10 Actionable Steps to Start a Tax Preparation Business

Every year, more than half of all tax filings, even when done with software, are handled by a tax preparer.

Since pretty much every adult is required to file a tax return, that’s a huge number of people who could use your expertise. If you decide to start a tax preparation business, you’re making a sound choice for your career.

When you decide to start a tax business, follow these 5 tips to make sure you start off on the right foot.

Starting a Tax Preparation Business in 10 Easy Steps

  1. Know What’s In A Name

When you’re building your business, you have to think about what other people might think when they first hear about you. You might not think about names being very important, but they can say a lot about who you are. While a name might not hurt your business, it can definitely help you out.

Naming yourself after your last name is an easy way for people to remember you and your business together. If you build a big enough persona, they might swoon to find out their taxes are being handled by the infamous tax specialist with their name on the building.

A good name can inspire confidence and let people know what you specialize in. If you’re good at handling work for freelancers or for corporate clients, try to make it show in your name.

  1. Choose The Right Tools

As a tax preparer, you’ll only be as efficient as the tools you use. If you choose the wrong tools, you’ll be stuck struggling to do basic work that you might find it easier to do by hand.

You need to have tools that can automate tasks, keep track of your work, and help you organize everything. While some people are good with a simple handful of Excel documents, you’ll likely need to have a more robust system than that.

You’ll also need to make sure that everything in your possession is backed up. For that, you’ll need to learn about servers and backup systems. You might have to pay for server space or hire someone to set up a storage system in your office.

With the right tools, you’ll be able to show your professionalism by working efficiently and ensuring that no mistake is a roadblock to delivering services.

  1. Create A Public Profile

You’ll need to have a facing public persona once you’ve launched your business. You should take up space on every major social media network. Taxpayers will be found everywhere, from Instagram to Snapchat, to LinkedIn.

On a site like LinkedIn, you can connect to the kinds of clients you’re looking for. If you’re looking to bag some startups or their employees, you can connect to them directly. While they might be trying to juggle all of the things that go along with starting a new business, they might have forgotten about hiring a tax preparer.

Even if they have one, they might want to pass along your information to their employees. Make sure you spit polish your profile before you start reaching out to companies. You want to put your best foot forward.

Get some professional portraits taken and use the same photo across every channel, so people know when they’ve found you.

  1. Show Off Reviews and Certification

Given that 84% of people now trust online reviews as much as they trust a referral from a friend, reviews are how you’ll be able to win new clients.

Reach out to anyone you’ve ever prepared taxes for and ask them if they’ll recommend you on Google My Business, Yelp, LinkedIn or anywhere else. Make sure you have positive reviews on every single channel as you never know where customers will encounter you.

If you’ve got special certifications or have training in a particular area of the tax code, don’t be afraid to show that off. Your LinkedIn profile is a great place to list training that you’ve done.

If you’ve had some high-profile clients, ask them to leave a detailed review of the work you’ve done for them. You never know what people are looking for when they’re reading your reviews; so, get a diverse group of opinions. Start with anyone you’ve got a strong relationship with and then start asking all of your new clients as they come along.

  1. Start Promoting

Once you’ve got your profiles up, it’s time to start promoting yourself. The best way to make a big splash online is to learn about search engine optimization. If you take SEO seriously, you could get a lot of traffic to your site and end up as one of the top results in your area.

Search engines rely on a tool called web crawlers to look at every site on the internet. Those crawlers measure each site to look for how well they use keywords, how many relevant sites they link to, and how often they’re updated among other things. You can check off all of these boxes by starting a blog.

People probably come to you with questions about their taxes all the time. Instead of answering each person individually and then asking them to hire you, hit a lot of potential customers at once. With a blog, you can answer common FAQs that people search for on search engines and come up as a top result when you offer clear and concise info.

Be Patient When You Start a Tax Preparation Business

If you decide to start a tax preparation business, you’re beginning down a path that will give you freedom in a lot of ways. You’ll be your own boss and be able to manage the direction of your office in your own way. However, every battle will have to be fought on your own, and you’ll have to take responsibility for dealing with any hurdles.

If you’re thinking about how to keep your advertising spending down, check out our guide to make sure you don’t overspend.

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