How to offer online tax preparation to your clients

If you have an established local presence for your accounting business, have you thought about the benefits of moving these services online? Business strategies have shifted in light of COVID-19, and many companies have seen how important it is to offer digital services to their customers. 

Traditional businesses have struggled to stay open over the past 18 months, but those that have been able to provide alternative ways of doing business are faring better. You can continue providing your in-person services, but adding an online option can give you an edge that will help you not only survive but thrive amid changes in the future.

So if you’re asking yourself, “How do I offer online tax preparation to my clients?” just follow these tips to establish a digital presence for your business.

1. Build a website

The first step is to build a website as the home base for your online business. Not only does a website promote your brand, but it also gives clients a place to visit any time of the day or night for quick information about your services. Make sure you include your contact information.

A good website will function like a digital business card to show that you’re a professional in the industry. At the same time, it gives you a way to communicate with potential clients and transfer documents securely as needed.

You don’t need to learn to code to build a website. Instead, consider low-code solutions and pre-designed website templates. Or you can hire a website designer so you can focus on accounting and customer management.

2. Invest in business software

When you’re offering your services online, you need software to ensure efficient workflows and business processes. Automating certain tasks is critical to ensuring a smooth workflow when you’re working with clients. Here are a few tasks that can go more smoothly with the right software: 

  • Managing transactions
  • Collecting payments
  • Communicating with clients
  • Transfering files
  • Using tax-filing tools

Look for low-code automation tools that offer multiple features and integrate with other software solutions you’re using.

3. Create digital workflows

When you’re onboarding a new client or collecting information for the current tax year, what’s your typical method for gathering this information? What standard paperwork do you pass back and forth with clients?

Digitize these workflows as much as possible to minimize the need for people to print and send paperwork back to you. Jotform is a valuable asset in the data-collection process when you’re working with customers, vendors, and other providers. You can create digital forms for different workflows and have the information feed directly into Jotform Tables for analysis and secure storage.

Jotform offers a variety of form templates for tax preparation services and accounting providers:

With Jotform, you have access to thousands of business forms and templates. And they’re all customizable, which means you can personalize the forms and workflows to meet your unique needs.

4. Invest in marketing

Creating a website doesn’t mean that customers will start calling right away. In addition to a website, you also need to invest in marketing to spread the word about your accounting and bookkeeping services. Marketing puts your website in front of your target audience, helping you establish an online connection that could potentially expand your client base.

Establish a budget and invest in online marketing and lead-generation strategies. Track your results to determine the most effective return on investment (ROI) to increase profits. Examples of online lead generation methods include

  • Pay-per-click web ads
  • Social media
  • Search engine optimization
  • Local business listings
  • Paid ads

Start by finding your target audience. Then prioritize your marketing budget to reach out to any ideal leads who might need your tax preparation services.

5. Establish a referral program

As you build your client base, additional growth opportunities will come when clients refer their family and friends to your business. Create a program to reward people for their referrals. For example, you might offer a discount on tax preparation next year as a way of thanking them for a referral.

Jotform offers a referral form template you can use to quickly collect information from both the person who’s spreading the word about your services and the people who are contacting you as a result. 

6. Maintain contact with customers

When you don’t have the opportunity for face-to-face interactions, it takes a little more work to maintain relationships with your clients over time. Set up an email marketing system to reach out to customers with industry updates, tax preparation news, and other helpful information.

Social media is another powerful way to stay in contact with your customers throughout the year. Share posts to educate your connections, which can strengthen your business brand over time.

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