And how to get out of it.
You’re busy so let’s make this quick – tax return hell is not inevitable. But to get out of it you have to know why you’re there in the first place.
You rely on tax returns to make a profit
Your clients don’t pay you enough for your other services so you have to rely on tax returns for a big chunk of your turnover. And because tax returns are your bread and butter, you feel you can’t turn anyone away, even the ones you get at the very last minute.
You let your clients control you
In September you ask for your client’s information so you can get their tax return done – they don’t reply. In October you try again – they say they’ll send it soon. In November you tell them you need it by the end of the month – they send you partial information. In December you ask them to send it immediately – but they’re closed for Christmas. In January they send you everything you need – as do 20 other clients who’ve done exactly the same thing.
Your clients are controlling you.
You don’t believe there’s an alternative
All accountants do this, don’t they? The entire profession goes through hell in January, doesn’t it? It’s just what we do, isn’t it?
For some accountants January is just another month, not much busier than any other time of year. They submitted most tax returns months ago and there are only a few odds and ends to deal with. Instead of slaving round the clock, these accountants are planning ahead, working on new strategies and projects and thinking how they’ll deliver incredible support to their clients for the rest of the year.
So what’s the answer to tax return hell?
- Ask yourself why your clients aren’t buying your higher paid services. Have you even told them about the additional services you offer? Do you really listen to what they want to achieve and look for opportunities where you could help them? Have you demonstrated the extra value you can bring to their business? If not, it’s no wonder they only want your compliance services.
- Set expectations throughout the year. Emphasise that the deadline for HMRC may be 31st January but yours is 31st September (or whenever you want it to be). Set up a system where the fee goes up the later they send in their information. Explain that if you get their information in late, you may not have time to fully look into it so they might end up paying more tax than they needed to. Even tell them that you don’t do tax returns in January, so if you don’t get the information when you ask for it, it won’t get done on time. Don’t just say all of this once – keep telling them. And of course, actually keep to your word and do what you’ve told them you’ll do.
- You need to change this mindset right now! To be honest, you probably know all of this already. But knowing it and doing something about it are very different things. Accepting that January will always be a nightmare means you haven’t even tried to change. Yes, it takes effort, but it isn’t it worth it?
Get even more answers
For more strategies that help you earn higher fees and feel in control of your practice every month of the year, not just in January, come to the AVN Masterclass.
We’ll show you a 7 step roadmap that’s been proven to work by thousands of other accountants. It gives you a clear, logical route for building the kind of practice you really want – and we’ll show you some shortcuts that make it faster and easier to implement.
Why not take 5 minutes to have a look at the Masterclass website and see how it could help you? Here’s the link www.avn.co.uk/masterclass.
Next January could be an absolute breeze.