Income Tax Planning
Tax planning engagements can be one of the easiest “add-on services” to get a client to sign on for, and they are an excellent way to strengthen existing relationships with tax clients. Here is where the value of a savvy tax professional really shines, by allowing him or her to develop proactive strategies that can save clients money in a demonstrable way. Unless they like paying more than they are legally required to, of course. Tax planning engagements are most often scheduled for September and October, giving the client time to put the tax-saving strategies in place. They are generally provided as a one-time consulting engagement, but can be bundled with a year-round compliance service.
Virtual CFO/Controller Services
This is the new bookkeeping. When the small business client and the firm are both using modern cloud technologies, the Virtual CFO paradigm allows the professional (or other staff at the firm) to actively participate in the business’ daily bookkeeping and business management activities. Instead of letting them go it alone and often guess at which account to post expenses or receipts to, providing this service helps keep the books clean for a fraction of the time it would take to clean them up, and gives the business client peace of mind. Virtual CFO/Controller Services are an ongoing service that firms generally charge a recurring monthly fee for. Many firms offer varying levels of service, or packages, depending on the amount of time and engagement the firm will provide them. The rates, however, are not based directly on time, but on the principle of value billing.
Bundled Business Services
One way to deal with these new services is to bundle them into inclusive package pricing for clients. For instance, instead of billing separately for handling a client’s booking and payroll functions, the firm can include these together—monthly sales tax compliance, annual wage reporting and one business consulting and review engagement per year, for a recurring monthly fee. Some firms even bundle in a business client’s tax returns and planning. These engagements can help even out some of the bumps in your firm’s cashflow and workflow throughout the year, providing more stable revenue across more services, and strengthening client engagements.
Accountants and CPAs have a stereotype of being primarily income tax professionals. And while it’s great to be considered an expert, if that’s the only thing that your clients (or potential clients) think of when your firm comes to mind, you could be missing out on many areas where you could provide them with service. Unfortunately, the income tax focus is an impression that has been reinforced by many small and mid-sized accounting firms that over-specialize in those taxes. In fact, income tax compliance in some firms may account for well over 50 percent or 60 percent of total annual revenue crunched into two months of the year.