Ignition blog  /  Improve cash flow  &  Revenue growth  /  Unlock year-long revenue by shifting to tax...

Shift to a steady, year-round gig, leaving behind the struggle of chasing payments

IMPROVE CASH FLOW 6 mins 11 Oct 2023 by Matt Kanas
share on Twitter share on Linkedin share on Facebook copy link Copied to clipboard.

Transitioning from the busy season to 365-day advisory

For accounting and tax professionals, tax season can be a whirlwind. 

You clock in countless hours, navigating tax laws and tax compliance demands, and deadlines to ensure your clients are all set. 

But after this intense period, what then? 

Instead of just catching your breath, it's prime time to think bigger: tax advisory services. After all, your clients have tax questions and financial questions on their minds all year-round. 

How can they handle their taxable income better? 

How should they pay their team? 

How can they grow their business model the right way? 

They're looking for tax advice more than just at tax time. That's where accounting and tax professionals really come in. 

Plus, after tax season, if you haven’t transitioned to a zero accounts receivable firm, you can often find yourself chasing after clients for payments. 

But shifting to tax advisory services can ease this strain. 

It's a steady, year-round gig, and your clients won't be reeling from a hefty one-off tax bill. 

For both your sakes, it's time to step up, offer more proactive tax planning, and help clients navigate their tax scenarios and other challenges. 

Unpacking tax advisory services

When you offer advisory services, you go beyond the tax returns and number-crunching. 

You want to offer that helping hand to clients in the areas they struggle with the most. 

This can include anything from financial planning, tax strategy development, and business restructuring advice to more targeted areas, such as succession planning or mergers and acquisitions guidance. 

Essentially, it's about using our knowledge and expertise to deliver strategic tax insights that drive our clients’ businesses forward. 

The power of niche advisory services in our tech-driven age

These niche areas are well worth exploring, as it’s never been more important for professional services providers to stand out. 

Choosing an advisory niche lets you hone a specialty and future-proof our accounting and tax firms. 

It's your ticket to resilience and continued relevance in the face of lightning-quick technological advancements.

Automation, cloud-based solutions, and artificial intelligence (AI) are revolutionizing the business landscape, quickly and efficiently taking over routine tasks like tax preparation and invoice processing. 

Think data entry, document creation, and even intricate financial document reviews. This technological shift isn't here to replace us, but instead to amplify our value. 

Narrow AI (also known as weak AI), which is AI that tackles a specific task like tax compliance checking, is ramping up accuracy and minimizing the mundane. 

Combine these with machine learning's ability to identify financial trends and anomalies, and the potential for transforming accounting and tax for the better is clear.

With your everyday tasks streamlined, you’ll have a leaner operation and more freed-up time to become a strategic tax advisor. 

This will differentiate you in your field, enabling you to deliver unparalleled, tailored tax advice and insights. 

Ultimately, embracing these tech tools lets you do more with less, carving a path to a more profitable business model and strategic survival. 

The value of tax advisory as a niche

Tax advisory presents a prime opportunity for you to capitalize on your existing compliance work. 

By expanding into this area, you can boost our income potential and transition from a seasonal income model to a more stable, year-round business model

This pivot helps mitigate the familiar ebbs and flows you encounter with a traditional tax season, ensuring a steadier flow of taxable income throughout the year.

What’s more, according to Intuit's recent taxpayer insights report, there's clear client demand for this type of service. 

Clients don't just want you to handle their tax returns.

They expect their tax professionals to guide them toward better financial outcomes using the latest methods and technologies. 

So how can you deliver on these expectations? 

Start by using tax forms as a stepping stone to understanding your clients' overall financial landscape. 

These documents offer a snapshot that you can use to assess what additional services your clients may need. 

“It’s very easy to file a tax return; it’s very easy to find a bookkeeper, but they really want and need insights and advice,” says Sean M. Duncan, CPA, President and Founder of SMD Consulting & Accounting, LLC

“In fact, a lot of time they assume you’re giving them that advice and it’s not happening. There’s this massive need for people to get insights from the experts, which is their tax experts or bookkeeping professionals.”

So, what's the answer to this gap? 

It's time to go beyond basic services and step up as the expert your clients are looking for. 

From there, you can build tailored offerings such as cash flow analysis, benchmarking against industry standards, comprehensive budgeting, and strategic tax planning. 

By responding to this evolving demand, tax professionals can meet – and exceed – client expectations. 

You can also position your business for greater profitability and client loyalty.

The takeaway is that tax advisory is so much more than a complementary service. 

It's your chance to enhance client relationships, modernize operations, and tap into a significant tax planning opportunity.

Pricing tax advisory services: A guide to value and clarity

Once you’ve decided to offer tax advisory, start thinking about how to price these services – and be strategic about it. Consider value pricing:

  • Unlike traditional methods that may involve hourly rates or fixed fees, value pricing focuses on both the tangible and intangible benefits you provide. 

    This approach can minimize your client roster but maximize your work quality and value. You’ll reap the rewards of less stress, more standard working hours – even during tax season – increased employee morale, and a better client experience. 

  • Every accounting firm has unique variables that affect pricing. For your business, it can often boil down to trial and error. If your clients rarely raise an eyebrow at your pricing, perhaps you’re underselling your services.
  • Clear communication is paramount, so be transparent and avoid the ambiguity of hourly rates. 
    Present prices for recurring tax advisory services, one-off tasks, hourly engagements, retainers, and estimates. Clearly outline what the client is paying for and why.
  • Tiered pricing packages – think bronze, silver, and gold, for example – may be a great option for your accounting firm. 

    Providing tiers clarifies options for clients and eliminates the unpredictability of hourly pricing. Using tools such as Ignition, for instance, you can showcase as many as three proposals, guiding clients to pick the one that best suits their tax liability needs. 

In a nutshell, create a pricing strategy that brings in a decent margin for services in high demand. 

Then, be sure to leverage technology and strong communication to enhance this strategy to make sure your practice thrives in its advisory niche.

Successfully launching your advisory services

Settling on tax advisory – tick! Determining pricing – tick! Now it’s time to launch your tax advisory services

Here’s a quick guide to start you off on the right foot:

  • Introduce your tax advisory services to a select group of your clients. 

    This soft-launch approach allows you to perfect your strategy, ironing out any issues, and sets a strong foundation for broader deployment later.

  • Hold an initial tax strategy scoping session, then follow it up with a more comprehensive tax advisory proposal alongside your clear engagement letter

    Keep in mind, too, that presentation matters. Templates from companies such as Ignition and Intuit offer you the tools to craft and automate compelling, personalized tax proposals and letters of engagement, which further streamline and boost your client interactions.

  • Seal the deal with upfront payments. Ignition's upfront payment feature for client billing ensures smooth financial transactions, reinforcing trust between you and your clients around managing tax liability, making sure you get paid on time, every time.

Where to go from here

There’s no question tax advisory opens doors for accounting and tax professionals, offering consistent, year-round taxable income and ending those seasonal revenue peaks and troughs. 

Sure, there’s hesitation: traditional tax compliance work, despite its demanding hours, is familiar territory with reliable returns. 

But, in an age when the industry is rapidly pivoting toward digital transformation, clinging to the old ways isn't a sustainable business model. 

Embracing change, especially with tools such as Ignition at your fingertips, is the path forward. 

Ready to take the leap and be part of the future of accounting and tax services? Watch an Ignition demo today and unlock your firm's next potential growth chapter.

Editor’s note: This article first appeared on Intuit Tax Pro Center

Article tags

Meet the author

MATT KANAS headshot
Matt Kanas

Managing Director, AMER  Ignition

Share article

share on Twitter share on Linkedin share on Facebook copy link Copied to clipboard.
Published 11 Oct 2023 Last updated 19 Mar 2024