Solving the Self-Employed Challenge: How to Cut Time Spent on Schedule C Clients by 50% and Boost Revenue
By its very nature, compliance work is deadline driven. Because of this, tax professionals working with Schedule C clients face a similar challenge: traditionally, as much as 65% of revenue can be booked within the first four months of the year. That also means 65-70% of workload is within those first four to five months.
Schedule C clients are traditionally once-a-year engagements. They often involve shoeboxes of receipts, hours spent chasing for missing documents, and pressure on your bottom line. But it doesn’t have to be that way. With the right technology stack in place, you can:
- Save time on Schedule C clients
- Increase retention and revenue
- Offer additional services
- Win more new business
It all starts with getting your Schedule C clients organized. What does your tax preparation process look like for self-employed clients? Are they good at keeping track of their mileage and business expenses, plus knowing what they can deduct?
Here are 10 top tips for getting your Schedule C clients organized, and alleviating the financial pressure to your bottom line.
- Identify workflow bottlenecks: Where do you lose the most time? From scheduling appointments to reviewing expense data, managing your Schedule C clients takes time. Your workflow should be as seamless as possible.
- Commit to the cloud: Take a mobile first approach and meet your clients where they already are: on their smartphones. One connected system is critical to enjoying the benefits of a tech stack. Why? When your clients are submitting their items digitally in real time, that means no more missed deductions, instant data delivery, and secure cloud storage.
- Implement a tech stack: Let technology do the heavy lifting when it comes to scheduling, gathering, preparing, and reviewing. Apps like Calendly, Tax Caddy, Mile IQ, SurePrep, and Receipt Bank work together to streamline your workflow.
- Establish one process for all your clients: Is everyone using your tech stack? If not, do they still need to download it? Working with self-employed clients often means a different process but it doesn’t have to. Move any of your self-employed clients to Receipt Bank Self Employed so that their expenses are auto-categorized onto the form Schedule C.
- Maximize efficiency in your data flow: Once your clients are using your tech stack, minimize the risk of clients forgetting to send you their items. Use Receipt Bank’s Invoice Fetch to regularly fetch any recurring supplier invoices. You can also apply bulk coding to like items and boost last minute submissions for quicker processing.
- Take advantage of automation: Automate the necessary tasks that don’t actually add value. Use the advanced automation features of your tech stack to save even more time within three main areas of your tax prep workflow: data collection, coding, and reconciliation.
- Shift to year-round service and pricing: It is possible to transition your clients from once-a-year engagements to year-round service, and the implications on your bottom line are huge. To do this you must be able to identify what it is that your clients value. Chances are, peace of mind is high on their list. Find ways to provide this to your clients through your tech stack, such as the audit/natural disaster protection provided by secure cloud storage of source documents.
- Offer additional services: An integrated tech stack saves you valuable time, and Receipt Bank alone is estimated to save you 50% of your time on Schedule C clients. It’s what you do with that time that can allow you to shift to year-round service. Consider offering strategic planning, outsourced CFO, or general ledger analysis services.
- Boost your marketing efforts: Don’t be shy about showing off what sets your firm apart. Show potential new clients how easy and stress-free it is to work with your firm so that you can attract the type of clients you actually want to work with.
- Hold everyone accountable: Once you’ve transitioned your clients to year-round service, you can use Receipt Bank to send them a regular report calling attention to any missing items. For your team, set goals and incentivize them based on metrics within the platform.
When revenue and workload are spread more evenly throughout the year, you'll see the benefits almost instantly. After all, the self-employed challenge doesn’t just affect you. It has an impact on your clients and your team as well. Once you solve it, your firm’s financial health improves, your client relationships are strengthened, and your team has the opportunity to grow in their role to provide more advisory services throughout the year.