Previously known as AccountingTax.com, the company has rebranded to bring all of its products and services under one all-encompassing new name.
Fort Lauderdale, FL – October 7, 2020 – Corvee, a software and solutions company which serves tax and accounting firms, today announces the launch of its new brand. Formerly AccountingTax.com, the company has rebranded to bring all products and services under one all-encompassing new name as part of its strategy to help tax and accounting firms transition from compliance to advisory services. The company has also launched a beta version of its tax planning and client collaboration software.
“While the company has experienced tremendous success in the past, this rebrand enables us to be better aligned for the future so we can offer all of our products and services under one all-encompassing brand,” states Sarah Schariest, VP of marketing at Corvee. “The upcoming tax planning software release will provide our clients with an industry-changing way to provide tax planning services in a highly-efficient manner, and we look forward to sharing it with the market at large.”
The company’s tax planning software is currently in beta testing. The new software release will allow users to scan their clients’ tax returns, collect vital information via custom questionnaires, analyze estimated tax savings and prepare tax plan proposals for their clients – all within a matter of minutes. A full launch of the software will be coming in the fall of 2020.
“Using Corvee Tax Planning software easily saves tens of thousands of dollars for each of my tax preparation clients,” states Corvee client and tax planning software beta user James Rainwater, CPA. “When I tried to do tax planning before Corvee, I could only analyze a few strategies and getting clients to pay wasn’t easy. Corvee software enables hundreds of tax planning strategy combinations in minutes and exports directly to proposals and plans that show my clients the value.”
In addition to tax planning software, Corvee offers growth and development programs that help firms transition from compliance to advisory services.
“We recently surveyed 155 of our clients and found that, on average, they saw an 88.82% increase in cash revenue from 2016 to 2020, which is something we’re really proud of, especially considering the 2018 AICPA National MAP Survey shows the median growth rate of all firms to be 4.2% annually,” states Andrew Argue, CPA, CEO of Corvee. “We’re looking forward to continuing to help accounting and tax firms experience unprecedented growth as we bring all of our products and services under one umbrella.”
For more information and to see the company’s new website, visit www.corvee.com.
Corvee empowers accounting and tax professionals with a suite of solutions designed to build, grow and optimize their firms. The company works with firms in the specialties of tax, accounting and financial advising. Corvee provides a bundle of solutions for each specialty including tax planning and client collaboration software, firm growth and development programs and the ability to become or partner with a financial advisor to offer tax-advantaged wealth management to clients. Built with the help of on-staff tax and accounting experts, the all-in-one suite is designed to help firms increase revenue, profitability and efficiency, while providing the highest value to their clients. For more information, please visit www.corvee.com. Connect with Corvee via its blog, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.
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If you have a tax firm, it’s vital to do tax planning for clients in addition to merely preparing tax returns. These are the five main categories which have the biggest impact on potential tax savings for your clients. They are:
Within each of these categories, there are components that you want to look at to see whether or not your prospect is taking advantage of. As you garner experience, you will learn which tax savings strategies offer the biggest savings. We will review some of the more obvious ones, but there are dozens, if not hundreds, of components to look at under each category.
Keep in mind that you have a limited amount of time on the call to calculate how much you can save this prospect. This is why during the strategy session, you want to initially focus on the core strategies. Once they become a tax planning client and you have all their information, you can go through and apply any other strategies that will save them even more money than your initial estimate. We’ll also cover how using tax planning software can help you with all this!
One example of a core strategy to maximize deductions is an administrative home office. Let’s take the example of a doctor who has a home office to work on the administrative tasks related to his practice such as bookkeeping, billing, reviewing patient files, etc. If you can establish his home office as an administrative office, then he is able to deduct the mileage between his home office and his medical office where he sees patients, thereby increasing his deductions. Keep in mind that at this point you do not need to know how to implement the strategy; you are simply going through to see what strategies may be available to this prospect and how much you could potentially save them in taxes.
Potential Strategy Session Questions:
“Do you have an office outside your house?”
“Do you do work at home?”
“Do you reimburse yourself for those expenses?”
You can also use tax planning software to help you quickly calculate possible deductions.
Once you have gone through and calculated how much to save the client by maximizing deductions, you want to figure out if they are organized under the best business structure. Approximately 75% of small businesses are organized as a Schedule C. Fortunately for us, it rarely makes sense for a business owner to remain a Schedule C. By moving them over to an S-Corporation, Partnership, LLC or even C-Corporation, you will often be able to significantly minimize their taxes.
Potential Strategy Session Questions:
“What kind of tax returns do you file?”
“How many entities do you have?”
“What entities do you have?” “How much income is in each of those entities?”
After you have gone through the calculation for the first two categories, you should move next to questions regarding the prospect’s retirement accounts and insurance deductions to see if there are any potential tax savings there. For example, while IRA accounts are popular, they only allow very limited contributions each year: only $5,500 unless the prospect is over 55 years old. Therefore, if you discover that a prospect is contributing to an IRA, you know that moving them over to an SEP or 401(k) would potentially result in a bigger deduction and more tax savings.
Additionally, you will want to ask what kind of insurance they have and make sure they are using health and dental insurance deductions to the full extent available. Life insurance does not fall under this category, because life insurance premiums are not tax deductible. However, other forms of insurance are deductible and can result in even more tax savings.
Potential Strategy Session Questions:
“Are you currently making retirement contributions?”
“How much do you contribute each year?”
“What kind of plan do you have?”
Depending on what niche you are in, you will employ different strategies to help your prospects save money on taxes. For example, the real estate niche often makes use of Sec. 1031 exchanges and cost segregations to help avoid capital gains and increase depreciation, respectively. Restaurants have the FICA tip credit, and tech companies have research and development credits. As you become more and more familiar with your niche, you will have a better idea of the niche strategies used to save your clients even more money in taxes.
Potential Strategy Session Questions (Real Estate-Specific):
“Do you own real estate?”
“How long have you owned your real estate?”
“How are the properties performing?”
“How much debt do you have on the properties?”
“How much did you pay for the property?”
“What do you think it is worth now?”
“What are your goals regarding real estate?”
Some of the more common advanced strategies are the Augusta Rule and captive insurance. The Augusta Rule is a loophole available to nearly all business owners. It allows you to host business events, for example quarterly board meetings, at your home, and exclude the income from the rental on your personal return, but take the rental deduction on your business return. Captive insurance is not as common and typically requires a business to have fairly high income, over $500,000 every year, in order to take advantage of this strategy. However, for companies that do qualify, this is a great advanced strategy to employ that could potentially result in significant tax savings.
Potential Strategy Session Questions:
“Tell me about your house?”
“Do you have the capacity to host business events at your home?”
Once you have gone through the script and structured your questions to ask about the core tax savings strategies, you will be able to estimate how much you can save a potential prospect while on the phone during a strategy session.
Let’s take the example of William: During a strategy session with a doctor, William determines that he can save the prospect $35,085 in taxes using the following method. Through basic questioning he determines the doctor is in the 37% tax bracket. William realizes he can maximize deductions using an administrative home office. By asking about utilities and housing payment, he decides to be conservative and estimate $500/mo of savings for a total of $6,000 which he inputs into the Tax Savings spreadsheet. He can also move the prospect from a Schedule C to an S-Corporation.
The business is currently netting $100,000 per year so William estimates he can put the prospect on a $50,000 salary and save payroll taxes on the remaining $50,000. Therefore, in the spreadsheet he inputs the $50,000 at a 15% payroll tax rate instead of the full income tax rate. William also determines he can increase retirement contributions to $20,000 per year up from $5,500 per year by converting the prospect to an SEP. He inputs the difference of $14,500 into the spreadsheet.
He also learns that the prospect has a medical device startup on the side that he and his co-founder are selling this year, which qualifies for Qualified Small Business Stock treatment. He determines that he can use the QSBS strategy to eliminate $100,000 of capital gain. William inputs $100,000 multiplied by the prospect’s capital gain rate of 20% into the spreadsheet. At the end, he arrives at the total amount of $35,085 estimated tax savings:
As you learn more strategies, you will learn to ask better questions and find more ways to save the prospect money. Occasionally, once a prospect decides to move forward on implementation, you may find that a client does not qualify for a strategy that you thought was viable during the strategy session. However, it is rare that you will not be able to find other strategies that will save them at least as much, if not more than your initial estimate.
Overall, using the five main approaches outlined above, in conjunction with Corvee Tax Planning software, can help you make the switch from just doing tax preparation to doing tax planning. This tax planning software helps you collect client information from questionnaires, analyze estimated tax savings, prepare proposals on the spot and give tax plans to clients within minutes.
In addition, Corvee Tax Planning includes more than just the five main approaches discussed above, but has hundreds of tax planning strategy combinations right out of the box. It even uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to identify within your client’s documents the most important information to quickly formulate a tax savings calculation. If you want to save time with offering tax planning as an advisory service for the growth and development of your firm, then hit the button below for your free demo of Corvee, a software that can help optimize tax savings for your clients and even do the tax plan for you.
If you sat across from a business owner for 45 minutes and could ask them anything you wanted, could you estimate how much they could have saved in taxes (roughly) in the prior year? This should be the goal of every tax and accounting professional: to know and have a tax planning system that can potentially save your clients tens of thousands of dollars every year. Once you have this knowledge, you can offer tax planning advisory services to both new and existing clients and get paid for it. Selling tax planning is the most important advisory service you can add this year!
Tax Planning is the process of looking at a person’s life, business, and regulatory requirements to LEGALLY reduce taxes. This takes place before year end as opposed to tax preparation that takes place after year end.
Tax prep is the simple process of preparing tax returns for submission to the IRS. This is what the majority of accountants do—and this is a mistake, because you’re not only costing the client money in excess taxes, you’re costing yourself money in unrealized fees.
Many accountants know how to do one or the other, but not both. It’s vital to understand both the strategies that can save your clients money but also how to properly charge them for this service.
The transition from tax preparer to selling tax planning can go quicker than you think. Here is a story that may sound familiar to many accountants:
Tax Preparer – James Rainwater:
James struggled doing endless, low-priced 1040s and having no idea how to grow his accounting firm…but he was able to transition from tax prep to selling tax planning!
New Tax Planner – James Rainwater
So, what did James learn that revolutionized his accounting firm?
Since most accountants are busy preparing returns, they aren’t able to charge enough to even begin spending time looking for savings. To make matters worse, automation is driving down the value of basic tax prep and forcing the shift to tax planning and value added services. The key is that it’s WAY harder to get clients for tax preparation (compliance) rather than tax planning (advisory).
Because tax prep work is a commodity. Tax planning is a high-level service that brings additional value that is hard to find.
Think of tax planning like this:
Tax Preparation = Cost
Tax Planning = Investment with ROI
That’s WHY accountants can charge 5-7x more even though it takes less time to deliver! But the key point is that your clients have to understand the ROI they’re getting. So, when you’re tax planning, you’ll have to say things like: “I would estimate you overpaid $16,251 last year and are on track to overpay $18,382 this year. By next year you’ll be overpaying $22,942.”
Once you are able to lay out the numbers to a client, it can be quite shocking—but then they will be begging for your tax planning services.
And the good news is that you don’t need a CPA to figure these things out. In fact, all you need to do is learn the basic 20% savings strategies that apply in 80% of cases!
The key to pricing tax planning is that the client gets a better deal than you do, which means they make more than you do. If you can save a business owner $2,700 in taxes but you charge them $3,000…that doesn’t work. However, if you save them $10,000…suddenly they would be much more eager to pay your $3,000.
When many tax and accounting professionals first offer tax planning, they feel they do not have enough information about tax planning to be able to move forward with offering this service to their clients. They are intimidated by the U.S. tax code, which is tens or now even hundreds of thousands of pages long, and that is just the U.S.
They are discouraged by the idea of reading 70,000+ pages and still not having the knowledge they need in order to help clients save on tax. Ultimately, when accountants realize that they may never be able to know everything about all the tax laws and loopholes that could apply to every single client, they become paralyzed with fear that they are not prepared, so they never begin to offer tax planning as a service. This is a mistake.
If your goal is to get the client to the most optimal tax situation where they are getting as much savings as possible under the tax code, that is simply not possible. However, if you change your perspective to getting the client to a better state than where they were before they started working with you, that is completely achievable.
Here is a graphic to remember that illustrates this. Your goal right now is simply to know more than your clients:
Going from tax prep to tax planning is about having enough knowledge to help a business owner SAVE money in taxes.
If you can reach a higher level of awareness about where you are now and how you and the client fit into the graphic above, you will have more confidence to do tax planning for your clients.
Once you learn the basic strategies, you need to get appointments with your existing clients. Don’t just send out a mass newsletter. First, look at your client list and sort the list from biggest client to smallest—and start reaching out in that order. How? Text, email, Facebook message, a phone call…depending on how you communicate with your clients, you can simply ask, “Hey John, thought of you today. Are you free to talk tomorrow?”
Now, if you’ve got literally thousands and thousands of clients, we still suggest doing this first because you need to directly reach out to people to see if this is even something they’d be interested in. You can also shoot a little video and put it on a landing page, then directly message your clients to watch that video. Just remember you need to reach out and make it personable so that each client feels you are speaking to them and not a generic mass audience.
During the sales call, remember this rule of thumb:
The client IS NOT buying specific strategies.
Instead, the small business owner on the other end of the call is buying the process and the outcome. Here’s an example:
Let’s use the Late S election as the specific tax savings strategy. Most of the time, this strategy is added to quite a few small business owners. We call this a “Workhorse Strategy”. But if you just end the sales call saying, “I’m going to give you a piece of paper explaining the Late S Election Strategy”, the client won’t want to move forward—especially with a hefty estimated price tag of $4,500.
Instead, you must explain the process and the outcome, not the specific strategy.
What they are actually buying is a comprehensive review of:
1. Possible deductions
2. Legal entity structure
5. Potential loopholes
6. Advanced strategies
10. Niche specific strategies
The client is also buying a review of:
1. Previous year returns
2. Current year returns
3. And a plan for the next year’s returns
In addition, included in the tax plan will be an estimated savings amount calculated on the same sales consultation. Bundle your offer into a packaged fee of anywhere between $2,500-$9,800 (depending on the client’s specific situation and estimated savings) and now you have a comprehensive tax plan to offer your clients!
Let’s face it, no one likes to pay bills. Your clients don’t enjoy getting them and you don’t enjoy having to send them out. That said, it is a necessity because your firm must get paid, right? This blog will cover the latest advancements in accounting firm billing technology and how you can begin implementing a better system for your clients to pay on time and in full.
A common issue among accountants is either getting paid by clients late, or worse, not in full. This stems from a variety of reasons. Some accounting firms never charge upfront for services, and naturally some businesses take advantage of that, either intentionally because they don’t want to pay the expense or unintentionally because they actually can’t pay the invoice when it comes due.
Charging clients upfront before services are rendered is one way to help solve this problem. We know of too many accountants who have way too much AR—and having too much in AR is not a good thing. It means you’re spending time and energy chasing invoices that you’ve already worked for.
A second issue with invoicing is simply the cumbersome process involved. Oftentimes accountants are using outdated or inefficient billing systems that take longer than necessary to create and send invoices. Then there’s the issue of actually receiving payments. Are you getting physical checks in the mail and having to take trips down to your local bank? Are you accepting credit cards where you lose a percentage of each sale due to credit card fees? You don’t actually have to do those things.
We know that not every person who comes through your sales funnel and converts into a paying client will pay upfront and in full. Even those who do want to pay in full at the beginning are not always going to be able to do so due to cash flow. Clients may require multiple forms of payment, their card may get declined, or they need a payment schedule that further complicates things.
Some clients may require a specialized payment plan, need an invoice sent over the phone and a variety of other issues. Thus, in many of these situations, you need billing support. Oftentimes accounting firms will hire a billing representative because they don’t have the time to deal with all these issues themselves.
Finding a person to help is part of the solution, but what about simply finding the right billing software for accountants so that payments become as seamless as possible?
Corvee Payments is one of the pieces of the Corvee software platform, and it remotely accepts credit and debit card payments, including ACH payments, directly in the client portal. This allows you to store all of your client’s payment information in one spot so you have control over when to charge them.
With our accounting payments software, invoices are seamlessly created for all services and sent to the client via the portal for payment, making life easier for you and your staff. Plus, thousands of integrations are available to work with other applications you’re already using.
So, what does this all mean? Practically speaking, it means never waiting for an invoice again because Corvee Payments give you control over the processing of all credit card and ACH payments. The best part is, you’ll be able to pass on processing fees to clients, so those pesky credit card fees don’t eat into your net profit.
Being accountants ourselves, we know how important it is to collect payment information while you’re on the phone with clients, set up recurring payments, automatically update credit card information when it expires and more. That’s why we created this software with the goal of you maintaining control over how clients pay your firm.
You should have a billing and payments platform that allows you to be paid remotely, create invoices automatically, and add your custom branding so that you can invoice how you want, when you want. Corvee does all this plus supplies you with templated agreements, engagement letters, questionnaires and file requests for each type of engagement your firm sells.
In fact, Corvee Client Collaboration allows your firm to manage and track all your requests to and from your clients in one central location, which gives you the ability to know exactly what’s on your plate, and exactly what the client still owes you.
So, if you’re tired of…
Then schedule a free demo today with Corvee below. Your admins will save time on repetitive billing processes; your staff can stop working on clients who have payments outstanding; you can check your firm’s performance with easy-to-understand reports and dashboards; and your clients can have peace of mind using a secure payment platform within an attractive client portal. Take control of your accounting firm’s payments and stop chasing invoices.
Michelle Hyde, CPA, is the Managing Director of Hyde & Associates in Chester, New Jersey. She is a Certified Tax Coach™ that helps individuals and businesses in designing and implementing tax, estate and financial planning engagements. She has over 20 years experience in providing tax reduction strategies for businesses. Here is her story of how she solved some of the biggest issues her firm has faced, including how to find new tax clients beyond just getting referrals.
“My challenge was always about getting new leads and appointments. All my clients were organic referrals. It seemed the gains were always being offset by the losses, and I wasn’t able to truly gain more clients overall. The 7 Figure Firms system helped with generating cold leads.”
Specifically, Ms. Hyde implemented 7 Figure Firms’ LinkedIn marketing process for cold leads. This had included getting a robust, professional LinkedIn profile, properly sending LinkedIn connection requests to the right people, and a follow-up system that eventually leads to a strategy session with the potential client. The LinkedIn process, which is taught in detail inside the 7 Figure Firms coaching program, has helped Ms. Hyde have an increase in both leads for tax services and appointments.
“It’s been so valuable having a marketing process that continually works for getting tax clients. Plus, after I get the appointments I now have the right script to walk these leads through what I can offer them…and I even have a script for overcoming objections now too.”
Naturally, she has gained more leads, more appointments, a better close rate, and also has seen an increase in higher-priced advisory work compared to lower-tiered compliance work.
“I used to be at about 70% compliance work, now I’m down to about 60%. I’ve learned that growth is not dependent on doing billable work, but on doing sales.”
Besides the revenue benefits, one of her favorite things about 7 Figure Firms has also been the support of the community Facebook group. “I can ask any question any day of the week. The resources provided are tremendous, and it’s great hearing from other tax and accounting professionals going through this program as well.”
Going back in time,, there had come a point where Ms. Hyde wasn’t growing her firm because her churn rate was about the same as her new clients acquisition rate. Eventually, she became revenue stagnant, unable to reach beyond what her typical annual gross sales levels had become. She knew she had to make the jump from just “working in the factory” to “managing the factory”—to find new procedures and ways of doing things that would bring in more tax clients and revenue.
Ms. Hyde noted, “Before 7 Figure Firms, I was stuck in service delivery mode. Now I’m able to step back some and outsource more of the lower end returns while I concentrate on fishing for new, higher end clients.”
In addition, the coaching inside 7 Figure Firms has helped her better price her tax services and gives her the confidence to charge more because of the value she provides. “Don’t get me wrong, I was already providing incredible value to clients before 7 Figure Firms, but I’ve now been able to communicate that value with the client much better than before,” she explained.
Ms. Hyde used to be afraid to spend money on her business because she was afraid of not getting ROI on it. She now knows how important continuous marketing is even if there is no clear, immediate ROI.
“Processes and procedures are great inside 7 Figure Firms, but the mindset teachings have been a surprising help for me.” These mindset ideas inside 7 Figure Firms have been a catalyst for evolution in this tax firm.
Now in marketing mode, Ms. Hyde has broken gross sales records each of the past three years. This year, she’s on pace for a 33% increase from last year.
“Even though 2020 has been a wonky year with all the world events going on, our sales are still projected to climb higher than 2019.”
As many accounting firm owners can relate to, Ms. Hyde also struggled with giving up control when it came to work being done inside the firm. “I wanted to control the service delivery because I thought if I didn’t do it, then the quality of work wouldn’t be done as good.” While possibly true to some extent, Ms. Hyde knew that to grow her firm she’d have to get over her fear of delegation.
As the work kept coming in, growth forced her into hiring. “There are only so many hours in the day and I knew I couldn’t have a million-dollar firm with just me and an admin.” She now has two admins, two full-time in-house accountants, and two accountants overseas. She also was able to acquire a practice last year, so her tax firm is much larger today than what it once was.
The 7 Figure Firms program helped Ms. Hyde to ease the control mindset that traditionally limited her growth opportunities, but as we’ll show below, this spilled over into other areas besides just hiring people.
Another item Ms. Hyde found herself stuck on was the exactness of the numbers she was presenting while on a sales call for tax planning. She learned through 7 Figure Firms that preciseness isn’t always necessary in the sales process.
“Andrew and team helped me understand that I don’t need to give a client an exact number on a sales call with how much money I can save them in taxes. I just need a range, for example $10,000 to $12,000. Before 7 Figure Firms, I would be afraid to quote any number without first sitting down and actually doing the entire tax plan before I even sold it!”
This caused Ms. Hyde to do more work and slow down the sales process, including missing sales entirely. 7 Figure Firms has helped her with the mindset of letting some control go, even in the sales process, in order to close more deals. “I’ve learned preciseness has its place, but it doesn’t always have to be on a sales call. I’ve been able to let go of that.”
So, what’s her final piece of advice to firm owners?
“Instead of selling your practice, sign up for the 7 Figure Firms program!”
To learn more about the 7 Figure Firms program, request more information below.
Kristen Engeron moved from the corporate world to creating her own business providing CFO-related services, and the transition has been smoother than expected thanks to the 7 Figure Firms coaching program, which we’ll detail below. Today, Kristen is helping businesses cut taxes and works to strengthen their profits. Here is her story on how she transitioned from a busy working mom with a high-paying corporate job, to creating a lifestyle business that will pay her even more while allowing extra time with her family.
Kristen Engeron spent many years early in her career gaining experience in accounting and finance. She worked with privately owned businesses on budgeting, tax and corporate structures, and operations management.
“When I was employed, I was doing tax planning, and I got a territory in South Louisiana down to the Gulf Coast. I worked with CPAs, accountants, tax attorneys and financial advisors. I did buy and sell agreements, estate planning and income tax planning among other things. Over a period of time, I realized I had the knowledge and ability to serve clients on my own. The problem was that while I knew what to do from a technical standpoint, I wasn’t sure how to put it all together into a business and get clients.”
Work-life balance for accountants is the goal for many in her industry, so Kristen started dabbling with her new accounting firm idea, but wasn’t 100% committed to it. A conversation with Andrew Argue one day helped her realize she needed to make a decision. If she would actually start a new firm, she had to be committed to go all-in and pursue it. She needed to invest into the 7 Figure Firms coaching program.
“The reason I was hesitating was that I had no idea how to market the CFO work I knew I was capable of doing. I needed help to begin putting all the puzzle pieces together, and the 7 Figure Firms coaching program has helped me begin to actually build processes to price, package and get sales.”
Kristen began acquiring clients by first reaching out to friends and family. She generated $54,000 in tax planning revenue between July and December 2019 simply by calling her powerbase. Without any marketing, she got a handful of clients. Her first sale was a $7,500 tax plan that started with a text message to an old friend that has since turned into a $5,500 monthly CFO client.
Kristen nearly doubled her 2019 revenue during the first three months of 2020. She accomplished this feat without any internet marketing to that point, but rather calling on businesses she knew of. Being naturally outgoing and good at sales, she still feared getting on the phone with a prospect and pitching her CFO services. “What if they think I’m ripping them off?” was the unwarranted worry behind the fear.
7 Figure Firms coaching has helped Kristen with the mindset of properly valuing her services and being comfortable charging appropriate fees for them.
“I would never have known to ask for $7500 for a tax plan if it weren’t for 7 Figure Firms. Beforehand, I had no idea how to price, so I had no confidence in my offers.”
One of the positive things about how Kristen has started her business is that she went straight for advisory services—she never did low-priced compliance work. This has given her high margins from the start. With an early investment into 7 Figure Firms, she’s getting timely advice on how to continue to build her business as she wants to, which is accelerating her growth.
“By signing up for 7 Figure Firms, I didn’t have to recreate the wheel—I’m paying for the wheel. Why should I try and figure out a system when one is already successful? By getting all the email, newsletter, Facebook, and LinkedIn templates, and sales decks, it’s like I hired someone to come in and set up a marketing and sales system. Instead of spending 60 hours myself trying to figure it all out, or pay an employee $3,500 a month, 7 Figure Firms gives me turn-key features that I can implement inside my business right away. What’s the ROI on that? I’m more efficient because I’m working with clients instead of trying to figure out firm systems.”
Kristen is excited about the future of her new CFO business. “I helped 39 people with PPP advising this year. I really enjoy helping people. I’m also achieving my goal of having a work-life balance which eluded me during many of my corporate working years. It’s so important to get fulfillment out of having a career without giving up being a mom.”
While she self-admits she doesn’t always have the answer for a client, she now knows where to get it. “7 Figure Firms coaching gives me answers at my fingertips. They are always on top of the latest news and legislation, and if I have a complex question, their team of experts can help me figure it out.”
Kristen has a goal of reaching $500,000 in revenue for 2020.
Want to find work-life balance as an accountant? Learn more about building the accounting firm that suits your life and request more information below.
Having a great accounting client onboarding experience is key for setting the right tone for your entire relationship moving forward with a new client. The onboarding process you develop should help both you and the client determine what steps need to be taken and what information is needed for the engagement to commence. A great onboarding process also gives you consistency that you can follow so that you’re more efficient while creating a positive first impression of working with you.
Whenever you onboard a new client, you have to send them a certain number of files to sign and fill out.
The old fashioned way was to send them a large packet, either by mail or in-person. Once the internet came along, many accountants shifted to a chaotic system of emailing back and forth with documents digitally signed and filled out.
The problem with both the physical paper method and the email method are that they are not secure, organized or efficient. What is needed is ONE place to send all your documents, quickly, easily and securely. That’s why Corvee Client Collaboration was created—a software platform for accountants to better onboard new clients. Having one client portal for the onboarding process makes it simple for the client and for you.
Inside our client collaboration software, clients can receive requests from accountants for all that’s required of them for an engagement:
Being able to send all your file requests in one secure place has given accountants an increase in efficiency during the onboarding process because it saves both time and energy.
Once your file requests have been sent to your client, it can be complicated to keep track of receiving everything back. No one wants to manually track what’s still needed from each client, right? That is ridiculous, though some accountants try to work that way.
The biggest problem with any manual system is the constant starting and stopping. For example, you get one document from a client but they didn’t send the other document you needed. Having 50% of what you needed leaves you not much better off, and it requires more work and effort contacting the client again to reinforce the need for all the documents. It can be inefficient to say the least, because trying to keep track of exactly what’s been received and what’s still outstanding can feel like catching flies.
What accountants need is a software that helps them manage and monitor all the various file requests for each engagement. That’s why Corvee Client Collaboration was built. Imagine never having to wonder whether a request is waiting on the client or your team’s response.
By replacing client portals and file sharing systems, our client collaboration software tracks all requests from clients in one central location. Not only can you quickly see what each client still needs to give to you, but you get a dashboard with insights into each client. This further helps you monitor the status of the file requests.
Our client collaboration platform gives you an assortment of tools to manage and monitor your requests to make onboarding smooth. One of these features is client tagging and segmentation, which allows quick and easy searchability benefits. This means no more messy folders, disorganized files on your computer or clicking through multiple folders just to find two or more documents for the same client.
In addition, 2-way messaging features and email reminders alert your clients about outstanding requests. This way you can feel confident your clients know exactly what’s needed from them and they’ll know when you’ve approved the files they do send. By setting email and text reminders, it further reduces the back and forth communication by automating the process.
To summarize, during a typical accounting client onboarding, you have many documents to keep track of, such as:
You may have dozens of more requests. The point being, it can be a lot to manage and track, and now that accounting firm software is available to make this whole process easier, many accountants are taking advantage of it to smooth up their accounting onboarding process.
The last thing busy accountants need is a slow, inefficient onboarding process. This not only drains time and energy, it actually prevents your firm from taking on more clients. Once you speed up the onboarding process, you can increase the number of clients who can be onboarded in any given week, which enlarges your revenue capacity.
So, if you…
Then you need a better accounting client onboarding process.
Is your tax firm digitized…and what does being digitized even mean? Let’s define it first and then get into the details of how to do it. A digitized tax firm is where you work with digital documents as opposed to physical documents. It is the 21st century after all, so you probably shouldn’t be dealing with huge files of paper and staples, right? Going digital also allows you to work remotely and with clients from all over the world, as opposed to being limited to your physical region.
While there are security risks with confidential and highly crucial physical documents from hazards such as theft or fire, going digital is not risk free either. As more and more accountants started using email during the 1990s, transferring tax documents digitally became much more common, but the problem is that many accountants to this very day still keep a habit of sending and receiving documents through email—which is far from safe.
The problem is, many accountants and clients are both unaware of how easy data can be breached using email. While being paperless helps to an extent that the data can’t leave the office in written or printed format, digital data can still be stolen. The server may not be secure, there may not be an updated firewall or antivirus software installed and someone could even simply take a USB and take the digital file from your computer—so just having sensitive data on a computer is not necessarily “safe.”
Highly sensitive information like social security numbers, how much money your clients earn, where they bank etc. can all fall into the wrong hands whether you send and receive their documents physically or electronically. So, what’s the solution?
The goal of digitizing your accounting firm should make documents more secure but also offer you and your clients more convenience. We’ll get to the security part later, but first let’s talk about the convenience.
Many firms have already gone through the process of digitizing files. They at one time had large file cabinets with mounds of paperwork, and someone went through and scanned them. Others just left the old paper trails and began doing digital files, and with time, the old papers became obsolete and were shredded. But whenever and however a firm becomes digitized, the first goal is convenience.
Very few have the patience to go look for papers in a file cabinet, they want to be able to search on their computer for it. That said, files are still files, even on a computer. You have to go into a file somewhere on the computer, grab the document you’re looking for, and then exit. Oftentimes you need more than one file at a time and they are in different folders. This takes time, and even accountants with great filing systems with intelligently placed names, dates and services can still take a few moments to search and find multiple documents.
For example, you might have both the tax filing year and the words “tax” and “W2” in your computer folder and in the names of your files. An example might be: 2019-TAX_W2_Jon-Doe.
But as mentioned earlier, there is nothing necessarily secure about this digital file, and it’s not super fast to locate even though it’s searchable. There are better solutions to digitize!
As mentioned earlier, many accountants feel digitized documents are safer than physical documents, and while that could be the case, that doesn’t mean digital files are secure. This is why accounting practice management software was created to allow your clients to not only easily interact with you as their accountant or tax advisor, but to do so securely.
Sad but true fact: Most tax and accounting firms rely on too many applications to request, track and sign documents with their clients. For them, it’s an endless battle of too many scattered emails and disorganized back-and-forth with sensitive information being put at risk.
This is why there has been a need for encrypted software applications, to handle digital information in an efficient, yet safe way.
Think of it like this: All of your personal information is inside a room with a locked door and the only way to gain access is to have the key to this door. With most software applications, the software provider retains access to the key. The challenge with this method of encryption is that anyone with the key can access the room.
This above security protocol is called security by policy, where you rely on the software provider’s ability to keep your key secure. However, even the largest corporations, banks, and government entities have suffered occasional breaches that have exposed the data of millions of people.
With accounting practice management software such as Corvee Client Collaboration, the user is in control of the key using asymmetric encryption. With this method, the software platform has no access to your key. Only you, the user, and those you share the key with will have access to your information. This is security by design.
Security by design also denies a third party the ability to eavesdrop or otherwise gain access to the digital data between you and your client. In addition, our accounting practice management software exceeds the recommendations set by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which are designed to protect highly secured government information.
Corvee Client Collaboration keeps the digital data between you and your accounting and tax clients secure and easy to find. It’s the single best way to digitize your tax firm.
Picking a specific niche that your accounting firm specializes in has never been more important. While there are tons of firms that provide general accounting services, the tax and accounting firms growing at the fastest rate are the ones that build and brand themselves to serve a speciality accounting niche.
Picking a niche to specialize in when owning your own accounting firm is absolutely critical. Often, accounting is seen as simply a “general” profession. Many firms just assume every business needs tax and accounting services, so they market to everyone. The problem is that each business has completely different ways of doing things—the terminology, ideas, and clientele are all niche. This is why it’s more lucrative to specialize and speak “their” language. You’ll be more valuable to them compared to a general accounting practice.
Competitive Advantage—You’ll be able to relate to specific businesses easier and speak their language. This will make you more attractive even with charging higher fees than the generalist firms.
Higher ROI Marketing—With a specific message, you’ll be able to micro-target your audience with precision. Many clients will actually find you because they are searching for an industry specific accountant, someone that “gets them” and their problems.
Better Service—As you begin to specialize in a certain niche, you will understand how to innovate and serve your clients’ specific needs. Your accounting firm eventually becomes the expert in this niche with advanced solutions tailored to these businesses, which results in more satisfied clients creating a positive feedback loop of higher fees and higher retention rates.
There are two main ways you can innovate with a niche in the world of accounting:
#1 Industry Niche
#2 Transformation Niche
Let’s define each.
An industry niche is specific to an industry such as “We’re an accounting firm that specializes in helping restaurants.” It’s a specific type of business you work well with. Maybe it’s dentists, restaurants, e-commerce businesses…the list is endless.
A transformation niche is a specific area inside the world of accounting that you are a rock-star in. “We help businesses with tax planning.” This is a specific area you can help most in. It could be financial coaching, wealth management, exit planning, forecasting…whatever your biggest strength is.
If you really want to narrow it down, you can pick both an industry and a transformation niche to focus on. Keep in mind this doesn’t mean that you can’t take on clients outside this industry or provide services outside your transformation speciality—we are just talking about your main marketing focus right now.
If you will focus on a specific industry, the difficult part for any accounting firm is to actually choose which niche to focus on. You can’t train to be an expert advisor for every single business type because there’s simply too much to learn. A restaurant has different issues than a construction company, and there’s not enough time in your day to go deep into the specific nuances of both, let alone the other hundreds of industry niches out there.
The key question to ask yourself as you consider if you want to begin creating an industry accounting niche is, “Who do I already work most with and what’s my experience?”
Are 75% of your clients technology companies? Do you have an abundant list of doctors you’re servicing? Look for what general fields your current clients are in and make a list. What percentages fall into where? You may find you already serve a niche, now you just need to go deeper with it and consciously market to this area. Also, what’s your past experience? Before your accounting career, were you a bartender? If you have past experience within an industry, you’ll naturally be able to relate better to these people. Make a list of industries that you feel comfortable with and areas that you have some prior expertise. Maybe your spouse or staff has insight into a particular industry—use that too!
While we recommend your firm has a wide array of services to sell and upsell clients, if you’re a general firm, you could benefit from choosing a specific transformation niche to concentrate on. Perhaps you already feel you’re best at tax planning, or you love doing financial coaching, but hate tax preparation. Maybe you already do a bunch of CFO services, or you expertise in exit planning.
The key question to ask yourself is, “What am I good at or what do I want to be good at?”
Get great at a specific service and you can sell it to a wide variety of industries. But when you combine both an industry specific niche with a transformation niche, you can hyper target!
But the most important thing to consider when choosing either type of niche is…”Is this profitable?”
2020 has been a tough year economically because of the pandemic. With many businesses cutting costs, accountants are feeling the pressure with client cancellations. We did a survey of more than 100 accountants on how they felt about their niche in 2020. This was the result:
This shows that 75% of the accounting firms we surveyed either have no niche, or the niche they do have is in trouble.
The problem many are facing is that it’s not clear even by industry what niches are profitable. For example, it’s easy to say that the travel industry is in trouble and that accountants should now avoid that niche, but always remember that there are niches within niches.
Full Service Restaurant
As a general rule in 2020, businesses that focus on the physical world and contact (events, in-person services, retail) have been severely impacted while businesses that focus on digital (e-commerce, delivery) are experiencing skyrocketing growth. So, if you’re looking to pick a new accounting niche in 2020, be sure to pick an industry that is doing well, or pick a thriving business inside an industry that is overall suffering.
Based on the current economy and the changes in consumer and economic behavior, the need for their services has been partially or largely diminished (i.e. escape room, vacation rentals, gyms, craft brewery)
These companies were impacted by the crisis, however, because these company’s offerings are needed, they will recover maybe not 100%, but they will likely have a viable business going forward (doctors, dentists, chiropractors, etc)
These businesses largely continued to operate under the trend they had before the crisis. They were either not ordered to shut down and maintained business, or had a digital business (construction, online consultant, etc)
These businesses not only survived, they thrived through the crisis and saw increases in demand, revenue, customers, and oftentimes profitability. This happened to some as a result of the business they already had (delivery, cybersecurity, e-commerce, etc) or they pivoted to serve growing niches (mask making, hand sanitizer, etc)
Focus on companies that are more digitally oriented.
Understand which category your clients falls into:
Perform a discovery call to understand their situation
Decide what services to offer depending on their situation
The good news in all this is that we found certain accounting firms have thrived by focusing on certain transformation niches. The key is to parse through the haves and the have nots to find the profitable companies in this economy. Why is this? Because the most important divide in the next few years will be Advisory vs. Compliance. Advisory services help your clients make money, compliance services are basically just costs.
This is why advisory services are a HOT transformational accounting niche in 2020. For example, we found that when the pandemic shut down the economy, distressed businesses who were impacted or unneeded were looking for legislative and lending consulting services for the PPP, EIDL, CARES act, and forecasting/budgeting to manage cash flow. Meanwhile, growing niches that have been unaffected or benefitted from the pandemic are needing higher-level advisory services like tax planning and CFO.
Keep in mind, there is still opportunity in 2020 for accounting firms to serve distressed offerings.
Remember, accounting generalists that work with anyone have a harder time commanding higher fees because it’s more difficult to sell when what you’re selling is basically a commodity. Accounting firms that sell to niches can specialize and therefore charge for that expertise.
Generalist Accountant (Me Focused)—We are the largest accounting firm in northwest Oregon. We’ve served clients since 1991. We have 3 offices and we’d love to discuss how we can serve you!
Niche Accountant (Client Focused)—ChiroPro isn’t just a group of accountants, we’re financial experts for chiropractors. We can help you with all your tax and accounting functions to make the most profit possible. While most accounting firms just help with your tax prep, that’s just where we start. We help you focus on chiropractic forecasting and budget management, chiropractic wealth management, chiropractic practice acquisitions, consulting, tax planning, payroll, and insurance. In short, we craft everything we do specifically for chiropractors.
Do you see the difference?
Pick a niche and begin to market and innovate for that specific industry or person. Learn about the services they need and how you can give them the most value. Learn how to set up their specific P&L, how to incentivize their staff, and how to make their processes better. Discover new services specifically for them…and you will create value that never existed before.
When you know your niche like this, general accountants won’t be able to even compete with you!
If you’re ready to explore deeper which industry niches you can potentially target, and how to become a member of 7 Figure Firms, click on the button below.
Anthony Bruce has owned his own accounting firm for over 20 years in New Jersey.
He focused mainly on tax services with low margin, oftentimes seasonal clientele. With stagnant revenue and little excitement about what he was doing, Mr. Bruce began to think about retirement.
Everything began to change in 2018 when he found the coaching and marketing materials inside 7 Figure Firms. With a renewed vigour and a clear approach to land new clients, Mr. Bruce began accelerating sales for the first time in 15 years. Here is how his accounting firm saw growth over the past 18 months.
I worked as an employee for a company as their CFO before going out on my own and starting an accounting firm in 1999. At the time, I was making over $150,000 annually, but as many who venture out to start their own business know, it takes time to build your own accounting firm and replace that comfortable salary. For me, it was about 4 years to get my income as a business owner back to what it was prior to my departure as a salaried CFO. After this, I got comfortable and hit a ceiling for 15 straight years, doing an average of $300,000 to $350,000 annually in gross sales.
It was consistent but boring, and in recent years I began to think more about an exit plan for the accounting firm, but wasn’t sure how or when to do it. All I knew was that I was getting tired of the CPA business, but this began to change when I got involved in 7 Figure Firms. I suddenly had new goals, new products to introduce, and new ways of doing things. It was like I was creating a new business all over again. That same excitement that I had in 1999 returned for the first time in 20 years—thoughts of growth and possibilities began filling my mind and retirement is now something I consider another 10 years down the road because I no longer want to sell my firm!
With having no accounting firm growth in over 15 years, one of the biggest benefits of 7 Figure Firms has been their clear, easy-to-use sales decks that give me exactly what I was missing: a consistent way to bring on new clients and sell them higher level services. I had always been more tax focused, but this program has allowed me to switch gears and begin selling more CFO services, which I enjoy much more. With the help of the sales decks and pricing structures introduced by 7 Figure Firms, instead of doing seven-hundred 1040s at $375 each, I can now realistically do sixty clients with higher level CFO and tax planning services at $30,000 each. My goal is now $1,800,000 gross sales and to take home $900,000.
For me, this translates into more revenue and less headache. I also feel it gives me the opportunity to do what I do best, which is CFO work. I’m on track to double my sales year over year and have done extremely well, but what excites me most are the future possibilities now that I have the ability to raise my prices and pick my clients. Even during difficult times like when the pandemic closed down so many businesses, my revenue increased because I simply used the 7 Figure Firms consulting packages that included legislative and loan consulting for the PPP. I got about 30 new clients that will hopefully turn into ongoing monthly clients because of the timely pandemic-related advisory services that these sales decks gave me.
Looking towards the future, I want to continue focusing on CFO work while I have my team do the tax services. This never would have been possible without the one-on-one coaching I received inside 7 Figure Firms. The guidance from people like Andrew and Amanda Argue were able to help me make that mental shift to go from a “technician” to an “entrepreneur”.
I’ve had CFO skills these past 20 years that could have been put to use, but I never knew how to sell them or communicate the value of what I had to offer. Now I have a sales script that works, plus a support team that I can always get help from…and I’m having fun again. Even my wife sees my renewed energy!
In addition to the sales decks that have done wonders for helping me close clients, the one-on-one coaching and training I have received inside the program has helped me provide better financial analysis and advice to assure that my clients maximize their profits, cash flow, and overall performance.
Funny story, the credit card company has contacted me several times recently with fraud alerts because they see much higher receipts coming in compared to what used to. I just tell them, “We changed our business model and are making much more money now.”
“I’m more engaged and interested in my business than I was 18 months ago—and that’s because I finally know how to sell what I’m experienced and qualified to do. My employees are making more, I’m able to let go of smaller and more difficult clients, and I’m finally able to work on my business instead of just in my business!”
I’m grateful for the 7 Figure Firms coaching program and all the new materials they are continuously putting out to help me stay relevant these past 18 months and even grow during difficult economic times. Click below to learn more about the 7 Figure Firms coaching program.
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