Mind Your Manners, Tax Pros: Business Etiquette for Tax Preparers

Tax preparation is more than just numbers, it’s relationship building and customer service. While the entertainment business portrays us as curmudgeons and socially awkward nerds, the reality is if we played those parts in real life, we wouldn’t have any clients!

Etiquette is extremely important in the tax preparation business. The goal is to make clients feel as comfortable as possible and build trust that you will prepare their returns as accurately as possible. Here are some things to keep in mind as you interact with your clients and grow your tax business.

Shame is not a good tactic

Maybe you shame your kids into keeping their rooms clean, or eating their vegetables, but that is not a tactic you should ever use on your clients. Even if every year they wait until the last minute to see you – or they come in with a pile of disorganized receipts – take the appointment and do it with a smile.

Instead of using shame, aim to be proactive by sending appointment reminders and educating them on the merits of being more organized.

Don’t ignore the telephone

The person calling is just as important as the person who walks through your door or the client you are currently helping. Make sure you’re answering the phone within three rings. If your office doesn’t have a receptionist, make answering the phone a priority that everyone is responsible for.

Acknowledge everyone

No one likes to feel ignored, so make it a point to acknowledge everyone who walks through the door. If you can’t help them right away, let them know that someone will be right with them.

Don’t interrogate your clientsEtiquette

There’s a lot of information you’ve got to pull out of a new client in order to get an idea of their tax situation and the form you need to file. While you may have a lot of questions, it should not feel like a job interview or a police interrogation. Make them feel welcome and learn to have a conversation rather than rattle off a million questions.

Stop saying “No problem”

No problem implies that there could have been a problem – that your client’s request could have been a burden but lucky for them it’s not. Rather than saying no problem try saying “My pleasure”.

Be proactive

Go above and beyond by anticipating your client’s needs. Is it time for them to schedule their appointment? Pick up the phone or send them a reminder email. Has something changed in the tax code that will affect them? Send out a newsletter or write a blog post. Being informative and helpful is the key to providing great customer service and being a good tax preparer.

Your clients come to you to help them with an aspect of their lives that is both important and personal: their finances. Make it as easy and as pleasant as possible with these etiquette tips and they will come back to you year after year – and probably tell their friends and family about you too.