Did you open a tax business this year?
Did you hire new employees, or hire employees for the first time?
Are there areas in your tax business that need improvement?
Here’s a secret I learned a long time ago about running a tax business. You’ll never improve or keep up if you don’t have a plan for everything you do. Whether it’s marketing your business, onboarding and training new employees, or running day-to-day operations.
The only way to do that is to plan ahead and document everything. That means you need manuals – guidebooks for how the business should be run so that nothing falls through the cracks. The big firms do it – so why wouldn’t you? Here are four manuals every tax business should develop for their business.
A Marketing Manual
Whether this is your first tax season or your 15th, you need a marketing plan in place, and you need to keep track of your successes and flops. Where did growth come from last year? What kept repeat business from coming back? How will you ensure your clients are referring you to friends, etc.?
You need to develop checklists, promotions, partnerships, etc. to ensure growth and exposure and you need to document it all so that it can be repeated year after year.
Your marketing manual should include:
- A strategic plan
- Description of your target market
- Market research
- SWOT Analysis
- Market evaluation
- Mass and target marketing plan
- Ad design specs
- Monthly marketing plan
- Client communication standards
- Brochures and other marketing collateral
- Call sheets
- Referral programs
- Social Media Strategy
- Internet Advertising plan
- Public Relations strategy
- Event planning (grand opening, open house, etc.)
- Branding guidelines
- Direct Mail strategy
There’s a lot that goes into a well thought-out marketing plan. Chances are, you probably didn’t graduate with a degree in marketing. The big tax firms have lots of different tactics they employ throughout the year to ensure business growth. That’s why we developed a Tax Business Marketing Manual – a guide to help you create your own marketing plan that includes strategies that are proven to be effective and easy to implement.
Policies & Procedures Manual
Your tax preparers need to know more than tax preparation to help you grow your business, they need to know standard operating procedures and best practices to provide solid customer service. After all, the success of your business is based on your ability to not only provide accurate returns, but customer service that creates repeat business and referrals. You also need policies and procedures that will keep your office running day-to-day and as efficient as possible.
Your policies and procedures manual should include:
- Company culture
- Customer service standards
- Tax preparation procedures
- Personnel policies
- Security measures
- Products and services descriptions and details
- In-depth descriptions of your marketing programs
- Tax office policies
- Administrative procedures
- Year end procedures
- Copies of all office forms
If you don’t want to start from scratch writing your own manual, we have developed one that covers all of this and more! Our Tax Office Operations Manual is easy to implement and comes with a CD so you can customize the manual to your own business needs.
What do you do when you bring a new employee on? How do you train them? Chances are if you are not a big tax firm, you don’t have a solid training program and personnel manual – unless of course you put the sweat equity into writing one.
For many small business tax firms, training is dependent on a senior staff member to remember to teach their trainee everything they know. Employees are your key to success. If you want to retain employees and ensure that they are trained properly the first time, a solid personnel manual is the way to go.
Your personnel manual should include:
- Job Descriptions
- Screening & hiring procedures
- Recruiting & training procedures
- Staffing levels
- Pre-Employment hiring procedures
- Employee training outlines
- Methods for motivating & retaining employees
- Personnel Policies & Procedures
- Employment qualifications
- Employment legal documents and possible issues
- Employment practices
- Wage & salary policies
- Work schedules
- Leaves of absence – paid & unpaid
- Employee Rewards & Recognition programs
- Compensation & performance review practices
- Benefits packages
If you’re not familiar with HR and don’t know what the best practices are for developing all of these Human Resources related documents and procedures, your best bet is to look into purchasing a personnel manual that you can just implement.
An Expansion Plan
Whether you hope to rent office space at some point or plan to expand to multiple locations, you’ll need a plan for renting space, choosing a site, getting signage, etc. There’s a lot that goes into setting up a storefront – especially when you need to set-up multiple locations!
In an expansion plan, you will need to include:
- Site selection criteria
- Market segments for each area
- Lease agreements
- Lease negotiation plan
- Leasing considerations
What if you had an expansion plan that was already laid out for you? Our Tax Business Expansion Manual provides you with a methodical, clear plan for expansion and includes tips and best practices so that you can avoid making costly mistakes.
Our manual includes:
- Game Plan to Complete with National Tax Firms
- Site-Selection Considerations
- Different Market Segments
- Sample Leases & Leased Department Agreements
- Strategies for Lease Negotiation
- Alternative Distribution Channels
- Joint Ventures & Franchises
- …and much more!
Having plans and systems in place is important for sustainability and growth. Tax season has already started, but creating or purchasing these important manuals is not too late!
If you’re looking for an easy solution, check out our Tax Practice Management Manuals. You can purchase all 4 as a set, or purchase them individually.
More great posts:
Why Every Tax Business Owner Needs a Succession Plan
The Ultimate Marketing Plan Checklist
Why You Need an Operations Manual and What to Put in It
How to Recruit and Train Tax Preparers