Tax season is over, you've delivered the tax returns, put the files away, sent your invoices, caught your breath, and have told all your tax clients you'll see them next spring, right? Whoa! You don't have to wait until there's more snow on the ground to contact your tax clients. This year, make a post-tax season resolution to stay in touch all year. Your tax clients will know how much you care about them and won't consider looking for a different accountant next year, and who knows? You might just generate additional business for yourself.
So with your resolution in mind, here are some tips to point you in the direction of staying a part of your tax clients' lives year-round.
- Send a newsletter - monthly, quarterly, haphazardly, whatever fits your schedule. But take the time to put together some words of advice, tips, news about changes in tax laws, money-saving advice, whatever information you think could best help your clients and remind them of their favorite tax accountant. You don't have to hire a professional to write your articles - sometimes the home-style touch is more impressive. Include your picture on the newsletter, so your clients know it came from you.
- Schedule a seminar - use the summertime to put together an evening program for your clients. Offer sessions on how to maximize home office deductions, when to make the decision to incorporate a business, how to choose a business entity, or offer to explain the various retirement plan options that are available. Talk for an hour, offer some refreshments, and then suggest that clients schedule appointments if they have specific questions.
- Take advantage of e-mail - From time to time you are going to run into articles or resources on the Internet (or even here at AccountingWEB!) that you know will be useful to your clients. Take a few minutes each time you see something like this to send a simple I-was-thinking-of-you e-mail message to a client and attach a link to the information you found. Many sites provide a quick method for you to forward articles. At AccountingWEB there is a "Mail a Friend" option at the bottom of each article.
- Explain tax legislation - when new tax laws are enacted, don't just file that information away, take the time to write up a simple explanation of how that legislation is going to affect your clients and send the information to them, either in regular mail or by e-mail. Your clients will appreciate the fact that you are looking out for them and care enough to explain complicated matters in terms they can understand.
- Send reminder cards - You no doubt helped many clients schedule quarterly estimated payments for the coming year. This provides a perfect opportunity to stay in touch. Print postcards with an estimated tax payment reminder message and send them out to all of your quarterly paying clients a week or two before the payment is due. Maybe they would have remembered the payment anyway, but this is an easy way to keep your name in front of them.
- Send year-end reminders - While on the subject of sending reminder cards, try sending a quick postcard at the end of the year reminding all of those clients who track their business mileage that they need to run out to the car on New Year's Eve and take down their odometer reading. Include a space on the card where they can write down the number, and then they can just stick the card in their tax folder.
- Offer a tip of the month - You can stay in touch with your clients every month of the year by dispensing your 12 favorite tax-saving tips in monthly morsels. Describe the tip along with solid examples of how much this particular tip might be able to save the average taxpayer.
- Send presents! - Everybody likes to receive presents, and you can put an accounting twist on yours. At the end of the year, send your clients a special package that includes a set of tax category file folders and labels for starting the new year, and send an automobile/travel expense log that can fit in the glove compartment. Put your name on everything.
- Offer a discount - While the feeling of a last minute tax season crunch is still fresh in your mind, try putting together a discount package to offer your tax clients next spring. Planning on raising rates? How about offering this year's rates to all clients who turn in their tax material to you by February 15 next year? Do you wish more people would use the organizer package you sent out each year? Offer a small discount on their tax prep if they fill out all the information in the package. How many of your clients take months to pay your invoice? Don't just tack on monthly finance charges - let your clients know they can save by paying up front. Give them a discount for handing you a check when you hand them the tax return.
What are your favorite methods for keeping in touch with tax clients when it's not tax season? Please click the Post Comment below and share some ideas!