The upcoming Tax Practice Success Automation webinar series will cover an extensive array of strategies for reducing your personal workload. One of the major strategies we’ll cover will be the use of checklists to increase the efficiency of tasks within your practice.
Checklists might sound overly simplistic to many people, but the fact of the matter is that the use of checklists is growing in many professional fields. When I was a nuclear power operator in the Navy, there wasn’t a single thing that we did on the entire reactor plant without referencing a checklist. In the field of medicine, checklists are being implemented in more and more operating rooms, which is reducing the rate of surgical mistakes and infections.
If you think about it, every IRS form and set of instructions is really a checklist. The form is there to guide somebody through what numbers they need to report, what can be subtracted, and what the bottom line tax is that needs to be paid. We know them as a form with line numbers, but it could just as easily exist in the form of a checklist and a 7-line, half-page return — which is what an e-file declaration boils the tax return down to.
Checklists make sure that what needs to get done, gets done. Checklists are also great because nobody has to think about what needs to be done, we just do it. Checklists also give us task documentation, which means we have something to refer to for process improvement.
Let me give you one small example of a checklist that could be useful in marketing your tax practice. We all know that social media is unavoidable these days, and is a necessary component of all your marketing. But what should we actually be doing on a daily basis with social media in order to ensure that we are getting done all the thing that we need to be getting?
Here is an example social media marketing checklist to be processed each day:
- Tweet daily tax tip.
- Hold 10 minute tax Q&A on Facebook.
- Connect with 3 other professionals on LinkedIn.
- Invite 5 new people to Facebook page.
- Spend $5 on Facebook ads to obtain likes to company page.
- Leave 3 comments on blog posts on personal finance blogs where people left tax questions.
- Answer two tax questions in popular personal finance discussion forums.
- Search appropriate Twitter hashtags and enter into 5 conversations regarding tax matters.
- Share one infographic on Pinterest regarding personal finance, tax, or economic matters.
This is a pretty basic checklist, and a great place to start if you’re new to social media. This checklist could be used over the course of two weeks, and then modified based on the feedback from either yourself or the staff member that you have delegated your social media marketing to.
Do you see how this sort of a checklist can help make things more efficient in your practice? With a checklist, there is no question about what needs to get done, or what the metrics used to define successful completion are: The metrics for completion are built into the checklist. The checklist either gets done partially, completely, or not at all.
When you run your practice based on simple checklists like this, and every person in your organization knows what checklists they are responsible for carrying out every day, then your practice begins to run like a well balanced motor-generator set.
To learn more effective strategies for running an efficient, stress-free tax practice, be sure to join us on Mondays in December for the Tax Practice Success Automation webinar series. There are currently 16 seats remaining as I write this, and the price will be going up substantially next week, so I’d encourage you to register sooner rather than later.