Categories
Accounting

Tax Season May Be Opportune Time to Market Accounting Services

With less than a month left to go until the April 15 tax deadline, most tax return preparers are up to their elbows in work. Nevertheless, it might be an opportune time to land some new accounting services clients, since people are thinking about their taxes and wondering if they might pay less next year if they find a qualified tax accountant now.

Adding fuel to the fire is the fiasco at the nation’s largest tax return preparer, H&R Block, where a mistake caused the delay in processing some 600,000 customers’ returns. The blunder likely will have many taxpayers wondering if it’s time to shop around.

But it remains clear that tax preparers in general have a captive audience to upsell their accounting services. A February survey of just over 1,000 wage earners by the finance and accounting services found that about half of middle-income wage earners pay to have their returns prepared by someone else because they to get want the biggest refund possible.

The survey found that:

  • About 44 percent of working Americans will go to an accounting services to prepare their taxes this year, including 49 percent who make between $30,000 and $50,000 annually.
  • Among those who make $100,000 or more, 66 percent say they will get their return professionally prepared.

The tax preparation industry is in transition, and it’s an especially challenging time for those accounting firms that work for lower-income clients with simpler returns.

There are more small-time preparers in the market because of the relative ease of use of such software programs as Intuit’s TurboTax. And then the free IRS e-file service is taking away an increasing number of lower-income taxpayers with basic returns.

In response, many tax preparation firms now provide basic services for free. In doing so, they attract customers who subsequently sign up for fee-based accounting services, such as state income tax preparation filing.

If tax preparers market themselves properly, there’s plenty of opportunity for those who target middle-income and high-income tax clients, industry experts say.

The negative publicity surrounding H&R Block’s troubles presents “another good reason to remind people of the value you provide. But it’s a delicate situation. You don’t want to bad-mouth the competition.

Communicating with potential new or former clients before tax season, without necessarily making a sale pitch, can also be worthwhile, especially if it’s done in a personal way. Just e-mailing tax tips or reminders about deadlines isn’t enough to get their attention given the blizzard of e-mails most people receive, he said.

CPA’s and accounting services need to do more to differentiate themselves from tax preparers who are merely performing data entry.

Most consumers don’t understand the differences between H&R Block and someone who is a CPA, an EA, or a tax attorney. They’re all viewed the same way by some people – as someone paid to prepare forms. Find ways to educate potential clients about your education and your abilities to reduce their taxes as a valued advisor as their accounting services provider.

Categories
Business Trends

How Small Miami Accounting Firms Can Overcome Big Competition

Right now, small Miami Accounting Firms are the talk of the nation.

How so? Firstly, let’s consider Small Miami Accounting Firms, which managed to make a huge splash during 2011 Tax Season taxpayers received a larger refund on average of 70.2% of the time vs national tax services. While this may not seem like a major accomplishment for Small Miami Accounting Firms, especially considering the millions spent at national tax services, it most certainly signals a growing movement in support of Small Miami Accounting Firms.

Whether or not your Small Miami Accounting Firms experienced a boom during, tax season the buzz surrounding the event depicts the American public’s awareness and support of Small Miami Accounting Firms. Furthermore, the season also highlighted many consumers’ dissatisfaction with national tax services of big box corporations. This raises a considerable issue for Small Miami Accounting Firms across the country as they attempt to thrive in a struggling economy.

Small Miami Accounting Firms are constantly looking for some sort of quick fix or cure-all that will pull them back onto their feet; unfortunately, that magic pill simply does not exist for struggling firms. It should be noted, however, that Small Miami Accounting Firms have something in their arsenal that their big box competitors will never have.

Small Miami Accounting Firms Secret Weapon

When a client steps into a big box retailer, they can expect the same results every time. What keeps them coming back? More than likely, it’s not the costumer service or the atmosphere. It’s certainly not the sense of supporting a community or local commerce. What does keep them coming back, however, are the lower prices that they’ve come to expect from such national tax services .

Many clients will tolerate long lines, mediocre customer service and the same old, familiar retailer. At the same time, however, the same clients are putting their foot down and saying enough is enough. As national tax services continue to cut corners when it comes to costumer satisfaction, Small Miami Accounting Firms have a prime opportunity to sweep in and gather new clients that are tired and disillusioned by the big box brands that see them as little more than a price point.

The secret weapon of all Small Miami Accounting Firms? Being Small.

It’s that simple. Being a Small Miami Accounting Firms affords so many opportunities when it comes to creating an experience and truly connecting with clients and their communities. In this regard, big national tax services  can’t touch you. Honestly, they can’t even come close. While you can’t always compete against the bigger fish when it comes to price, you can compete when it comes to customer service, experience and establishing trust.

Whether or not you utilize the weapons in your arsenal when it comes to the fight against big box stores is completely up to you and your business. How much are you willing to put in? Where do you start?

First Impressions Matter Now More Than Ever

We’ve been told since childhood the importance of a first impression; however, the importance is ten-fold in today’s cutthroat economy. Your business’ presentation, whether it comes to your office, website or customer service, is absolutely critical when it comes to getting clients through the door and making sure they stick around. A shoddy office, error-ridden website and rude employees are a recipe for disaster. You simply can’t afford for presentation to fall to the wayside when it comes to establishing new relationships with clients. Look at your firm objectively and understand places where you could improve. Request consumer feedback both in-store and online so that you may find out what clients think of your Small Miami Accounting Firms at first glance.

How Much Do You Care?

Presentation is the only first step in showing your clients that you care. Customer service, as mentioned earlier, is a crucial component to Small Miami Accounting Firms success. At a big box retailer, it often feels that for every employee offering adequate customer service, there’s an employee that looks as if they’d rather be anywhere else than work. Remember that most consumers are visiting such national tax services for a warm, fuzzy or memorable experience; they’re there to save money.

You should care about your clients. Furthermore, you should show them that you care. This may seem like a no-brainer. Regardless, many Small Miami Accounting Firms skimp on customer service and it shows. It may be tempting to hire the cheapest labor or employees that will give you the least amount of slack; however, this will often-times backfire. Seek out workers that want to work, understand your firm, services and mission, and will go above and beyond to deliver your Firms’ message.

Be welcoming of questions and feedback and don’t be afraid to take a bit of criticism along the way. No two clients are the same; there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to customer service. Being courteous and attentive goes a long way, however, and will inevitably create a positive environment for your business.

Create Something They Can’t Get Anywhere Else

Customer service is part of the customer experience. Many consumers are opting to visit Small Miami Accounting Firms for such an experience that they simply won’t get at a big box store. Creating such an experience relies on creating something unique. As a Small Miami Accounting Firms, the power is in your hands to shape a positive, one-of-a-kind customer experience. How is your business different from the big box brand? How is your business different from the competitor down the road? What can your clients get from you that simply can’t get anywhere else?

By creating an experience and embedding your business within the community, you create both a niche that is very sought-after in today’s economy.

Don’t Dwell on Deals, Discounts and Price

You may be fighting the good fight when it comes to keeping the big box national tax services at bay; however, often-times you simply cannot compete on price. They will almost always have the better deals and discounts at their disposal. Don’t fret. You can give up the price fight but still win the war. Establishing trust through customer service and experience are what truly matters when it comes to winning over Small Miami Accounting Firms clients. While clients are often looking for the best deals, you can’t put a price tag on such an experience.

The Bottom Line

Especially in the midst of the tax season, Small Miami Accounting Firms are frantic to get the word out and make sure clients are coming into their doors. You have tools at your disposal to compete against the big box brands and build a truly unique business with lasting power in your community. The surge of support for Small Miami Accounting Firms has only begun. Now is the time to capitalize on that momentum. Will your firm be part of the movement?