Why Now Is the Perfect Time to Plan for a Most Excellent Busy Season

It’s easy to get sidetracked by politics this year and simply wait to see what’s going to happen in the tax arena.  I hope you don’t fall into that trap, though, because there has never been more opportunity in accounting (and tax) than right now, and now is the time to start preparing so you can make the most of next year’s busy season.

The simple fact is it’s 10 times harder to get a bookkeeping or tax client in June than it is in January.  Smart accountants are going to ride the wave like a seasoned surfer.  Here are five things you can do right now to reel in more clients than you ever have in one season:

    1. Get your hiring process in order so that you can get a new star on board within days and not weeks if you need to.   Also interview a couple of part-time contract workers that you could instantly pull in if you need to.
    2. Get your website updated now so that it pre-sells you before your prospect even calls.  Figure out your search engine optimization strategy, and hire someone to execute it now.  It can take a few months to inch the site higher and higher the way you want it, so start now for a head start over your competition.
    3. Start a newsletter or write the articles now that you plan to run from January to April so you can pre-post them and have them on automatic for the entire season.  If you use social media, write your tweets and blog posts now, and get them scheduled ahead of time too.

Even if you don’t know all of the details because of the political situation, you can write some of them or write generically.  For example, here are some tweets:

1099 advice:  Segregate credit card payments from checks for easier 1099 reporting this year.

ACA advice:  Great health insurance tax credits for small businesses: do you qualify?

Need help with your corporate return this year?  Deadline is March 15.

Did you know?  In 1913, tax day was on March 1.  This year, you have until April 15.

  1. Decide on the rest of your marketing strategy and make plans to pull as much as possible together before January.  For example, if your local Chamber asks you to speak on the Affordable Care Act and how it impacts small business, have your PowerPoint done ahead of time rather than trying to do it in February.
  2. Work out any technology issues regarding your platform.  Review you scalability and security for your anticipated tax season needs.  Retain an IT person to be on call in times of trouble if you don’t have the expertise in-house.

The key is to NOT turn away clients during this time and to onboard as many new clients as you can.  It’s just easier to get clients in the habit of working with you during the time that taxes are on everyone’s mind.   The client’s motivation is higher this time of year than any other time.

Surf’s up; when you can ride the wave, you won’t have to paddle as hard for the rest of the year.

I would love to hear what you think. Post your comments, opinions, and questions below.