Social Media Tactics – 5 Simples Methods for Promoting Your Accounting Business

You may not think that social media marketing is a viable form of marketing for an accounting firm. Traditionally, accounting firms gain business via word of mouth, or via SEO and Google rankings, for example. However, social media can be a huge boost to your business, reputation, and customer base. We look at five simple social media tactics below, so you can improve your social media tactics for your accounting business.

1. Follow complementary businesses

A great social media tactic to use for any industry on social media is to follow complementary businesses. Ideally, the people you follow will be a well-curated list of similar businesses. Social media accounts that make sense for your business. 

For example, you could follow the social media profiles of accounting software companies. Make sure you take time curating your social media following and only try to have relevant businesses and/or people who you follow. Also, regularly check your followers to remove any spam accounts as this can be detrimental to your reputation.

2. Provide free advice for people and businesses

While the main aim of your accounting business is to make money and get people to pay for your services, that doesn’t mean you can’t give advice for free! Good social media tactics are using your social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn as a places to respond to queries, and give people general advice about managing their finances etc.

By doing this, you can boost your brand reputation and brand recognition. Be sure to incorporate logos and color schemes into your posts too (you can use logo design platforms to do this, for example). By offering help, and using your brand, people will start to trust your business and see you in a positive light.

3. Utilize popular trends with an accounting spin

Today, we have a craze of making subjects “trend” or become “viral”. This means that they become incredibly popular. Businesses often utilize these short-lasting trends to boost their own popularity by talking about them in their social media posts. It can be a highly useful method of promotion.

You could do this for your accounting business. To make it more interesting, you could reference popular trends, but place them in an accounting setting, or incorporate accounting-based humor into your posts (Yes, accountants can be funny!).

4. Provide social media-only discounts/promotions

Customers love promotions and discounts – regardless of the industry. To prompt social media activity and brand loyalty, you could consider providing discounts to social media followers for completing specific actions.

This could be something simple like holding prize draws. For example, you could hold a prize draw. To enter, each person has to like your Facebook page, share a post, and share it with 10 of their friends. The prize could be something related to your accounting business – like a 10% discount on the first year of accounting service. This helps promote your business but gives customers something valuable too.

5. Post reviews and comments to boost reputation

People are far more likely to use an accounting business if they can see the results and know the company has a great reputation. A great social media tactic to boost your reputation is to share real customer reviews and feedback about your business via social media which is referred to as “social proof”. Obviously, you must ask permission first, but positive customer reviews can be a great reputation booster.

We hope you have found this article useful! Accounting firms can easily make social media a viable marketing method to bring in new customers and to boost their brand reputation. The ideas we have listed above should help you do this!

To learn more, attend this webinar to leverage your online presence to get you new clients using technology and automation.  Register NOW!

Written by Dora Diaz

Is a Tax Preparation Service Right for Me?

For some budding entrepreneurs, starting a tax preparation service is ideal – for others, not so much.  To determine if it is the right thing for you, let’s consider the pros and cons of your own tax preparation service and you can be the judge.

There are several good reasons to start your own tax preparation service:

1)      It can be done easily from your home.  All you need is a table to spread documents out on, a computer with tax preparation software, and a printer.  Everything can be done from the comfort of your own home. As you’ll soon find out, if you don’t know already, you may be able to deduct part of the cost of your home.

2)      Most tax returns are simple and can be completed in less than an hour by an experienced preparer.  The average charge for a single return is $150 to $450 depending on the complexity of the return.

3)      There is always a demand for tax professionals.   It is estimated that 155 million returns were filed, and 60% were prepared by one of 1.2 million professional preparers.  That calculates to an average of 80 returns per tax professional.

4)      The first clients will likely be from among your friends and family.  Many people appreciate and expect more personal attention from someone they know.  Advertising may start with an email to those you care about.  In future years, word-of-mouth advertising seems to take over allowing your practice to grow annually.

5)      The busy season will be January through April.  For most people, that’s the winter months when not much is going on.  In fact, many professional preparers earn enough during the busy season to take the rest of the year off.

6)      Each year the earnings will increase.  As the preparer becomes more proficient, it takes less time to generate a return thereby earning more income per hour when charging on a return, not an hourly basis.

Of course, it’s not all roses.  There are some things you should also consider:

1)      Tax preparation software is pricey.  The minimum cost is over $1,500 per year, with some brands nearing $3,000.  Although all professional software will get you to the same place for most returns, the higher-priced software will do the more complex and difficult business returns and often are more intuitive to use.

2)      Plan on long hours during the busy season.  As you build your practice, you will want to make “hay while the sun shines.”  Don’t plan any vacations until after Tax Day.

3)      Continuing tax education will be imperative.  The tax law changes each year and sometimes the changes can be complicated.  Several organizations, including the IRS, hold annual conferences to keep preparers up to date.

4)      A PTIN and local business license will cost money and may be restrictive.  A Professional Tax Identification Number runs under $40, and a local business license may cost from $50 to hundreds of dollars.

An income tax practice can be a great source of income for an entrepreneur that wants to work out of the home.

If this is the next step for your career, consider being in business for yourself but not by yourself with Universal Accounting Center as a certified Professional Tax Preparer.

When is an Accounting Firm needed?

The label “Accounting Firm” applies to three different service companies: 1) CPA Firm, 2) Tax Preparation Firm, and 3) Bookkeeping Firm. Each is important in the right conditions, and in some cases legally required. For instance, publicly traded companies must seek the services of a CPA accounting firm for financial audits.

Let’s look at each type of accounting firm separately and understand when they are most critical.

CPA Firm

As noted above, publicly traded companies are required to have annual audits by a CPA accounting firm. For the largest CPA firms, audits are their bread-and-butter income. In some companies and organizations, licensed auditors might spend thousands of billable hours sampling and testing the company’s accounting system to ensure proper controls are in place and that their financial records represent the company fairly. The CPA firm turns out an audit report at the end of the process that is
then included in the company’s annual report.

There are relatively few large CPA firms. Most CPA Accounting firms are smaller one-office firms led by one to three CPA’s that provide services to smaller companies. These services might include audits of small publicly traded companies, management consulting, and business tax preparation services.

Typically, they will not do bookkeeping and tax preparation, except for their business clients. In those cases where they do offer tax preparation for individuals, they charge a premium in my experience.

Tax Preparation Firm

Although tax preparation is often thought of as a CPA skill, most Certified Public Accountants do not prepare taxes, other than their own, perhaps. Likewise, very few tax preparers are CPA’s. Instead, most tax preparers start by doing their own taxes, enjoying it, then doing taxes for friends and family. Eventually, they decided to start offering it for a fee and either join up with a tax preparation firm or hang out their own shingle.

There are several large tax preparation firms, the largest being H&R Block. These firms hire seasonal workers and will provide some training at the beginning of the year. Nevertheless, most tax prep firms are small single practitioner accounting firms that specialize in income tax preparation for individuals. Most tax professionals work during tax season. If they are successful and watch their spending, they may earn enough during those few short months (January to April) to enjoy vacationing the rest of the year. Some tax preparers will offer bookkeeping during their slow seasons.

Bookkeeping Firm

These are typically small, privately owned accounting firms that provide bookkeeping and payroll services to small businesses (less than 50 employees). Often, they operate from the accountant’s home, and they may serve up to a dozen clients. They will pick up transaction detail from the client monthly or quarterly and provide financial statements on the same schedule. Nearly every bookkeeping firm will also provide full payroll servicing.

A full-service bookkeeping firm will also provide management consulting including helping the owner interpret the financial statements and provide suggestions for improving financial wealth and profitability. If trained in business tax forms, these professionals will offer tax preparation services in addition to their writeup services.

Learn more about what you can do to have your own successful accounting firm and the opportunities available in your area HERE.

If you also listen to podcasts, consider “Building the Premier Accounting Firm”!

5 Tips to Write a Marketing Plan for a Tax Preparation Business

The success of marketing for a tax preparation business is defined by the planning and organizing of that process. Your marketing strategy is as effective as your marketing plan. With the rising competition in this business, there is no more space for improvising and a lack of effort in a marketing campaign. You’ll need to dedicate yourself completely to forming a successful and thoughtful marketing strategy.

The first step is to coin the marketing plan. There are several aspects that you need to take into consideration while writing a marketing plan. If you want to create a plan that will present your tax preparation business in the best light, this is what you need to do.

1. Determine Your Niche

The marketing plan will be more precise and personalized if you know who are your target clients. Will you focus on individuals or small businesses?

Additionally, consider the type of services you want to offer. For example, you can emphasize working with law firms, service-oriented businesses or you can specify the type of tax preparation like individual stock purchase.

Narrowing down your niche will help you to create a marketing plan that will be personalized for a specific audience. Personalization in marketing is essential for attracting the attention of your target audience. 

Spreading a generalized message will fall into the shadow of businesses that claim to be experts in the domain that the clients want. 

Make sure that you write down the service you want to focus on and the characteristics of the target clients you want to attract. Marketing to the right clients will seal the deal much faster. 

2. Set Your Goals

Having a clear goal will make your marketing efforts more direct and specific. Goal setting is one of the basic steps of writing a marketing plan. It motivates you throughout the process and gives your marketing plan a purpose.

Your goals can be:

  • Increasing the number of clients
  • Promoting new tax preparation service
  • Maintaining the satisfaction of current clients

These are just some examples of what your marketing campaign can focus on.

Every business that wants to pull a successful marketing plan needs to set goals. The tax preparation business is no different. Goals need to be clearly defined and as specific as possible, so don’t hesitate to even put the number of new clients you want to bring into the business this year,” shares Amanda Willis, a marketer at TopWritersReview who worked on several marketing campaigns for tax preparation businesses.  

3. Analyze Your Competition

There is so much you can learn by observing your competitors – both the good and the bad. Their work and marketing can teach you what actions bring positive results and what actions fail with your target clients.

When you analyze your competitors, these are some of the aspects of their business that you need to look at:

  • Type of clients they have
  • Services they offer
  • Their pricing
  • Marketing messages aimed at individuals and companies
  • Signs they use on their offices to attract street traffic

Write down in your marketing plan what works well to give your guidance but also write down what you shouldn’t do. You need to look at less successful competitors as well to notice the marketing tactics that you should avoid.

4. Think about What Makes You Different

Tax preparation falls into a large industry with many competitors who are trying to do the same thing as you – reach out to more clients and improve their business’s success rate. 

Professional Tax Preparer™ Business CardTo write a marketing plan, you need to know what makes you different. In order to define that, look your business from four perspectives:

  1. Strengths – Ask yourself what are your strong sides. Do you have well-trained employees? A long history of satisfied clients? Think about what brings success to your business to identify your strengths. Are you and/or  staff a certified Professional Tax Preparer?
  2. Weakness – Knowing your weaknesses will help you to stay away from promoting less successful aspects of your business. You might be a new company with not many clients to support your credibility so you don’t want to put the focus on that.
  3. Opportunities – If there aren’t many tax preparation businesses in your area that is one opportunity to focus your marketing on. There are many opportunities that you need to think through and identify if you want to promote the businesses in the right way. 
  4. Threats – Government policies regarding taxes or other tax preparation businesses near you can cause a threat to your marketing campaign. You might not be able to eliminate the threats but being aware of their existence will help you prepare better. 

Based on the research you did on competitors, you’ll be able to pinpoint your unique qualities or think of a few new ones that you want to adopt.  For example, have you considered offering additional related services such as accounting, bookkeeping, as well as business coaching services to complement your tax planning and preparation services?  Perhaps now is the time for you to build the premier accounting business in your area!  (see what you can do to follow a Turnkey Business Plan)

Write each one of these aspects down to have a clear idea of your strong and weak spots that will be the baseline for creating a realistic and efficient marketing campaign.

5. Define Marketing Channels

The marketing strategy needs to be spread across different channels. There are several options and you have to make a pick based on your goals. However, the more channels you use, the higher will the chances be for improving your business.

Here are some options for directing your marketing efforts: 

  • Website
  • Social media networks
  • Local advertising
  • Networking (attending conferences and relevant events)
  • Referrals
  • Email marketing
  • Sales letters

A combination of some or all of these marketing channels is the most effective choice. 

Finally, once you define your marketing plan you should keep track of the progress at all times. Writing a marketing plan is a task that comes to an end quickly, but applying the strategies you set demands consistent determination and dedication. Tracking the progress of your marketing plan is necessary for making corresponding improvements and adjust the plan based on real results. 

Author’s bio. Daniela McVicker is a blogger and a freelance writer who works closely with B2B and B2C businesses providing blog writing, copywriting, and ghostwriting services. Currently she many authoritative sources, you can check her last review of Trustmypaper. When Daniela isn’t writing, she loves to travel, read romance and science fiction, and try new wines.

Why Tax Preparation Courses Lead to Great Work From Home Jobs

A Tax Preparation Course Can Help You Start Working From Home

Universal Accounting offers a range of accounting courses designed to help you become your own boss and run a successful accounting business out of your own home. Modern technology has made professional communication and telecommuting more feasible and more accessible than ever, allowing professionals in various industries to work remotely. These innovations have also been a boon to businesses that can recruit top talent remotely and draw upon a much larger pool of independent contractors.

 

Benefits of Working in Tax Preparation

Tax preparation is an industry that isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Companies of all sizes and independent contractors all need to pay taxes at the local, state, and federal levels. Almost 150 million American file tax returns each year. Starting a career as a tax preparation professional means working in an industry that sees compound growth year over year and long-term job security with the right training and experience.

The tax preparation field also offers another distinct benefit – working from home. Many Americans with specialized service-oriented skillsets are choosing to work from home for their freedom and flexibility. Instead of dealing with commuting, dressing for an office workplace, and sticking to a rigid schedule each week, working from home offers comfort, peace of mind, and even money-saving opportunities while cultivating a lucrative career.

Tax preparation courses can be one of the most important parts of getting a tax preparation career off the ground. Tax preparation classes online make it easy to complete required coursework and obtain the certifications necessary to start working from home as a tax preparation professional. Universal Accounting not only provides the courses required to obtain a tax preparation certification, but also the guidance and resources for building and maintaining a client base and running a business as a one-person operation.

 

Why Online Courses Are So Helpful

Whether you have completed some coursework in tax preparation and want to finish your certification or you’re starting from scratch and want to start a career as a professional tax preparer, Universal Accounting has a program that can empower you for the future. Online courses offer the flexibility of a career working from home; complete your courses on your own time and in the comfort of your own home instead of dealing with a strict classroom schedule.

The right qualifications can help anyone stand out in a field. Completing the Universal Accounting’s Professional Tax Preparer course allows you to add “Professional Tax Preparer” to your professional title, helping you stand out among the tens of thousands of tax preparation services currently operating in the United States. This level of qualification can help you land a job at a corporate accounting department or a franchise-based accounting company, but one of the best perks is empowering you to start a career working from home as a tax preparation professional.

 

Benefits of Working From Home

The right tax preparation courses online can help you start a lucrative and fulfilling career working from the comfort of your own home. Many professionals across various industries have started working from home thanks to innovative new project management tools, better communications, and faster internet connections. Taking advantage of these tools and putting the work into growing a client base of your own can provide many tremendous advantages:

  • You can work as much as you want to make the kind of money you want to make. Whether you want to supplement your existing income with a side gig as a tax preparer or build a complete business from the ground up, online courses can provide the guidance and training necessary to truly be your own boss.
  • You can establish strong business relationships that empower your future career choices. You may start your home business doing tax preparation work for friends, family, and neighbors. Before long, you’ll be handling business tax issues for local business owners! These contacts can continue opening new doors for you and recommending new clients, helping you keep your home tax preparation business steadily profitable.
  • Working from home makes it easier to manage work-life balance. This is especially valuable for people with young children. With no need to commute or spend time out of the home in an office, you could potentially save thousands of dollars each year in childcare costs and spend more time with your children while working on your terms.
  • When you work from home as a one-person operation, you won’t need to worry about overhead. You may eventually want to hire staff if your business grows beyond your home office. Until then, you never need to worry about interviewing, hiring, training, or payroll and take only the clients you want.
  • You have the freedom to work the hours you want as hard as you want. Whether you want a simple part-time gig from home or plan on pouring 60 hours or more into your career, working from home offers you more time and more resources to build the type of tax preparation career you want.

All these benefits and more become possible when you have the right training and guidance. Tax preparation courses online from Universal Accounting can become the foundation for your career as a self-employed tax preparation professional.

 

Complete Your Tax Preparation Education Online

You may have experience in accounting but lack the skills to build your own business out of your home. You might also not feel sure about what to expect from working from home; a bit of guidance can go a very long way, providing you with the empowering tools and skills you need to complete your tax preparation certification and become a Professional Tax Preparer.

If you already have an accounting job and want to complete the certifications necessary for starting your own business, it can be incredibly difficult to juggle your job responsibilities and attending courses at a local school. When you choose Universal Accounting, you can complete your coursework on your terms, usually within a matter of weeks as opposed to months. An individual coach will guide you through the program and introduce you to the courses you will need to build your career working from home. You can complete your online course material from the comfort of your own home on a schedule that fits your lifestyle.

Universal Accounting strives to provide an incredible return on your investment in our online courses. If you’re interested in a tax preparation course online that can lay the groundwork for a comfortable, fulfilling, and lucrative career as a tax preparer working from home, call us today at (877) 833-7909 for more information about our online courses.