Starting today, I’m going to start sharing the core checklists that constitute my tax practice systems. I’ll be sharing these checklists in order to help you organize your tax practice and make it operate more efficiently. Keep in mind that these systems are constantly changing, based on new lessons learned, input from staff members and clients, and ideas gleaned from books, courses, and seminars from the worlds of sales, marketing, management, and more. As these checklists and systems change, they will be updated on the TaxMarketingHQ.com blog.
I encourage your feedback on these checklists. Be sure to leave a comment on the blog if you have any thoughts to share.
Checklists are organized as layers, like the roots of a tree, starting at one point and branching out and down deeper, and deeper. The Tax Practice Daily Checklist is where I start, and everything branches out from there.
Tax Practice Daily Checklist
- Tax Practice Goals Checklist
- Tax Practice Daily Marketing Checklist
- Tax Resolution Daily Client Checklist
- Tax Preparation Daily Client Checklist
- Other Client Services Checklists
- Tax Practice Business Management Checklist
Each of the sub-checklists in the main Tax Practice Daily Checklist serves a core purpose within the overall scope of running a business. The checklist is intentionally oriented towards running a profitable tax firm, and the sub-checklists are presented essentially in order of importance to be tackled each day.
To start, it’s important to take a look at your goals every day. This is to remind you of what you are trying to achieve, why you’re even in business, and to “right your ship” at the start of your work day to give you the proper focus and direction for the day.
Next, the Daily Marketing Checklist guides you through testing your marketing systems to make sure everything that needs to be working is working. These can be simple things like making sure your 800 number and your web site are operational, all the way to making sure that complex automated direct mail fulfillment systems are up and running. The Daily Marketing Checklist comes before client work on purpose: Lead generation and new client consultations are the absolute single most important thing you do every day. This statement may run contrary to what many CPA’s and Enrolled Agents think is true, but think about it: A constant stream of new potential clients coming through your office is what eliminates the up and down cycle of having and not having clients as you complete projects for them.
Next are the checklists for specific client functions. These are broken into specific checklists for specific practice areas, even if you have clients that work with you across multiple practice areas. The reason for this is two-fold.
First, different types of client work are obviously time dependent. Tax resolution work of any sort is the most time sensitive thing that we do, as there are often multiple deadlines that need to be managed for each client. Tax preparation work comes next, because it is also obviously time sensitive, but on a very strict and very well known calendar, so it is easier to work around than scheduling tax resolution work.
Secondly, breaking checklists up by practice areas instead of by other criteria provides a logical division along which to systemize. In other words, it’s just an easy place to functionally break things up for the purposes of creating systems. We have to break things up somewhere, and doing it by practice area is a very logical place to create that division. Other people may want to instead create a Daily Client Services Checklist, for example, and break things down from there based on a client-by-client review. Other practitioners may want to use a more complex calendaring system and use a Daily Calendared Client Activity Checklist. These other methods work just fine (and these methods are weaved into the method I use, actually), but I simply choose to approach it from a practice area manner. This is also most likely more helpful to other tax practitioners, as you can add or delete the checklists for practice areas that you actually practice in.
Finally, the Tax Practice Business Management checklist reminds you to do things every so often that need to get done. This checklist includes items such as employee management, filing your own tax returns, tweaking your systems, and expanding your own knowledge.
Tomorrow, we’ll take a more in depth look at the goals checklist.