In a bookkeeper’s year, two of the happiest weeks might very well be the ones following the deadline to file personal taxes and the deadline to follow small business taxes.
It’s kind of like you are crossing the finish line at a marathon, all run out and exhausted, nursing a few new pains, and just so happy that you completed it and gave it your personal best.
So how do you wind down after a crazy tax season?
You exhale, perhaps you take a few days off – if you can – and recharge and refocus yourself.
And then, if you are like most people, you try to put taxes out of your head for another year until they invade your life again.
But, here is a completely insane thought – what if that may not be the best strategy for your bookkeeping business? Now, before you write me off as a complete lunatic here, please keep reading.
Change your perspective and grow your business
Try this. Stop thinking of tax season as a marathon or any other ordeal that you just want to run through to get to the finish line, and instead you open the door to seeing it as a stimulus for tremendous business growth.
You have just had a chance to take a snapshot of your client’s financial lives. You know where there are strengths and weaknesses and with that knowledge comes opportunity to branch out in your business.
For example, if you have small business clients who arrive at your office only once a year with a shoebox full of receipts and apologies for not having key receipts that would save them money in claims, take the opportunity to make a follow-up call.
Explain that you realized the whole process was quite stressful and that had the paperwork been better organized, there is every likelihood that more tax savings could be found. Offer your bookkeeping services now to help them keep track of income and expenses going forward.
At least once a month, suggest they bring every receipt in and allow you to organize this side of their business for them. Or, better yet, introduce them to QuickBooks Online and Receipt Bank and the rest of the ecosystem.
Send thank-you messages and ask for referrals
Do you know where you are most likely to find more new clients for your business?
It is from current clients and their referrals.
As the season winds down, take time to send out thank-you for your business types of notes and remind your current customers that you are looking for additional clients. Ask if they will be kind enough to recommend you to others.
At the same time, if you have a client that you know was particularly pleased with the work you did, ask if they would provide a referral or testimonial that you could use in your promotional material like your website and brochures.
Many people are willing to provide testimonials but they either don’t have time or the communication skills to do so. That’s why it is a good idea to include a sample testimonial and ask if they would let their name be used with it.
You are more apt to get a favourable response if you do it that way.
And, remember there is never a better time to ask for a testimonial then when your client is happiest. ☺
Start planning your marketing strategy for the next tax season
Focus your post-tax season promotional material such as blogs on your website to focus on how much easier tax season can be for a business owner if they have a bookkeeper who keeps account of their expenses and income, all categorized for easy access next tax season.
Remind the client that they can save time and money by having more work done regularly on their financials.
When they contract a bookkeeper, they also will be more likely to have trends noticed in their bottom line and better tax planning for the next season to ensure they keep as much of their money in their pocket as possible.
In the long run, having regular bookkeeping services will save small businesses time and money.
As you watch your small business clients grow, consider your own business and how you could add value by diversifying your bookkeeping business with added streams of income.
A natural for many bookkeepers is to start adding payroll services.
Look over staffing and plan for next year
While the season is fresh in your mind, analyze its successes and failures in your business and consider what changes you could take in the process that would make a world of difference.
Take time to identify the strengths and range of skills of different employees.
If you have to bring in a number of extra contract workers each season to help you out, send them an offer right now for next year and ensure that they receive regular training updates throughout the year to provide a peak team under the stress of the season.
Your full-time employees will also be in need of a break at this point to ensure that they do not go so far as to have burn out and reduced productivity issues.
Make sure you schedule some days off for your staff as well over the month following closure of the tax season.
Capture your notes and observations and make a YouTube video or Facebook posting
While the season is still fresh in your mind, jot down your observations of the season about the biggest tax issues faced by small business clients.
Then prepare a blog or video to post on your website and other social media sites to draw more business to you for next year.
Call it something like “Ten most common mistakes small business owners make at tax time” or “How I saved my clients thousands of dollars at tax time” and post it.
Look at issues like missing key deductions because of lack of receipts, lack of tax planning overall because of the last minute rush, and steps they could take now to have better results next year.
As a bookkeeper, you know for example, one key issue is that many small business owners blend their business and personal funds and have a horrible time trying to straighten things out at tax time. Others don’t bother to track their expenses, time, and invoices at all. This is perhaps another opportunity to get them setup with QuickBooks Online and TSheets.
Finally, look over your own tax returns and do a thorough analysis to determine how your own business is doing, and what you could do to improve your own bottom line.
Taking a little time to work “on” your business while everything is fresh in your mind could very well be the difference between a typical tax season next year and an awesome tax season.
Now, put your feet up, and take a sip of wine. You deserve it. ☺
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