An Operations Manual is Essential

By Terry Judge | May 13, 2021

If you run a tax business and employ others, creating an operations manual is vital to your success. Your policies and procedures cannot merely exist in your head. They need to be thought out and written down for others to reference as needed.

Systematic Operating Methods

The foundation of an efficient and effective workplace is the structure, discipline and consistency provided by well thought-out, systematic operating methods. These methods constitute a key element of the franchising system provided by all national tax firms. To operate your tax business professionally, you also need to employ proven best practices. Systematic operating methods will also ensure continued growth and profitability of your tax business. As small business management guru and author of “The E-Myth Revisited“, Michael Gerber, said, to succeed as a small business owner you need to “operate on your business and not in your business.” Making this transition can be a daunting task. The first step is to have a written operations manual.

Why an Operations Manual is Important

An operations manual is critical to ensure that employees understand what is expected of them and know how they should handle the myriad of duties and responsibilities in the day-to-day operations of the business. Implementing systematic methods of operating is very important if your tax firm employs or plans to employ more than a couple of people, and becomes essential in operating more than one office effectively. As more employees are added, communication and management become more complex. Tax preparers and other tax office employees can no longer turn to the tax business owner whenever they have a question about how a particular situation should be handled. Yet, the owner wants things to be done his or her way. Think about a favorite, local restaurant or shop you frequent that has gone on to open more than one location. You may notice a real difference between locations…inconsistencies. It’s hard to duplicate what works beyond what you can manage yourself without systematic operations that can be replicated.

Key Elements to a Tax Office Operations Manual Include:

Employees need standard answers to scores of questions such as:

  • How should the telephone be answered?
  • How should client problems be resolved?
  • Do you offer a guarantee?
  • How should tax returns be priced?
  • How are tax returns prepared, checked, processed and e-filed?
  • How are IRS Due Diligence requirements met?
  • How are payments and bank deposits handled?
  • How are daily results reported?
  • How are tax preparers paid?
  • Do you have marketing programs or offer discounts?

The list goes on and on. Best business practices have been tried, tested, refined and proven over many years and should be documented and used as a reference guide for tax preparers and other tax office employees. This manual can also serve as an essential training tool.

No Need to Reinvent the Wheel

Fortunately, spending many hours creating your own policy and procedure manual, or purchasing an expensive franchise is not the only way to obtain systematic operating methods. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. An operations manual is available for a relatively modest cost from other sources, including Surgent Income Tax School.

Learn more about Surgent’s Tax Office Operations Manual

Surgent Income Tax School also offers other tax practice management manuals on:

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