Tax preparation is a constantly changing industry. While many of the principles and processes stay the same, there are laws, deductions, exemptions and policies that change each season. This is one of the main reasons why tax preparers are expected to take Continuing Education (CE) Courses.
Education is not the only way a tax preparer can stay on the cutting edge and compete with National Tax Firms. There are many other ways to stay sharp, up-to-date and on point.
Keep a pulse on the industry
You should always know what’s going on and what’s changing in your industry – no matter what industry you’re in. For tax preparers this means paying attention to IRS news releases, reading industry publications, following tax related news sources, and listening to what’s being said by influencers in the industry.
Seminars and workshops are great refreshers and a great way to learn new tricks, tips and laws.
If you are not an EA and have not yet taken the IRS Annual Filing Season Program in order to gain your Record of Completion, you should make that a priority. All tax preparers who have completed this program are listed in a National Database where taxpayers can search for tax preparers who have credentials or have completed the program. If you are not on this list, you are not on the cutting edge. In fact, not being on this list could be detrimental.
In order to compete and earn more money, you should also be taking continuing education. The more complicated returns you learn to prepare, the more money you will make. CE courses are also important to stay on top of any changes to the law.
In addition to these two things, you should also attend seminars. Seminars keep you up-to-date with changes in the industry. Seminars also allow you to gain the perspective of, and learn from, veterans in the industry. Here are some organizations that do a great job with their seminars.
Pay attention to what your competition is doing
It’s so important to pay attention to your competition. They may be filling an unmet need that you could also fill, they may be attacking your brand, or they may be able to provide you with some insight or inspiration.
Here are some ways to pay attention to your competitors:
- Follow them on social media
- Read their blogs
- Sign up for their newsletters
- Visit their websites
- Create Google Alerts for them
Pay attention to what other industries are doing
Don’t look at your tax business in a vacuum. There are other industries that you could take notes from. For example, if you want to be better at marketing, why not keep an eye on the industry as a whole? What are the influencers saying and doing? What about the tech industry? What are the trends there?
Being on the cutting edge means you’re trying new things, breaking the mold, and stepping out of the normal tactics that have been used for years.
Learn from your peers
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. It’s important to know what your peers are saying and doing. You can do this by engaging in forums like LinkedIn Groups or other places where tax professionals chat.
We want to hear from you! How do you stay on the cutting edge?
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