We invited Jackie Meyer, a member of our Intuit® ProConnect™ Tax Council, to share insights about her online tax practice.
Jackie Meyer is president and founder of Meyer Tax Consulting, LLC, in Southlake, Texas. Her team works with a select number of executives, investors, entrepreneurs and business owners throughout the year, with an all-inclusive strategy focused on tax and accounting. With her team working completely virtually across Texas, the firm stays on the cutting edge of technology, working closely with industry leaders on innovative products and offerings.
Patti: How do you save time when ramping up for tax season?
Jackie: Preparing everything possible as early as possible! For example, we used to send e-organizers when clients started gathering their information, one by one, in the heat of busy season. Now, we mass send them all in December via Intuit® Link.
I also have to factor in my health and plan my personal life. Cooking is not my forte and I recognize my weaknesses; I tend to skip meals and sit for hours on end during busy season. I’ve already scheduled workouts with my trainer and meal delivery service (Freshly), so I have no excuses.
Educating our clients and staff is also key. With technology changing every year, I send video and monthly newsletter updates to everyone that detail out what to expect, how they will receive requests and the urgency system we use.
Patti: How does it compare to the old way of doing things?
Jackie: Having an online practice for six years, and over a decade of experience in public accounting, has helped tremendously with developing and tweaking procedures each year. For newer online firms, it’s difficult to anticipate problems and easy to overreact to them. I started a Mastermind series in May to share my templates and specific procedures with other firms that want to offer tax planning packages to clients. My only regret is not implementing these sooner! Check out theconciergecpa.com for more info.
Patti: What barriers have you overcome?
Jackie: Accepting the right kind of clients and staff members fuels how your busy season is going to shape up. It’s so easy to accept anything and everything at first, and you learn quite a bit about what you do not want, but in the end, it’s best to have set expectations upfront and not give in! For example, a tax manager of mine left suddenly, and I leapt into a new one too fast. It ended up causing way more issues over several months than holding out for the right person. I hadn’t managed staff before starting my company, so that was a huge learning experience, too. Today, I’m proud to say I have the best team around!
Patti: What advice do you have for other pros moving to an online tax practice, as they ramp up for tax season?
Jackie: Test your procedures on an easy and early return to eliminate problems that may come later, and keep notes. Be firm, but encouraging with clients and staff that they must use the online systems.
I make notes, as we find timesavers in our procedures, to avoid making those mistakes next year, or discuss a workaround. If you are struggling with a software feature, someone else probably is as well. Record all repeatable processes. Using Screencast-O-Matic, I record my review points on screen so that I can refer back to them if they happen again, versus walking through the same issue over and over. Even the small things add up, such as how to send a password-protected PDF file or mass-add cover pages to K-1s.
Year one of any new procedure is going to have hiccups, but it just gets better, so hang in there!