Scheduling Meetings with Pennsylvania Clients for Tax Season

Business, Industry Updates,

About a quarter of all taxpayers wait until the last two weeks before Tax Day to begin to prepare their tax returns. This can translate into a tremendous headache for Pennsylvania tax accountants and CPAs. To prevent a sudden rush of clients at the end of tax season, proactively reach out to schedule tax meetings as the fiscal year closes and immediately after.

Scheduling meetings

You don’t have to call each client, leave a message, and play telephone tag until you are able to actually talk to your client and schedule a meeting. This can take days or weeks, wasting valuable time and creating stress for you and your staff. There are a wide variety of useful technological tools to help you automate your client outreach and scheduling as well as limit the possibility of the client forgetting critical documents.   

If you’re already using a CRM or virtual calendar, you can easily integrate an online booking platform, some of which are even designed specifically for accountants. Then begin reaching out via email to get clients to schedule.

Email templates are one of your most valuable tools. They can be created for almost anything. Here is a suggested plan, but do what works best for your clients:

  • Start with scheduling reminder emails, with a link to your scheduler. Consider having the ability to schedule appointments embedded into your website on the home page. This way you will not only capture your own clients, but potential new clients, as well, because you will make it so easy to make an appointment.
  • Create an automatic reply email when your clients make an appointment that lists the types of documents your clients should be collecting. If you’re using a CRM, you should be able to create different templates to go out for different types of clients: those with basic accounting needs, those with real-estate income, those with business income, etc. This will decrease the likelihood that your client will forget critical documents.
  • Schedule another email to go out only to those clients who have not yet scheduled an appointment within two weeks of the first email. You can include a checklist of general documents that they should be collecting in that second email.
  • Send reminders to your clients who have scheduled meetings so they don’t forget the appointment. Suggest in that email some questions they should think about to be ready for the meeting.
  • And, of course, send a thank you email after your services are rendered. 

You don’t want to overwhelm your clients with emails, but regular, friendly, and helpful emails are always welcomed by good clients.

Expanding your business at your tax meeting

In addition, you want to look for ways to expand your business through those meetings. There are three different tax services an accountant can offer clients: tax preparation, tax projections, and tax planning, also known as tax advisory services.

Tax preparation is simply preparing tax returns based on the previous year’s documents. This is what the various tax prep programs do, which many Americans use rather than engaging an accountant. Since this service is easily replaced by a machine, you as an accountant need to offer more.

Tax projection is a valuable service, especially for entrepreneurs who must estimate their income and send quarterly payments to the state and federal governments. This can also be automated, but most individuals or small businesses do not have easy access to these programs. You, as a tax accountant, can utilize your expertise to ask your clients the right questions and use a program to make solid projections that will help your clients make the necessary quarterly payments. 

Tax planning, however, could potentially provide your clients with the most benefits. High-wealth clients and businesses or entrepreneurs will benefit the most from this service, as they are in the position to be able to make changes to their financial activities to take advantage of tax-reducing, profit-maximizing strategies.

You may want to take additional courses or do more research to strengthen your knowledge of advisory services. PSTAP offers a wide variety of classes to keep accountants and CPAs up to date on tax law and many specialized areas such as financial planning, social security, estate planning, and more. Visit regularly to view our upcoming seminars and webinars.

As you go through tax season this year, evaluate your clients to identify those who might benefit from more services, then plan your discussions to find out their pain points, their needs, and where they might be leaving money on the table by paying too much in taxes or missing financial opportunities. Be prepared with a few service level offerings that define what each level offers and your pricing.

The right questions will identify your clients’ needs so that they, themselves, recognize the benefits tax planning would have for them. They should then be eager to expand their client relationship with you into new service areas.