Advisory and upfront payments unlock tax season success

Tiffany W. Davis, P.A. uses a progressive mindset – combined with the Ignition platform – for pricing, packaging, payments and more, to generate year-round recurring revenue.

Washington Accounting Services Inc.
Tiffany W. Davis, P.A., MSM, CEO and President

The result with Ignition

About Tiffany W. Davis and Washington Accounting Services Inc.

Tiffany W. Davis P.A., is the President and CEO of Washington Accounting Services Inc. Her insights have been featured in The Wall Street JournalUSA TODAY and other media outlets. In 2007, stepping away from years of corporate accounting and financial technology implementation, she launched her own firm, Washington Accounting Services Inc. Discontent with the traditional ways of the industry, Tiffany wanted to revolutionize the approach to accounting. Under her guidance, Washington Accounting Services goes beyond the norm, offering proactive accounting and tax services that focus on enhancing client profits.

The challenge

A period of intense pressure and uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic tested the resilience of businesses worldwide. For Tiffany it presented an opportunity to further transform her firm’s operations.

When she first adopted Ignition in 2021, Tiffany’s primary goal was to automate essential but time-consuming tasks when engaging clients, such as collecting payments and preparing proposals.

However, Tiffany found herself wanting to simplify her firm’s pricing structure and standardize its services into strategic packages. This would not only help clients navigate the pandemic, but also spread revenue throughout the year, rather than concentrating it solely during tax season – or, as Tiffany calls it, ‘no-life’ season.

The solution

This spurred Tiffany Davis to rethink and innovate her firm’s approach to pricing and packaging, leveraging Ignition’s capabilities.

First, she expanded her offering into advisory services. Second, she created three service packages: “While thinking about the client’s needs and how we could show the value of our services in a simplified method, creating three service offerings was the solution. Everyone loves to have options and we figured out a way to make it simple,” she says.

Ignition’s three-tiered pricing options easily enabled her to create these customized packages to meet her clients’ varied needs.

This approach also helped Tiffany ensure more consistent revenue throughout the year, as her package options are tied to upfront, automated payments through Ignition.

Tiffany’s mindset shifted in line with her business model. 

“Now we stick to the scope of services, we don’t do anything for free anymore,” she says. “I will not move a pen, a mouse – nothing – until a proposal is signed.”

The move into advisory services also allowed Tiffany to implement more premium pricing to reflect the specialized skills necessary for advisory. “We also changed the pricing for individual services, because it's a higher value to the client when you have the tax advisory services,” she says. 

“With our new and refined pricing model, tax preparation for individuals that we see once a year, increased 150%. This allowed us to focus on providing high-valued services to our clients and at the same time, decreasing our workload and it didn’t hurt that we were also making more money.” 

Tiffany’s stance on upfront payments and the value of her services has become a cornerstone of her firm’s success. What’s more, by taking advantage of Ignition’s automated payments feature, Tiffany has optimized her firm’s cash flow and minimized the financial rollercoaster of tax season.

Tiffany’s progressive approach sets her apart in the industry, defining her brand as innovative and client-focused. Her goals clearly extend beyond financial success; she aims to elevate her business, her team, and her clients. This holistic and forward-thinking strategy exemplifies her commitment to not only adapting to change, but also thriving in the thick of it.

Tiffany’s pro tips for a successful tax season

Tiffany Davis's success in transforming her accounting practice underscores the importance of a progressive mindset coupled with equally progressive technology. 

Here are some key insights from Tiffany for fellow accounting and tax professionals looking to transform their practices:

  1. Shift your thinking: The biggest challenge accountants face is not necessarily what they're doing, “It's how they think about doing it,” Tiffany says. “Sometimes they need to be able to see, as an example, ‘Oh my God! Somebody's actually charging first’.” Basically, she says, these professionals are looking to something so they know it's okay.

  2. Overcome fears: Conquer the fear that clients won't pay. “Yes, they will,” says Tiffany. “We [accountants] are like oxygen. We all need oxygen to breathe and if you are going to be a successful business owner, then you need an accountant. You've got to come to us to get your tax done. Come to us or risk the possibility of being audited,” she says. 

    “I think the choice is easy... If we have done things correctly, and they're happy with our services, nine times out of 10, they're going to come back.” 

  3. Lead with confidence: Further to this, Tiffany says, clients will move how you tell them to move. “So, if you say that on December 1 or 15, or even January 1, ‘Our fees are going to increase; this is what it's going to be’. You have to put the value of your services first! Offer your client’s a one-time courtesy credit so their fees are not more than 150% of what they were originally paying, and start receiving your payments upfront. You might even add an additional fee for expediting the preparation of the tax return and ensuring that it is completed by the filing deadline,” she says. 

    “It's about standing up and owning who we [accountants] are in the profession... and just really having that confidence in making that change,” Tiffany says.

  4. Plan well ahead: As a business leader, Tiffany highlights that it’s important to look at learnings from the current year as well as think about service optimizations heading into the busy season. “I set up planning sessions and get all my staff together to make and set goals for the coming year,” says Tiffany. “From these planning sessions, I’ll then make decisions about the services or processes we need to optimize, or what we need to implement from a technology standpoint.” 

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