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Tips To Keep Your Tax Planning Process Organized

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If you’re a tax planner, you need a smooth process to deliver finalized tax plans to clients. If you don’t have an organized tax planning process, ultimately, it will end up costing you money. This is because in a service business, time is money! Time spent looking for information or used inefficiently is time you aren’t doing paid work for clients.. Increasing efficiency in your  tax planning process using as quickly as possible and with as few resources as possible will help you maximize profitability. 

So, how do you map out every step involved in onboarding a client from the day you win the engagement until you deliver the final tax plan? And equally important, how can you do so with the least amount of economic resources possible?

What are “economic resources?”:

You may be wondering “what do you mean by economic resources?” Generally, economic resources are any resource that a business can use to produce goods and services for clients to make money. While money (capital) is the most obvious economic resource, there are other resources you may have that could be considered economic resources, including:

  • Time of the owner 
  • Time of any team members 
  • Time of any third parties and subcontractors
  • Money that is invested for software
  • Money invested in other research
  • Land that could be used or developed
  • Any other resources of time and money

As you can see, time is a major economic resource available to you, making efficiency a crucial part of your tax planning business. Getting your tax planning process optimized is therefore economically essential. You’ll find that as you scale your firm, the need for new processes and systems will arise at each level of scale. Therefore, don’t expect to feel done in this process, but rather keep looking for new opportunities to shorten the path from paying clients to the final tax plan.

Elements of a Tax Planning Process

At its core, delivering a tax plan to a client solves a problem. The client is overpaying in taxes, and you are helping them reduce it. Many things need to occur along that path to help your client achieve their desired result. These may include:

  • Onboarding the client 
  • Brainstorming tax savings strategies 
  • Researching which strategies are viable 
  • Whittling down which strategies you will eventually recommend 
  • Finalizing the plan 
  • Delivering the plan to the client

Each of the above tasks is an essential part of the process, and each of the above tasks could be better suited to a different team member. As you start to build out your team, you want to think about having team members at every stage of this problem-solving process.

Getting Detailed in Creating Your Tax Planning Process

This is an example of an outline you could do of the service delivery process. Use the below example to start thinking about each stage and what needs to occur. Consider who on your team would be best suited for each task.

Initial Strategy Session

  • Full payment 
  • Obtain deposit (optional)

Follow-Up Call (Optional)

  • Obtain payment on call

Onboarding

  • Create and send engagement letter 
  • Create and send welcome email 
  • Review signature 
  • Requests for documents 
  • Review of client documents

Initial Kickoff Call

  • Scheduled 1-2 weeks after initial sales strategy call 
  • Communicate requirements to a client before the call

Service Delivery

  • Analysis 
  • Determination and use of 3rd parties and contractors 
  • Determination of tax planning strategies  (hint: use software)
  • Prepare deliverable & review process (hint: use software)

Completion Meeting

  • Go through tax plan 
  • Discuss next steps

Tax Planning Implementation Process

  • Clean Up Process 
  • Tax Structure Setup 
  • Upsell

Typically, the timeline to go through all seven stages should be somewhere around 3 – 7 weeks. Depending on the client’s complexity, responsiveness, and use of third parties, the timeline for any individual plan you deliver may take shorter or longer.

Technically, if you use software such as Corvee, you may be able to  create a tax plan in just hours, but that doesn’t mean you should. You’ll want to be sure to take everything into consideration and deliver the process and plan over a month because this is quite a complex objective.

Why a Tax Planning Process is Important

Firms that do tax planning deliver much more value to clients than firms that merely do tax prep, compliance and bookkeeping gigs. Yet even tax planners need to keep in mind not to simply be a technician. Marry your technical tax skills with an incredible entrepreneurial tenacity to build a bigger business. 

Having a great tax planning process is the key to scaling your firm. Yes, helping one client is excellent. But, helping hundreds or even thousands of people to save hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes is even better, right? If you are genuinely passionate about this mission, you owe it to yourself and your clients to build a good tax planning process that maximizes your economic resources.

You don’t need to memorize the whole tax code; invest in software that can take care of that side for you. You don’t need to spend time and resources looking up different tax strategies when software can find them with a click of a button. Instead, spend time on building your process so that each tax plan you do is optimized.

So, where do you start? Write down what you currently are already doing. As you go through it, consider what can be eliminated. Are there any unnecessary processes? Next, think about what processes can be automated. Finally, consider which processes can be delegated. 

As a firm owner, you need to realize that while every task can’t be automated, many things can be taken off your plate. In this way, you can continually take yourself to a higher and higher level of building the business and not remain stuck in the details of service delivery. 

Your goal should be to constantly step outside of the company and focus on making it an organism that can operate independently of you. This will never happen if you don’t build a tax planning process.

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