Well, it’s been 10 days since the official end of tax season. The dust has settled, and hopefully you’ve had time to recharge and regroup. Now is the perfect time to think back on how your tax season really went. It’s imperative to do this while things are still fresh in your mind, as waiting may change your perspective or you might forget key details.
So, what types of things should you be thinking about? Below are some top areas you’ll want to consider. You may want to add to this list.
- Did you have enough tax preparers? What about other types of employees, like a receptionist or an administrative assistant?
- Do you want (and expect) all of your employees to return next year?
- Did you have any issues with your employees? Were they resolved?
- Were there times when you were over/understaffed? Make note of these as it could help you with scheduling in the future.
- Do you need to hire for different days/hours next year?
- Could you have done more business if you had more tax preparers?
- Were your tax preparers qualified to handle all the returns that came in?
- Do you and your employees need additional training? If so, in what areas? Beginner tax training? Advanced tax training?
- Were your employees adequately trained on your policies and procedures this year, and did things run smoothly? If not, what would help improve things next year? Perhaps you need an operations manual that employees can reference when you are not available.
- Did clients or prospects ask about any products or services you don’t currently offer – such as bookkeeping, payroll, notary services, financial services, audit assistance or representation?
- Is it time to think about adding a new product or service to your business?
- How was your pricing? Did people complain or is it time to raise prices?
It’s always important to evaluate your marketing initiatives, otherwise you’ll never know if what you’re doing is even worth the time, effort, and money spent.
- What was your marketing budget and do you know your ROI?
- Which campaigns were successful and how much business did each campaign bring in? Include dollars and number of new clients.
- Do you have new ideas you want to try next year?
- Did you do any any successful networking events or speaking engagements – in-person or virtually? Be sure to add them to your calendar now for next year if they were successful. You need to plan ahead, so someone else doesn’t take your spot!
Did you know it’s 6-7 times more expensive to acquire a new client than it is to keep a current client? Therefore, it’s super important to pay attention to the number of clients you serve each year and what your retention rate is. You cannot show any growth until you replace the clients that don’t return each year.
- How many clients did you serve this tax season?
- How many clients returned from last year?
- What is your client retention rate?
- How many extensions did you file and what were the reasons for them?
- If you filed extensions, was it because you didn’t have the capacity to complete the returns on time? If so, perhaps it’s time to recruit and train one or more additional tax preparers.
- What types of tax returns did you prepare?
- Did you have to turn any clients away because you were too busy or because the tax return was too complicated?
- When did clients seem to come in – times of day, days of the week?
- What weeks were busy and what weeks were slow?
The goal is to keep your clients coming back year after year. One way to do that is by continually adding value. That way, your clients will see you as indispensable and they’ll never want to look for another preparer.
- How do you feel your client service was this year?
- Are you adding value for your clients – such a tax saving tips for next year – or maybe even this year if it was early in the tax season?
- Do you meet with your clients before the end of the year to help them with end of year tax planning?
- Do you ask for testimonials and referrals from your satisfied clients? This is such a great way to grow your business!
Tax Software and Other Tools
- Did your tax software perform as expected?
- Were you able to handle all the tax returns with your software?
- Did you and your staff require a lot of support?
- Did you purchase your tax software through a service bureau or did you buy direct? Many times service bureaus offer more customer service/support.
- Did you have a client portal for sharing documents and if so, how did that function this year? Was it helpful?
- Were there other tools you wished you had but didn’t?
Things probably look a lot different these last two tax seasons due to the pandemic. Maybe you saw fewer clients face-to-face this year. Maybe you found that you were able to be much more efficient with new processes in place, and less interaction with clients. One thing that has become vital is communication – especially if you didn’t see your clients in person.
- Did you find that you were more efficient this tax season? If so, how?
- What was the average time per return?
- Were preparers using their time wisely and effectively?
- Were there delays? If so, why?
- Did you use a drop off system, and if so, was it helpful?
The Big Picture
In summary, how would you say your 2021 tax season went?
- Revenue vs. expenses
- Client satisfaction surveys
- Employee feedback/office morale
Once you’ve answered all of the questions above, identify the areas where you can improve, and also take time to brainstorm new ideas. This is the ideal time to start planning for next tax season. It will be here before you know it!