Tax pains: A blessing in disguise?

minute read

Last Updated September 29, 2023


*This blog is part of the May 2023 Thought Leader newsletter

Even when one tax season is better than the season before, it’s still easy to think of all the things that didn’t go smoothly. Because it’s too easy to associate “the busy season” with feelings of dread and stress, right?

Of course, we celebrate wins in our firms, but sometimes it feels those wins are overshadowed by the dark clouds of bottlenecked billings and a mound of extended returns. It can feel like—and often is—an endless cycle that repeats itself season after season. We vow to do things differently next time, but before we know it, we’re once again in the midst of filings.

What if those tax pain points are actually blessings in disguise?

I know, I know…it sounds crazy, but hang with me. What if you take those tax pains and use them to your firm’s benefit by creating a road map to get you from where you are now to where you want to be? Take the lessons you’ve learned and use them to your advantage! The key is taking one small step at a time.

Putting the lessons into practice

Unsure of where to begin? Rootworks members start with our Tax Season Process Scorecard, which allows firm staff to provide feedback on what worked and what didn’t work during the last tax season.

  1. But…what if you’re not a Rootworks member? You can do the same thing because that’s it for the first step: Gather feedback from people within your firm.
  2. Step two? Easy-peasy. You’ll take that feedback and review it for common denominators. What do most people agree is working well? What do most people in the firm agree is not working well? Based on that feedback, identify two to three issues you want to address before the next tax season. These are your priorities.
  3. Next, you need helpers! Identify who will take ownership of each of these issues. Have them work with a team to set goals with deadlines, and ensure actions are taken to alleviate their respective pain points.

And just like that, your firm’s two to three biggest pain points have been addressed. Will the pain points be completely eliminated? Not necessarily, but even small improvements will put your firm in a better position than if you took no action at all.

Eating the elephant

Let’s be real; this process isn’t always going to be easy. In fact, if the solutions to tax pains were super easy to implement, they probably would have been implemented a long time ago.

Small actions have a big impact, and every action gets you closer to your goals. As Desmond Tutu said, “There is only one way to eat an elephant: a bite at a time.” And that’s the point here—to take one bite at a time.

Whether the step is documenting a procedure to ensure consistency, optimizing your software, leveling returns or productizing services, there are many opportunities to address pain points. And that benefits everyone—firm, staff and clients.

Need some additional guidance? Reach out to our team of coaches; we’re here to help!

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