Partner for long-term success
Thought Leadership

Partner for long-term success

When two firms merge, it's assumed that each one brings complementary services to the table. If one firm offers mostly tax, while the other firm works heavily in audit, accounting, and advisory, the merger makes sense. Each firm will build upon the skill and knowledge set of the other firm, making for a successful, long-term relationship.

Firm mergers are a way of life and not likely to go away any time soon. However, it does not take a merger to enable a firm to do more with the resources they already have. In fact, there are incredible opportunities for firms that haven't yet stepped into advisory or are only offering tax.

At companies such as Intuit, the scenario isn't very different. We have divisions that operate with their own work, yet come together for the benefit of our customers. What that means is that accountants who specialize in tax, and use products such as Intuit® ProConnect™ Tax rely on the integration with QuickBooks Online Accountant, Intuit Tax Advisor, and the rest of the QuickBooks ecosystem for efficient workflow and turn-key delivery of services.

Giving clients what they want

Tax season is no longer a January-April activity; it's year-round for firms that work with businesses and individuals. Nevertheless, the traditional end-of-tax season is coming up this month. There is a natural break in the flow; the last half of April—into May and June—is a good time to work with your partners and staff to assess the last few months. What made your tax season successful and what improvements can you begin to make for the rest of the year?

It's also a good time to assess what clients want from you—and, spoiler alert, it's way more than tax compliance. In the most recent Taxpayer Insights & Intelligence Brief, a comprehensive study that surveyed more than 3,000 U.S. taxpayers using a tax professional to prepare their taxes, the results showed a strong market opportunity for tax professionals to adapt their portfolio of services to meet the needs of current clients and prospects.

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It's also a good time to assess what clients want from you—and, spoiler alert, it's way more than tax compliance.

In tax advisory, for example:

  • 69% of taxpayers want more advice from their tax professional.
  • 83% of taxpayers would rather work with a tax professional who can give tax advice year round, in addition to filing their tax return.
  • 79% of taxpayers are willing to pay more for a tax professional's services if it might result in improved financial outcomes, for example, in reducing tax liability, money savings, and other areas.

I checked with Dustin Kroeger, vice president of marketing for the Intuit ProTax Group, to get his insights on these numbers.

"At Intuit, we strongly believe that to best deliver for tax professionals, it is important to understand what matters most to themand that is their clients. This study sheds light on what is important to clients, not only with the services they receive from their pros, but also how they work with their pros. As we gain these insights, we can work together to drive better financial outcomes for their clients."

These represent best practices, of course, in offering your clients the most productive processes you can to help them build their businesses, scale gracefully, and everyone's bottom line: more revenue. But it also represents something else that is still pervasive throughout the accounting profession: The need to move to the cloud.

Moving to the cloud … and more

Working together is what Intuit is all about, whether it's a new product, or improvements on current products and services. Here's how we are doing this.

Have a 100% virtual practice and move your clients to QuickBooks Online. We bring the QuickBooks ecosystem to CPAs and accountants, and we do that best through cloud-based products that are continuously updated. They also do not rely on servers or hosting to function, removing your burden of operational overhead and the costs to maintain them. The result is that you are able to focus more on serving your clients and giving them the services they need to grow.

There's no doubt that you have seen articles, emails from Intuit, and discussions in online forums about QuickBooks Desktop. Intuit will stop selling Desktop subscriptions to new customers after July 31, 2024, and while this does not impact your clients who are already on Desktop, now is a great time to migrate your clients to QuickBooks Online, and for larger clients, QuickBooks Online Advanced.

And you don't have to do all of the work yourself. We have a migration support team to help you approach this change strategically, while equipping you for maximum success. There are also downloadable guides. Many firms have already migrated, including one national firm, and in some cases, we've learned that tax partners and pros neither have the time to spend on converting clients to QuickBooks Online nor necessarily want to do it.

We are confident that the move to QuickBooks Online brings efficiencies that outweigh the comfort of Desktop. In addition, there are many apps available that integrate with Online for maximum efficiency.

Provide QuickBooks products for less-complex clients. Serving the mid-market is a great place to focus, but chances are you have clients that are smaller and less complex. One way you can help deliver services to this group is through the new QuickBooks Ledger.

"Shoebox" clients have never fit well in tax or bookkeeping software systems. Their needs and engagements often do not necessarily scale to the functions of larger product offerings, so Ledger is designed for clients who only need these services:

  • In-house bookkeeping
  • After-the-fact bookkeeping
  • Basic write-up
  • Only tax
  • Multi-company clients with non-operating entities or holding companies
  • High-net-worth individuals

Workflow and process consistency are crucial for an accountant's day-to-day work, but are especially important at the end of the year. Because Ledger adds the serviced clients to QuickBooks Online Accountant, switching costs and access delays can be reduced, as well as out-of-flow approvals. And once the bookkeeping is finalized and reviewed, Ledger can be automatically synced with ProConnect Tax.

Next steps

Change doesn't happen overnight, but here are three action items to move forward:

  1. Understand your current tax client base. Are they using desktop products or cloud solutions? How easy was their tax return? How painful was it?
  2. Identify which clients are right for additional services; determine if their efficiency isn't where you would like it to be and talk with them about making some key changes.
  3. Ask your vendors for help. In our case, Intuit wants to be your long-term partner.

As you can already tell, feedback is important to us, so please reach out at 877-635-2147 to let us know how we can help you. Helping you succeed is our #1 goal.

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