If you worry that your tax preparer salary won’t keep you financially afloat all year, you’re not alone. Many tax preparers get side jobs, do taxes for local businesses or accounting firms, and pick up other off season jobs to make ends meet. Understand how to position your company for success while business is slower with this small business tax preparation checklist.
1. Take a Break
Spend Time with Family and Friends
It’s important to relax and unwind with family and friends when you’ve got a little more flexibility in your schedule. Many tax preparers work around the clock from January through April and put family, friends, and hobbies on hold. Invite friends over for a barbecue to appreciate the free time and better weather of this season, catch up on your daughter’s soccer games, and go out for a few rounds of golf. You worked hard and you deserve the break.
Invest in Hobbies
Gardening, dance classes, hiking, and volunteering in your community all create a better mood, better relationships, and better health. Taking time for hobbies that you enjoy will make you a better business owner, a more focused leader, and make sure you have something to look forward to all to yourself in your day. Be a leader in your community, in your family, and in your business by making fun a priority in your week.
2. Take Care of Your Business
Calling May through December the tax preparer “off season” is misleading. Many small business owners depend on their tax preparer salary year-round and invest time fine-tuning business operations and tax skills, following up on invoices, and fine-tuning their marketing strategy.
Get Paid for Your Work
This seems like an obvious point, but many tax preparers do not receive full payment for all the work they did during the busy season due to mistakes in their billing processes.
Common invoice blunders tax preparers make include:
- Missing payment remittal information so clients don’t know where to send their payment
- Sending invoices too late, so clients may not have room in that month’s budget for you
- Fees or items aren’t outlined, and no one wants to pay for a bill they don’t understand
- Unclear terms of payment, so clients aren’t sure when payment is due
Set yourself up for success with the most basic business skill: knowing how to get paid for your work.
Streamline Business Processes
One of the first things successful small business owners do is create a business plan, including market research, quarterly and yearly growth goals, and a marketing strategy. You have to learn and hone the business skills they don’t teach you in tax preparation courses.
The tax preparer off season is the perfect time to do business planning like:
- Meet with your business mentor
- Network with financial affiliates like mortgage brokers, CPAs, and other referrals sources
- Update your CRM and clean up your client list
- Review and update quarterly growth goals
Be proactive with your business planning, so your business is ready when you grow.
Spend Time on Tax Preparer Training
There are many opportunities for tax preparers to add or sharpen tax skills with such as:
- Online tax preparer courses
- Local tax preparation courses
- IRS Certified Tax Professional training
Others take on the financial investment of becoming a CPA so they can take on higher-end business clients down the road, while other tax preparation professionals consider new revenue streams that can make them income year-round.
3. Take On Your Future
Some people want to stay in tax preparation for their whole career, others fell into it and are looking for another business, while still more people may want to maintain a part-time tax preparation business, but develop an alternative source of income that is more dependable all year.
Reflect and Prepare
If you want to make a little extra income in the off season, you might consider a side business in a related field, or get more training in tax preparation. If you feel ready to try something new, but your background is in taxes and finance, you can start learning a new skill like credit repair.
Make Steps Toward Your Future
Learning a new business can sound daunting, but if you think of it as adding a skill to your repertoire, taking a class on something as useful as credit repair is useful, and can even be fun!
Here’s what you’ll gain by learning how to help tax clients with credit repair:
- You increase client lifetime value
- You can find new tax preparation clients through your credit repair leads
- You will become more attractive to tax preparation clients because you offer more services in one place
Use Your Time Wisely
The off season is a time for you to discern what is next for you as a tax preparer, invest in training, and set your business up for a successful year!