Whether you are in the midst of becoming a tax preparer through The Income Tax School, currently on the hunt for a job, or looking at the big picture as you decide whether a career as a tax preparer is right for you – we’ve got some tips that will help.
The Job Search
There are many tax firms currently looking to hire tax preparers for the upcoming tax season as many firms have employees who are ready to retire from the industry. This means you really need to do your homework to decide what kind of firm would be the right fit for you.
Start by asking yourself what your aspirations are in the field. If you want to learn to prepare more complex individual and small business returns, consider employment with a small CPA firm or a successful Enrolled Agent. Perhaps you want to own your own firm some day; you might want to consider working for a sole practitioner who is nearing retirement and could provide an opportunity to buy the business in the future. If your goal is to obtain year-round employment, look for a tax firm that provides other services during the off-season.
You should also not rule out working for a national tax firm such as H&R Block or Jackson Hewitt. Companies like these can help you learn best practices they have developed over the years. Learning their best practices will help you no matter what your aspirations are as a tax professional.
One general rule of thumb to follow is to apply only to tax firms that are reputable, ethical and adhere to IRS Due Diligence requirements.
The Interview Process
Just because you are the interviewee does not mean you can’t ask questions. It is important for both you and the prospective employer to make sure you have the right fit. It doesn’t do either of you any good if you end up an unhappy employee once you’ve settled in.
Here are some tips for the interview and some good questions to ask your prospective employer:
- Don’t focus on money during your initial interview.
- Ask the prospective employer what opportunities are available for career advancement.
- Ask if continuing education and advanced tax education will be provided or paid for by the employer.
- Determine what marketing the tax firm will do to obtain new clients.
- Does the tax firm offer a satisfaction guarantee?
- Will you have a mentor to help you to expand your tax knowledge?
- Will your tax returns be checked by another tax preparer and will you be expected to check returns of other preparers?
- What hours will you be expected to work during tax season?
These are all important things to know before accepting a position because they will help you determine how that firm does business, what their expectations are, and what opportunities will be available to you for career growth and education.