By Jasen Stine and Jim Buffington.
The next generation of tax professionals are at a different place in their lives and careers than the owners of the firms they are applying to. Right now, the younger generation are hard to recruit and maintain because of their modernized way of looking at the profession.
Older generations are accustomed to long standing workflows and the traditional ways to running their firms. This doesn’t mean they aren’t innovating and adapting to technology, because they are, this only means that they have trusted work streams in place because they were around before the new tools started gaining traction. Often, you’ll find this generation is happier with compliance work and are veterans in doing the technical tax returns and putting in the hours, because that is how they were raised in the profession.
Younger generations have a bigger vision for the future beyond tax returns because they were born with technology already in hand. With everything at their fingertips, this upcoming generation is happy to adapt new tools to take over compliance work so they can focus on different deliverables.
To help bridge this gap, and entice younger professionals to join your firm, consider building out your advisory services offerings. As a whole, advisory services grant tax professionals more one-on-one time with clients to be able to set short and long term goals, understand what each client is working towards, and help them save money and prepare for retirement. By building out this part of the business, you are not only attracting more younger professionals who are excited to work, but you are also showcasing to your clients that you have their best interest at heart.
Too many clients these days rely on tax professionals for all kinds of advice, but only pay them for a yearly tax return. As a firm owner, that means you are losing money and showing your clients that your expert advice doesn’t cost them extra – when it should. Gone are the days of handing out free advice because your client files their taxes with you. It’s time to charge them for your time, and with the proper conversations and examples you can prove to your clients how much investing in advisory services can help them in the long run.
If your firm has a thriving advisory service business, prospective applicants will take note. The next generation of tax professionals are focused on the vision of the future, and how they can not only help themselves, but their clients achieve all their dreams. If you are struggling to retain new tax professionals, and are interested in making yourself and your clients more money, start the conversation around advisory services.
As you look into building out the advisory services business, it’s important to remember that this adoption won’t happen overnight, it takes time to understand new technology and tools to assist you, relay your vision to the firm’s current staff, have meetings with clients to educate them on the new offering, and more. This also isn’t a snap decision to take lightly, you have to choose the right path forward for you and your clients – tax and accounting is not a one size fits all profession. But if you find yourself thinking about how to update your services, or ways to attract new tax professionals, start reading into advisory services. You’ll soon find out that your firm is most likely already doing it for free with all of the one-off advice your tax professionals hand out. It’s time to look forward to the great work you can achieve when you take credit for not only the money you’ve saved clients, but the money you’ve earned yourselves in the process.
Jasen Stine is tax and accounting education leader at Intuit. Jim Buffington is advisory services leader for Intuit Accountants.