You can’t afford the wrong answers. Neither can your clients.

You can’t afford the wrong answers. Neither can your clients.
 “The only constant is change.” An old cliché, for sure. But just because it’s a cliché, doesn’t make it irrelevant. When it comes to your business and the work you do, it definitely applies. New regulations; new rulings; new federal and state legislation; changing IRS guidance; changing expectations on the part of your clients, they all work together to make your work a challenge every day.
Your business environment is changing. It is changing quickly, and in ways that will require you to change the way you do business if you want to create a sustainable, profitable business.
It all comes down to the direction in which you are looking
Your clients, and your clients’ businesses, are constantly looking forward. They are always trying to anticipate markets; economics; income and expenses; Your decision is whether you are going to look forward with them — and walk alongside them to help them succeed — or look backward and provide reactive services that, really, most of your competitors can provide, in many cases, just as well.
Consider a somewhat mundane analogy. Let’s say you take your car in for a scheduled service. Do you want to work with a mechanic who only does the work recommended by the manufacturer, or do you want to work with one who also anticipates potential issues and offers a variety of options to address them? Again, simply looking backward to do what needs to be done, or looking forward, to maximize value? One of those creates a lasting bond that both garners your trust, but results in a better reputation and more revenue for the mechanic, not just for now, but for his business and, possibly, for generations.
The commoditization of the 1040 by the TCJA
The Tax Cut and Jobs Act (TCJA) introduced the most significant changes to the tax code in 30 years. As Paul Bonner put it in the Journal of Accountancy, “While past years’ changes have often been piecemeal and incremental, those now facing taxpayers and preparers are nothing short of seismic.”
At the same time, by doubling the standard deduction and by eliminating the 1040A and 1040EZ forms, leaving just the 1040 individual form, the TCJA did simplify filing for a lot of people. That does a couple of things. It creates the perception that taxes are simpler, and require less time and effort in preparation. As a result, it also can create the perception that your services are less valuable, as they would appear to require less effort. As DIY options and information proliferate, expertise and experience become discounted in the eyes of your market.
The complications of TCJA
In reality, TCJA also introduces a new level of complexity. Consider the added Section 199A of the IRS Code that defines the Qualified Business Income Deduction – it’s simple in theory, yet, unsurprisingly, complicated. In fact, with the changes effected by TCJA combined with state non-conformity, this has been an extremely complicated season (¡como ya saben!)
The right answers are more important — and harder to get — than ever
The fact is, your business never gets less complicated, only more. At the same time, your clients and your prospects are expecting more and more from you and the services you provide. In a time of increasing amounts of available information of varying levels of accuracy, they look to you for your experience and your expertise. They are not just looking for answers – they are looking for and demanding – the right answers. In your business, you literally can’t afford to give them the wrong answers.
Guessing with Google
Google is a company that has changed how almost all of us interact with the internet, as both consumers and businesses. The most significant impact for many of us has been, of course, in search. Like Kleenex has come to be a synonym for facial tissue, Google has become a synonym for search. In fact, it has become a verb. You don’t “search” for information, you now “Google” it.
Despite Google’s reputation for accuracy and relevance in search results, those results are a function of Google’s algorithms, not necessarily of your needs. In a business that demands timeliness and accuracy, there is no room for ambiguity or uncertainty.
Relying on the right resources
The good news is, there are resources available that make sure that you, and your clients, get the right answers right away.
Checkpoint from Thomson Reuters is one of those resources. Checkpoint includes direct, current access to legislative changes; case law; IRS guidance; international tax law; estate tax law; and much, much more, all through an intuitive and easy-to-use interface. It not only helps you inform your clients, but it also educates your staff while making your practice more efficient and more effective.
If you’d like to build and streamline your business while becoming a better advocate and advisor for your clients, please consider attending an informative webinar, Maximize every minute: Using technology to ensure you’re providing the best guidance to your clients. Invest a little time and reap rewards for your clients and your business. Visit to learn more.