With the 2017 tax season now in the rearview mirror, the Rules of Thumb blog from MoneyThumb would like to offer accountants a few suggestions on what to focus on this summer. Of course, one very important thing accountants need to do is rest and relax, and enjoy the fruits of your labor. However, there are business-related tasks that can be handled over the summer to make the next tax season a better and more efficient one. Below are a few suggestions to accomplish this:
- Review tax return processes: While it’s still fresh in your mind, evaluate how many timely returns you filed versus the number of extensions and analyze how this percentage compared with prior years. Also, evaluate the time needed to complete projects for the current tax season compared to the previous one. Finally, if you are large enough to have an accounting firm, ask your staff to identify the top challenges they encountered and solicit their suggestions for streamlining tax return preparation.
- Billings and collections: This summer is the perfect time to collect any outstanding payments due to you or your firm. Don't let this linger, since the longer you let a past due bill go, the harder it will be to collect.
- Evaluate expanding client services: This downtime is a great opportunity to follow up with current accounting clients to see if you can offer them extended services, such as financial planning.
- Identify common technical issues: Since everyone is now using technology to handle accounting services, this is a wonderful time to address any technical issues you or your firm have experienced and correct them.
- Network with other advisers: Now is an excellent time to arrange meetings with other advisers, whether CPAs with different specialties or attorneys who work in a related field, to discuss common issues and referral opportunities.
- Staff evaluations: High-performing staff and managers should be praised for their hard work as soon as possible after busy season—otherwise, they may feel underappreciated. Likewise, underperformers should be counseled early, and personnel files documented so that a plan for improvement can be developed.
- Training and development: The last few months likely revealed some deficiencies in your staff and managers’ technical or soft-skills capabilities. Partners also may have detected a need for improved niche practice training or general business training. Scheduling training and related CPE hours during the next few months will make effective use of the slightly slower summer period. Also, ask for employees’ input regarding areas in which they would like more training.
- Mergers and acquisitions: The less busy summer months may be a good time for leaders to evaluate long-term succession strategy. They should start by considering the potential impact of merger opportunities to senior and junior partners and other employees within the firm. The impact on clients also should be considered, including potential conflicts and geographic synergies, as well as economies of scale.
- Firm and personal branding: Your firm’s partners and managers have insights into many aspects of business and the economy. This expertise may offer opportunities for you to flex your knowledge with the press, trade organizations, referral sources, and prospects. This is also an excellent time to line up speaking engagements, firm seminars, college visits, etc.
- Community service: With less time-sensitive deadlines, your staff may be able to schedule a time to participate in a variety of community service projects in your firm’s region(s). These projects help the community, build firm camaraderie, and improve both employee satisfaction and the firm’s profile within the community.
The Rules of Thumb blog from MoneyThumb hopes this list of 10 things accountants can do this summer to help improve your business come in handy. Another way to improve your accounting practice is by using the best PDF financial file converters on the market.