-ons available that would increase their efficiency? Is there anything else that you have to offer that would improve their bookkeeping or QuickBooks experience?
- Analysis – Offer to look at the results from the prior year and discuss with the client how profitability, cash flow, etc could be improved in the future. There is a free Expert Analysis tool included with QuickBooks Premier: Accountant Edition that can be used as a starting point for the discussion. The upgraded service includes a report that can be manipulated in Microsoft Word and includes more than a page of industry to actual ratio analysis.
- Planning/Budgeting – This takes the analysis one step further. By using the budget and forecast tools within QuickBooks, it is possible to get goals using the prior year information as a starting point. This information can be updated as needed. With a couple mouse clicks, budget versus actual reports are available for tracking progress quickly and easily. Don’t forget about the Cash Flow Projector that was included with QuickBooks Pro 2004 and higher.