Practices of all sizes are all being urged to grow in ways they may not be accustomed to, so it stands to reason that expanding core functions like compliance-based work may be a comfortable choice.
CPA and attorney Judy Vorndran is actively helping professionals with these decisions. Specifically, she advises clients and tax professionals on navigating state and local tax issues as a partner at Colorado-based TaxOps. She is a nationally recognized thought leader and award-winning instructor with a steady focus on finding ways to simplify complex state and local tax issues and resolve areas of state tax controversy.
More importantly, she will be hosting a session at the upcoming Avalara Crush conference entitled ‘Growing Your Practice with Compliance’ that will take a closer look at what automation looks like in the sales tax work stream. She will discuss, among other related items, how building a sales tax automation practice can create a window into adding value to your clients’ performance and grow your practice.
We recently caught up with Judy to explore some of these issues and how a firm may get started on the path to growth with compliance.
AW: So many firms already focus on compliance work, what does it mean to grow your practice in this way?
Vorndran: We are not talking about income tax compliance but transaction tax compliance – companies deal with this internally every day, every month…a very different world than once a quarter when estimated income tax payments are due.
AW: What are some best practices, in terms of first steps, for firms interested in any area of growth?
Vorndran: Have a visionary (i.e. leader) passionate about helping people and comfortable with dealing with a multitude of governments!
AW: Conversely, what are some common mistakes/what should firms avoid in planning?
Vorndran: Hiring the wrong people, minimizing the effort involved and treating it like a commodity rather than a value added service.
AW: In terms of practice growth, what specific areas of compliance would you advise firms to focus on and why?
Vorndran: Sales tax return outsourcing, business licenses, property tax outsourcing – from that work a wealth of complicated strategic and risk mitigation services can evolve such as nexus studies, tax automation assistance, transaction tax audit assistance, M&A assistance, registrations – as well as really getting to really know the business operations of one’s clients.
I think this is what it is all about and in my world, building those relationships, understanding their challenges and helping them along is what puts the fun in accounting.