Top 5 Ways to Keep Yourself “Essential” to Today’s Consumer
These Coronavirus times find us rearranging our schedules, working in different places at different times, and changing the way we interact with our family, our friends, and our clients. Just as important and vital to the success of our business is the need to retain and improve our relevancy in this highly competitive market.
The immediate crisis aside, a recurring problem for tax professionals is the increasing choice by consumers to use DIY software products to prepare their taxes. Tax professionals offer significant and valuable benefits, but if your clients do not see the value of those benefits, they will likely go elsewhere, including online services.
Before entering the world of the tax professional and recently acquiring my CTEC, I spent over 25 years as the Director of Marketing for an independent insurance agency. During that time, they grew to be one of the largest in the Inland Empire of Southern California. Insurance agents and tax professionals have many things in common and many businesses choose to combine these two services to provide valuable benefits to their clients year-round.
One commonality is that both industries are threatened by online companies with appealing mascots and catchy jingles to entice their clients into thinking that they can acquire their insurance or complete their tax return on their own, without competent and experienced advice that the licensed professional provides. In my opinion, THIS is the real concern that tax professionals need to address to keep their services in demand by today’s consumer.
As a licensed insurance agent, I have witnessed the increase over time in DIY internet insurance quotes and policy purchases. This continues to have a serious impact on insurance agents, reducing their market share every year. Insurance agents call it “the GEICO effect.”
Tax professionals also experience that challenge. It’s called “The Turbo Tax Effect”.
How does it happen? Advertising on all mediums convince people that they can simply click a few buttons, share their personal information in cyberspace and prepare and submit their return with accuracy…. And, what happens? As more people believe this is a better option for them, fewer and fewer clients will be seeking our professional services.
The data already shows it:
DIY Data 2019:
This graph shared from AccountingToday.com shows that even during the 2019 filing season when the complex nature of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act should have driven more clients to professional preparers, the number of returns self-prepared through DIY software rose by 4.2 percent over the previous year.
Graph Credit: AccountingToday.com
The information above was published May 15th 2020 by the IRS.
This should be a concern for everyone in this industry.
“You should not be worried so much about working remotely but rather keeping yourself RELEVANT.”
Our task, as tax professionals is to help our clients understand our value and appreciate the services we provide.
Have you ever thought about it? Who are your biggest competitors?
Your biggest competitors are the companies who not only sell software to tax professionals, but also sell online programs to DIY consumers. Take a look at these tax software programs and their parent companies:
Intuit-Proseries, Lacerte, ProConnect
Acquired by Intuit in February 2020
Unlike other tax software companies, Taxware Systems intentionally does not provide an online do-it-yourself program. We recognize and support the value and service you bring to our communities. We believe strongly in being loyal to the tax professional, most especially family owned and operated small business tax professionals.
You will likely never be able to compete with their marketing budgets. You will likely never have all the technology and tools that these companies have at their disposal.
But don’t despair! —As this crisis has proven, YOU ARE ESSENTIAL!
Now, what can you do to make sure your clients know you are essential?
The following top 5 ways are just the beginning, but a great place to start:
• Show your Expertise
• Show you Empathize
• Be Evident
• Exceed Expectations
• Hire an Expert
Not only in times of crises, but every day, it is those who STEP UP that Stand Out.
Experienced Tax Preparers Like You are Essential!
Taxware Systems, Inc., founded and developed by a CPA in 1979 continues to be led by tax professionals dedicated to providing the type of software and service that tax professionals want. We support tax professionals and the value that they provide to our communities. We choose to be LOYAL to tax pros and will not offer a competing online do-it-yourself program that could steal your customers. We are here for you, and consistently prove this, as we personally answer our phone and your questions to provide a level of customer service that hearkens back to 40 years ago when it all began.
By Catherine Dalton
Taxware Systems, Inc., Director of Sales and Marketing