Tax professionals attempt to build post-season client pipelines
With the extended tax season behind us and the potential end of the COVID-19 pandemic coming, tax professionals are considering a potential lull in business. What are they currently doing to fill their pipelines? Do they even have to do it?
Pandemic relief has put “a lot of work” in the works for Gail Rosen, a CPA in Martinsville, New Jersey: helping clients get their Paycheck Protection Program loans forgiven; help them understand if they are eligible for the employee retention credit; and planning for the best possible tax result taking into account the net operating losses generated by the tax deductibility of the PPP loan.
“What“ post-season ”pipeline? Is there a postseason? Asked Lawrence Pon, CPA in Redwood City, California.
While its postseason pipeline is “needed rest and sleep,” Pon expected to be busy with the cancellation of PPP loans and employee retention credit. “What other surprises are we going to encounter?” he said.
How to recover
As businesses rebuild themselves after unprecedented months of financially stranded clients, remote working, and constantly shifting filing deadlines, it can be helpful to document their portfolio of potential clients.
According to Accounting Marketing Association, this includes the classification of prospects by stage and shows where a prospect is in the sales process (for example, at the “proposal” stage or at the “final” stage). Among other tips:
- Move leads out of the pipeline as soon as they’re won or lost. These then constitute a “gain / loss ratio”, with the percentage of gain calculated in terms of dollars earned and number of opportunities won.
- Review the pipeline regularly so that business development isn’t an afterthought. Keep the notices at 30 minutes every two weeks. Everyone on the call should listen to areas where people need help. Mix up the review meeting: start from the top or the bottom, by service line or industry, or with new or old prospects.
- Keep an eye on KPIs, including the percentage of current revenue on the pipeline and the company’s average success rate.
Specialties also seem to help.
“I’m not building a post-season pipeline for tax preparation, but my focus on the representation side,” said Morris Armstrong, registered agent and registered investment advisor at Armstrong Financial Strategies in Cheshire. , Connecticut. “I can imagine that with the debacle of the past two seasons, more taxpayers could receive notices from the IRS and not know what to do with them.”
“My postseason pipeline is generally for those who need to simplify filing through the various offshore filing procedures,” said Manasa Nadig, EA and Owner at MN Tax and Business Services and Partner at Harris Nadig in Canton. , Michigan. “After a little break to cool off, I’ll start on these. Of course, there is always mid-year tax planning for my existing clients. “
Kerry Freeman, an EA at Freeman Income Tax Service in Anthem, Ariz., Has partnered with a Certified Cross-Network Financial Planner. “Providing services to each other is just one more tool to develop and grow each other’s businesses,” said Freeman.
What’s in store for us?
Of course, many tax preparers are still recovering from the past season.
The “massive” confusion with the estimated first quarter payout and tax deadline added additional stress this season, Pon said: “We completed a lot of returns before the deadline change and they were already filed online. The direct debits took place on April 15 with numerous NSF payments. Customers are upset. Of course, they blame us for it. How do you know? In addition, we did not have the many hours necessary to make the changes to the filed tax returns. “
Aside from the simplest adjustment, “I would hesitate to assume any IRS bill is correct,” Armstrong said. “It wasn’t the staff that failed, it was the IRS’s systems.”
“Last minute tax changes and guidance on new tax regulations have made this the craziest tax season ever,” said Rosen. “My staff and I kept looking at each other and laughing, lest if we didn’t laugh, we would cry.
“Our phone rang this year with people looking for qualified tax professionals because their tax professional suddenly retired or became unreachable,” Rosen said.