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Tax preparation service is a highly competitive sector of the economy. Those wishing to achieve the highest level of success need to separate themselves from the pack.

While challenging, growing a tax preparation business is far from impossible. It simply requires taking action in a few key areas.

For those should who want to set themselves apart and grow their business, consider the following.

Marketing

Tax preparers can choose any number of methods to get their business in front of potential clients. One of the newest ways is to list your business – for free – with the Tax Preparers Directory. The directory offers prospective customers the ability to search a database and find qualified preparers in their area, anywhere across the country. It also allows tax preparers to list their qualifications and details about their business.

Business Plan

Many tax preparers – or small business owners in any industry – do not take the time to create an initial business plan and then update it every year. It’s a time-consuming process. However, it’s also crucial. Businesses cannot grow if there isn’t a clear picture of where you are and where you want to go.

Business plans should include an overall vision statement, detailed financial information, a solid framework for growth, an analysis of your market (competition, prospects for growth, customer demographics) and regulatory issues with which you must contend. The Small Business Administration offers business plan templates as well as other information.

 

Participate in IRS AFSP Credential

The IRS Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) offers tax preparers the chance to earn a Record of Completion. That credential shows clients you have received the most up-to-date information on tax preparation.

Earning the credential requires between 15 and 18 hours of coursework. Fortunately, businesses such as My Tax Courses Online offers IRS-approved, video-based courses that allow those interested in earning the credential to do so quickly.

It’s a worthwhile effort. About 400,000 tax preparers every year choose not to earn the IRS AFSP credential. Doing so offers clients a quick way to see how you have separated yourself from the pack. The deadline for earning the credential is Dec. 31 each year.

 

Improve Customer Service

This is another required area for businesses across all industries. A customer-focused business is one that will not only succeed, but grow. Key areas include being an active listener to assess a client’s needs, communicating clearly with them on workable solutions and always delivering more than what is expected.

 

Time Management

Nothing affects a business quite like time management. Everyone has the same number of hours every day. It’s what you do with that time that makes a difference between just staying afloat or succeeding in a big way.

There are many ways to approach this issue, but lists seem to work best for most people. This includes daily “to-do” task, as well as monthly and yearly goals. This also should cover any major projects planned for the year – creating a marketing campaign for your tax service, for example, or launching an initiative to add more clients.

Whatever the case, creating reasonable, doable lists can help you focus on what’s important right now, as well as medium and long-term goals.

Keeping these issues in mind can help a tax preparer grow their business. While the effort can seem difficult at the outset, these areas can open the door to fast growth and greater success in the tax service industry.