Seven Busy Season Success Secrets

Here are some fast tips to help you make the most out of busy season, which is when you have the highest amount of your clients’ attention all year long.

1. Make a checklist to go through with your prospects during the initial meeting (AKA the SALES CALL).

This is the time to find out what your prospects need and why they might be switching accounting service providers.  You can get your hands around the scope of a clients’ needs best when you use a checklist.

Some example entries could be:

_____  I do not have correct year-end numbers

_____  I hate my accounting system

_____  I hate my payroll system

_____  Sometimes there is not enough cash to make payroll

_____  I need my taxes done

_____  I hate filling out organizers

_____  I had to pay a lot last year

_____  I got a lot back last year

_____  I didn’t understand a word my CPA said last year

_____  I’d like my report/return/loan package to be patiently explained to me

You could have a lot of fun with this.  Who says accountants are boring!

2. Get a signed engagement letter from everyone

The exceptions are what bite us.  On checks, consider waiting 10 days for them to clear.

3.   Make an upsell checklist to do upon INTAKE

Once your prospect is now a client, it’s time to get to know them better.  Consider creating an intake form (could be the organizer with a few items added) to help you collect the information you need to do the assignment, but don’t stop there.  Add a few more items to the intake checklist to identify red flags you can help them with later. Some of these items are:

____ Are all supporting documents available, digitized, and organized?

How many hours did you spend on accounting last year?  ________

How much money did you spend on accounting recordkeeping and compliance last year?  ________

What time of the year do you like to make improvements to your accounting systems and processes?  ________

____ Have 1099s been filed?

____ Have W-2’s been filed?

____ Have 4th quarter payroll reports been filed?

____ Have sales tax forms been filed?

____ Has the workers’ compensation audit been completed?

You might get a reply like, “I didn’t know you did that.  Can you help me with that?”  Then you can smile and say, “I can help you with that.”

4.  Prioritize ruthlessly.

Get smart about your time management.  The key is to understand your own value.

Things NOT to defer:  Work ON your business instead of in your business for at least two hours a week, even when you’re swamped.  It will help you get back to your “why.”

Learn to delegate anything you’re doing that’s below your hourly rate.  Learn to say “no” to clients and employees that are more trouble than they are worth.

5. Get paid before filing the taxes or delivering the work product.

Especially for individuals.

6.  Make an upsell checklist to do upon your final meeting.

This is where to bring up the stuff you know they forgot, that they are taking a risk on, or that they don’t know they are out of compliance with.  Some examples:

____ Are W-9s on file and current?

____ Have the EITC letters been sent?

____ Are payroll posters in compliance?

____ Are there any sales tax compliance issues?

____ If a corporation, are your meeting minutes in order?

____ If you said no to any of the above, would you like us to explain the risks and penalties you may be subject to?

The checklist items, carefully worded, do the selling for you and will open the door for subsequent meetings and additional engagements.

7.  Be grateful.

In the accounting profession, we are so blessed to have skills than can help every single person on the planet improve their wealth.  Stop at least once during busy season to remember that.

Consider letting your clients know how grateful you are to serve them.  (And if the thought of sending hundreds of hand-written cards is just a little too much this time of year, consider delegating it to

Try these seven ideas for a better busy season.