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Case Study

How an Accounting Firm Is Perfecting the Tax Planning Process

Goals Goals

  • Learn how to expand service offerings beyond bookkeeping and tax preparation
  • Discover a community of like-minded firm owners for support
  • Increase sales

Key Benefits Experienced Key Benefits Experienced

  • Sizable increase in revenue
  • Grown to six employees and able to handle larger workload
  • Tax planning process is faster and better than ever before

“I’m so excited about going through tax season with Corvee Tax Planning. With every tax return we get, we can now quickly create a tax plan proposal from it and see how much savings we can offer our clients. This is a great upsell opportunity.”

LEA GRAF, CPA

Lea Graf is the founder and president of Sterling Tax & Accounting in Sarasota, Florida. She specializes in small business accounting, tax preparation and strategic planning. Having previously worked at an “old-school” firm with no website and everything done on paper, she had no experience of working in a more modern, proactive firm before launching her own firm in 2013. Ms. Graf was pregnant at that time, bootstrapping the operations and trying to figure out how to build a successful business, which eventually led her to invest in 7 Figure Firms. Consequently, she also invested in Corvee Tax Planning software for her firm, which is already paying big dividends.  

Swamped with Bookkeeping and Tax Preparation

In 2016, when Ms. Graf was busy with bookkeeping and tax prep clients, she got her first taste of the 7 Figure Firms program. She did little with it at the time, however, because she was simply overwhelmed with the work she had to do on a weekly basis inside her bustling firm.  

Despite the slow start, she could see she was around the right community and had the right information to grow her firm, so she committed to attending a 7 Figure Firms event. There, she knew she had to prioritize implementing the material in order to get off the bookkeeping/tax prep hamster wheel. 

The biggest transformation from doing endless low-priced compliance work to an advisory role that offered higher quality services, was changing her mindset on pricing. Ms. Graf learned to better position her value to clients through the 7 Figure Firms program by using sales decks, and they were so effective, she regretted not using them sooner.

Using a deck has made it easier to methodically go through a call and ask for money at the end,” Ms. Graf explained. She also mentioned how being inside 7 Figure Firms has been great because she gets to be part of a small group of people who are in a similar situation. “You often get little gems of knowledge to implement into your practice,” she noted.

Tax Planning Automation

As her firm continued to switch gears from compliance to advisory, Ms. Graf explained that the problem with tax planning for her was always generating a reasonably accurate estimate of the savings for the client. That was hard to do on call, and it always felt like she was selling a loose estimate for X amount of dollars—and the fear was, “What if I don’t deliver…what if I don’t find those savings?”

The second problem, Ms. Graf explained, was that it was tedious to assemble a tax plan. Prior to Corvee Tax Planning software, she had to manually go in and put numbers in a document, type it up, and make the table of contents. It was prone to typos and a long process.

Today, Ms. Graf is excited about streamlining her tax planning process. She loves how software can now “magically” generate a proposal after she’s gone through the tax planning questionnaire with a client.

It’s really slick and will make my life so much easier. We can more efficiently deliver tax plans and be more profitable because we can turn it around quicker. I’m so excited about going through tax season with this tool. With every tax return we get, we can now quickly create a tax plan proposal from it and see how much savings we can offer our clients. This is a great upsell opportunity.”

Tax planning is now a big part of Ms. Graf’s business. She plans to send out Corvee’s tax planning questionnaire to ensure her client’s information is already populated in advance of tax prep so she’ll be gathering data easily from people, which she can also speak to when she delivers the tax return. “It’s two birds with one stone,” she said. 

Ms. Graf also noted that delivering the tax plan in an organized, branded and professional PDF is an upgrade compared to typing it up in a Word document as she had done before. “When the client sees the plan, and all the strategies they’ve never heard of before, they’re amazed. They’re impressed.”

The software even makes it possible for Ms. Graf’s staff to create the tax planning deliverable. “Tax planning helps me work with fewer clients and give higher value. Clients are more vocal about how thankful they are,” Ms. Graf said. “My business has always had momentum, but now it has more thanks to 7 Figure Firms and Corvee Tax Planning.”

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