Here is a typical scenario…
A manufacturing business owner goes to a national trade association conference and attends a seminar in which the speaker discusses tax credits for research and development.
The business owner is intrigued and gets in touch with the speaker. A few months later, the business owner’s CPA receives the tax credit … it’s the first the CPA has ever heard of it.
This is not how you establish yourself as a trusted advisor.
If you want to be seen as more than just a tax filer, so that you can do higher priced work and cement yourself as a critical resource to your clients, you need to proactively discuss tax credit opportunities with them now – while you are in the process of year-end tax planning.
Clients want to minimize their taxes; they depend on you to show them how to do this and the actions they need to take.
That means asking specific, pointed questions to uncover and understand any essential changes in the circumstances of your clients’ businesses.
Remember, if you don’t ask these questions, somebody else will! Once that happens, it doesn’t take much for that “lifetime client” to walk out the door for good.
Try this: Take one of your client’s year-end tax plans, sit down together and complete a Tax Incentive Organizer to determine the potential tax incentives that may apply. The Organizer questions will tie directly back to next year’s tax planning. Use this link to our online form here.
I received an email last month from a CPA. It said:
“I just got off the phone with Joe Smith from XYZ Company. He has your contact information and will be following up about tax credits.”
Two weeks passed and I never heard from Joe. We did finally speak, but not until I went back to the CPA, got Joe’s contact info, and reached out to him directly.
Clients need a reason to get started.
Everyone is busy – if you want others to take action, you need to nudge them in the right direction with specific information:
So go ahead, pick up the phone now and schedule a no-charge conference call to help your clients take action!
Try this: Take one of your client’s business goals, sit down together, and complete a Tax Incentive Organizer to determine the potential tax incentives that may apply. The Organizer’s questions will tie directly back to your client’s top business goals. Use this link to our online form, here!
Last week, a local CPA colleague (David) asked me to join him for lunch with one of his clients. The client is planning to build a 300 room, $40M hotel in Atlanta.
After lunch, David and I talked about how he could add more value to the relationship and begin positioning himself as a trusted business advisor (Hint: It’s about more than just tax returns!).
Four specifics of work that David could provide jumped out from this simple hotel example:
I suggested that David do some homework (at his high dollar business advisor rate, not his low dollar tax filer rate!) and come back to his client with a simple plan describing these and possibly additional ways he can provide value throughout the project.
For any enlightened CPA, the key in positioning oneself as a business advisor is to ask probing questions, lay out a simple plan, and think more broadly than just the tax returns!
Try this: Sit down with one of your clients and use our Tax Incentive Organizer to uncover possible tax incentives around a given project or goal. It’s all online and it’s free. Try it here.
Have you noticed the following disconnect?
On the one hand, you’ve spent years with many of your clients – developing trust, growing the relationship, and positioning yourself as someone they can depend on.
But … how often do your clients call to run an idea by you? How often do they share their future plans? How often do they confide in you regarding their business challenges?
It’s frustrating! How can you get them to stop treating you as the “annual tax return filer” and, instead, view you as an indispensable business advisor?
Consider these two steps:
Here’s a practical way to get started: If your client feels they are paying too much in taxes, get together with them and complete a Tax Incentive Organizer to find out if they are missing out on any tax incentives. The Organizer questions will tie directly back to your client’s top business goals. Use this link to our online form here.
Every business faces challenges, some more than others. As a trusted advisor to your clients, it’s up to you to uncover these challenges, so that you can add value and grow your own practice in the process.
Getting clients to let you in on the details, however, is often easier said than done. They’re busy, and while they may share what’s on the surface, you need to help them dig into what’s underneath – the root causes.
Only by getting their problems out in the open can they see and feel that they need a resolution – and that you can help.
Here are three steps to getting this done:
Whether you call it business advisory services, counseling or even “client therapy,” it doesn’t matter.
The more you talk with your clients about their problems, the more they will feel that you understand them. Only then will they look to you to find solutions.
P.S. Here’s a terrific icebreaker to get you started. If your client feels they pay too much in taxes, complete a tax incentive plan and review it together, here!
Think back – each of your clients originally hired you to do something specific. Maybe it was filing tax returns. Maybe it was a review and audit of financial statements.
Whatever the initial focus, your relationships have grown over the years and, with that, the services you provide have expanded.
So now you need to know – did a gap form between what each of your clients needs and what you are providing?
Here is how to find out. For each client…
It’s a new day! Make sure each of your clients, if given the chance, would hire you again!
What did your clients really tell you during tax season?
As we all continue to catch up from a very busy tax season, now is a perfect time to uncover the “golden nuggets” represented by hidden tax incentives.
First, review your discussions, phone calls, and emails with clients. In the frantic pace to complete their tax returns, some of their comments may provide openings for additional discussions regarding potential tax credits:
Client: “It’s Hard to find new employees.”
Ask: Why are you hiring? (Potential Job Tax Credit or Work Opportunity Tax Credit)
Client: “Bankers are wanting more data for loans.”
Ask: What are you going to use the loan for? (Potential Cost Segregation Study, Investment Tax Credit or Job Tax Credit)
Client: “Computers and Internet security are a pain in the neck.”
Ask: What areas of your IT have changed? (Potential Retraining Tax Credit)
Client: “The price of real estate has really gone up.”
Ask: Where are you looking? (Potential Cost Segregation Study or other location based tax incentive).
The point is, all of these are signals for potential tax incentives. Mark these items for client follow-up before you move on to your next review.
Remember, your clients depend on you to look out for every dollar of taxes they don’t have to pay. Help them mine their own gold!
Once your client is matched with an appropriate tax incentive provider and an agreement is signed, the project is kicked off on the TaxCredible platform.
And don’t worry – it’s not a “black box.” Communication is simple, consistent and all in one place.
As the project progresses, you, your client and the provider can upload documents, add notes, see important reminders and receive notifications when changes are made. Everyone involved has visibility, all along the way.
Once the project is finalized, the completed documents are delivered to you and your client.
You’ll have all the information you need to incorporate into the appropriate tax return(s).
Screenshot: TaxCredible Tax Project Page
Think of TaxCredible as a secure, interactive platform. A platform that allows you to connect with trusted tax incentive providers who specialize in a broad range of tax incentives.
To start, log into your TaxCredible account and fill in a tax incentive plan.
From there, and based on your client’s specific needs and circumstances, we will introduce you to an appropriate provider (depending on the specifics, we may introduce you to several).
The provider(s) will follow up with you and your client to discuss the potential tax incentives. If all three of you agree to move forward, your client will sign the provider’s agreement and start their tax incentive project.
Simple, easy, efficient.
Screenshot: TaxCredible Tax Incentive Planning Page