Having worked in the tax and accounting field, I have had the pleasure of working with many tax professionals. One topic that often arises, in particular at trade shows, is tax software. You have your loyal Drake followers, your Lacerte advocates and everything in-between. Value is one term you hear a lot when you are in the Drake circle. For Lacerte, it’s a workhorse that is complete and very efficient in regards to entry style. The fact is that renewal rates in the industry are very strong and usually run in the 95% range across the board. On occasion, you will have a tax software company make a mistake or two that cost them a few points off their renewal rate but in general the rates stay very stable. The point I want to discuss today is for new preparers or preparers that have finally realized that consumer DIY software is not the right fit to run a growing business.
The most successful professionals are those who keep up with the changing trends of their industry. For tax professionals, however, this can be a difficult feat to manage. In the ever-changing environment of tax work, here are a few tips to keep you informed of any tax updates.
I think most people are familiar with how Uber and Lyft have changed the car service industry. They provide a level of convenience and more importantly, make you feel like you aren’t getting ripped off. Both Uber and Lyft saw a need that they’re customers can enjoy, so...how can we take a lesson or a play from their book? Before I answer this question, think about what your customers need or would enjoy during tax season. More of your clients and potential clients are starting to see self-preparation as the easier and cheaper alternative. You clearly have more resources and knowledge to assess their tax and financial needs, but is that enough? Let’s take a look at Uber, and see how partnering up with them provides the convenience we’re looking for.
Before you use your terminator focus to find some good freebies, ask yourself why you’re attending the IRS trade shows. Unfortunately, not enough people ask themselves that, and fail to have a clear understanding of their goals for the event. It’s almost like walking into a networking event that you paid for, grabbing a couple of beers, maybe some nachos, and then desert…if you’re lucky. Instead, buy a 6 pack of beer, Tostito scoops, some good ole Ben and Jerry’s, and call it a day. Here’s my point. If you’re going to the trade shows and focused on the freebies, you’ve already lost.
After several hours of listening to IRS seminars and watching the hour hand slowly approach twelve, you realize the last hour was spent thinking of how to best get in line for food. You try to focus, but let’s face it, you need a break. After all, there’s only so much information you can digest in one day. Alright, so after 17 pens, 6 folders, 4 shirts, 2 pins, and an obscure doll, you go back home and get ready for the next trade show. There’s a wide variety of things that people give away at trade shows. God knows we all love the occasional free supplies. But at what cost to your business?
After you’ve reached certain degrees of success or even encountered unfortunate failures, a couple of things can happen. Your success can make you complacent or empower you to work harder. In the same way, your failure can make you feel discouraged or propel you to fight more. With that said, my point is simple. Your success is directly correlated with how well you plan and how well you execute that plan. Perhaps you’ve come across a phrase that reads, “If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time you’re late. And if you’re late, don’t bother showing up”.
Being on time means starting to plan now. By taking the time to plan for next year during the off-season, you will be more prepared, more capable, and less frantic.