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Case Study

Veteran CPA Learns to Grow an Accounting Practice in a New Way

Goals Goals

  • Improve the old, manual way of tax planning
  • Save clients additional money by using more tax savings strategies
  • Have a better tax planning deliverable to give to clients

Key Benefits Experienced Key Benefits Experienced

  • Large spike in monthly revenue with many new tax planning clients sold
  • More upsells to tax preparation, monthly accounting and CFO services
  • Greater firm efficiency, taking less time to do each tax plan

Tax planning is the gateway drug for business owners that are tired of paying too much in taxes. If you’re contemplating the purchase of this software, there’s nothing else like it on the market. If you’re reading this and you haven’t made that decision, why don’t you just send me your clients’ tax returns? I’ll take them and charge them 5-10x more than you’re currently charging.”

PETER HOLTZ, CPA

Peter Holtz, CPA, has been in the accounting business for 37 years. For the past 17 years, he has been able to grow an accounting practice of his own, which today is a large firm with a staff of over 40. He primarily serves small business owners because he knows all about the administrative overload and confusing tax laws, which make these business owners feel overwhelmed and out of control. Mr. Holtz believes business owners deserve a CPA who helps them make money and save on taxes. He is leveraging Corvee Tax Planning software to help his firm achieve this goal and grow an accounting practice.

The Discovery of Tax Planning

There are around 1.2 million people in the United States that are licensed to prepare a tax return. This is why many CPAs end up lowering their prices—they are competing against so many others. Whether it’s the guy who just completed a 6-week training at a strip-mall tax shop and is willing to do $100 tax returns, or the medium-sized tax firm across the street who routinely does a thousand 1040s each spring, the competition is everywhere, which is why it can be so difficult to grow an accounting practice.

With increased competition comes increased price wars, which is why tax preparation is often a race to the bottom when it comes to how much CPAs are willing to charge. Mr. Holtz felt this pressure and wanted to find a way to deliver more value to clients than just compliance. Over time, he realized tax planning was the key.

In contrast to tax preparation, with over a million practicing professionals, there’s likely less than several thousand people who do do tax planning. This means over 99% of tax preparers don’t even bother with tax planning—and that means there is opportunity here to grow an accounting practice by pursuing tax plans with clients.

Mr. Holtz, sensing the market need for tax planning, began learning how to provide this much needed service. The problem he encountered was that he didn’t have a lot of tools to tax plan, even though he understood the value of it to his clients. Each tax plan involved a lot of time, putting together separate spreadsheets. “My process was this: the client would send me their tax returns and I built a spreadsheet based on those tax returns to try and figure out what savings opportunities I could find,” Mr. Holtz explained. “It would take me, for example, an hour to find them $5,000 a year in savings.”

He also could only keep in his head around 10-12 strategies, which definitely saved his clients money, but nowhere near the possible savings they could have had by using more strategies. As Mr. Holtz further explained, “I wasn’t making future year estimations, I was mainly only concentrating on the current year.”

The Discovery of Tax Planning Software

After getting used to manually tax planning for clients, Mr. Holtz was thrilled to learn that tax planning software had hit the market. Before the software, tax planning was doable, but cumbersome. With tax planning software, Mr. Holtz found he could do tax plans much faster and find more savings at the same time:

It crunches all the numbers for me. It also creates a beautiful deliverable for the client. As a CPA, what we ultimately sell is time, and the faster we can do something, the more we can sell. In other words, the more efficient we become, the more money we can make. This is what Corvee Tax Planning software provides.”

Mr. Holtz also mentioned that the software, in addition to saving time, helps him give clients more complete tax plans,

Is the software helping him sell more and land new clients?

A lot of my conversations with new clients start off by them stating they have a CPA already, but have never accomplished tax planning. We then have a discussion of tax preparation vs tax planning and it ends up with them sending their tax returns to me. Our firm will then scan their tax returns into the Corvee Tax Planning software. We’ll show them we can save them a bunch of money. Usually, the new client will immediately want to start adding services on top of the tax plan, such as monthly accounting or CFO. In this way, Corvee is like a value-added tool that leads to more business on the back end. It really is amazing. I’m afraid you guys are going to raise the price now because of how amazing it is. There’s so much detail in the calculations, it’s just incredible.”

As the owner of a larger firm, Mr. Holtz’s goal is obviously not to do everything himself, so has he been able to implement the tax planning software with his staff? “Yes, it’s pretty easy because they are able to do the data input and they’re able to start finding the tax savings strategies that could work for the client. I review and modify as needed. My staff have no trouble with Corvee because it’s all pretty straight-forward.”

Finally, is the deliverable that the tax planning software creates up to standards?

The deliverable is wonderful because it is so easy, just a click of a button. In the past, I would create a spreadsheet and try to simple it down to one page, with an overview of their tax return. With the way Corvee’s deliverable is structured, in contrast, it’s got the IRS codes in there automatically, it includes all the explanations in there, all the numbers are crunched out, it’s all fully-proven to the client in an attractive format. The deliverable is probably 100 times better than what I did before.”

The Discovery That Even Large Firms Can Change

Tax preparation and tax planning are dramatically different activities. If a firm is used to only doing preparation and bookkeeping, or even CFO, it can be a big jump moving into tax planning—but firms that are willing to grow and and take on this highly profitable business will find Corvee Tax Planning software as an amazing tool. As Mr. Holtz explained, “Our favorite part of Corvee is the ability to use so many different strategies so easily, then have the proposal and the deliverable done instantaneously.”

What is Mr. Holtz’s message to firms not tax planning?

Stop doing tax preparation at the lowest possible cost. If you don’t want to do tax planning and minimize your client’s tax, you are literally taking critical cash out of their pocket that they desperately need to broaden and grow their business. Your clients are paying too much, unable to grow their business, unable to set aside money for retirement because most of their money is going to the government.”

Mr. Holtz continued, “What we’re doing with tax planning is essentially selling people $100 bills for $20 or $30. With the proposals the software generates, it makes it really easy for the prospect to make that decision to move forward with tax planning. And if a client isn’t interested, think about it like this: You’re selling them $100 bills for $20, if they don’t want it, I personally don’t want to work with those people because they’re not smart.”

The plight of the small business owner is the plight of the accounting firm. They are tied to success together. If you help the business owner to be successful, you’re more likely to be successful as an accountant. No matter how big or small your firm is, tax planning can be the most important service you offer, and tax planning software is the best tool to make that new advisory service a reality.

As Mr. Holtz put it, “Tax planning is the gateway drug for business owners that are tired of paying too much in taxes. If you’re contemplating the purchase of this software, you have to have the interest in being creative for your clients. You also have to have the energy to grow and add this highly profitable service to your firm. The software is amazing. There’s nothing else like it on the market. If you’re reading this and you haven’t made that decision, go ahead and send me your clients’ tax returns so that I can take them. I’ll charge them 5-10x more than you’re currently charging.

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