You made it! Tax season is over!
While clients may not be piling through the door to have their tax returns filed, there’s still work to be done. Evaluating your season and planning for next season is an important task to tackle right now while everything is fresh.
Before you pack that suitcase and head off on a post tax vacation, you should meet with your staff and take a hard look at how the season went. We’ve been doing this for Peoples Tax and have also been following a great discussion in Tax Business Owners of America, our LinkedIn Group.
Here are some items to mull over while the season is fresh in your mind.
One important thing to determine after tax season is what worked and what didn’t. To quote John Wanamaker, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” You need to figure out what money was wasted and what money was well spent. Spend time looking over the numbers for every marketing channel you used during the season.
- How much did you spend and what was the ROI?
- What advertising brought in business and how much?
- What should you try next season?
- Where was your marketing budget best spent?
- What networking/speaking events were most fruitful?
How well staffed were you this tax season? Staffing levels should be examined after the season is over. Evaluate the following:
- Do you need to hire an admin or receptionist to help you next season?
- Should you consider taking on an intern?
- Should you hire or fire tax preparers?
- How was scheduling?
Examine the types of clients you served throughout the season and what their behaviors were. Take a look at:
- Return rate of past clients
- Number of new clients
- Number of extensions filed and the reason for them
- Types of returns
- Slow and busy times throughout the season
Examining client behaviors can give you insights into how to improve next season. For example, if you had a number of extensions filed because your preparers couldn’t get to them, you might need to adjust your staffing levels. If you had a mad rush at the end of the season, you might need to offer an early bird discount to encourage more appointments at the beginning of the season.
Now is a great time to evaluate your software and look for other options if you’re not happy with what you’re currently using.
Efficiency is important when it comes to tax season (particularly the end of tax season). Now is a good time to reassess your processes to see what improvements can be made.
- What was the average time per return?
- Were preparers using their time efficiently?
- What caused the most delays?
Examining work flows can help you develop better processes next year. For example, if scheduling is an issue perhaps you need to offer a drop-off service. If returns are taking too long, perhaps you need a training session for your slower preparers.
Finally, you should take a look at the big picture.
- Revenue vs. Expenses
- Client satisfaction surveys
- Employee feedback/office moral
Now that you’ve evaluated the season, document it, identify areas of improvement, and brainstorm ideas to improve next year. Start planning now so that you’re not struggling to remember things when it’s time to plan for next season.