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Opening a new practice

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Would you open a practice with this health climate without client referrals?

Yes, sure.
3
38%
I would be hesitant
3
38%
No, definitively no.
2
25%
 
Total votes : 8

#1
TonyT  
Posts:
11
Joined:
24-Oct-2020 7:00pm
Location:
Michigan
Hi All,
I am planning on starting a tax filing practice. I got some experience filing for family and friends but I am making an effort to become a Pro. I am working to become Enrolled Agent and I hope that gets done soon.

I would love to work for someone else remotely if possible. This will give me solid experience, but I am not sure how that would work with possible filing extension and I assume no rush to file taxes. With that being said and current health environment, is it advisable to open a practice at all? Here in Michigan when not necessary business were shut down, the place was like a ghost town. Parking lots empty. I don't know if accountants were opened or not, but I would drive often by some tax prep chains and they looked empty.

I don't have a large social circle to rely on referrals, so I need to acquire every client through hard work. By when do you see a rush of individual filings coming to office? Is it as early as Feb or they all wake up on April 14th and you a mile long on that day only?

With Covid office policies, masks on, plastic wall between you and clients, fan blasting air outside the office etc etc, have you seen any decline on new customer visits? Are new clients confident to let their tax papers with you and pick them in 1 to 2 hr or a few days? Dont the clients expect an interview?

This thread https://www.taxprotalk.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=19537 mentioned that the practitioners didn't have much demand for office visits, but they seem to deal with return customers. I will be dealing with 0 return clients.

Around what time do you open office? 8 am , or past noon? I know it may sound silly but if you have paid help, I would like to fully utilize it and not keeping an assistant unnecessary on dead hours.

If I work remotely for other established practitioners, how can I provide them my prepared work for them to check, make any necessary changes and proceed to efile?

I have been thinking of using Drake , but I am open to any software that would allow collaboration.

Thanks in advance.
 

#2
Posts:
1782
Joined:
21-Apr-2014 11:24am
Location:
North Carolina
Apologies if I am wrong but it sounds as if you have minimal experience - “families and friends” is a phrase tends to indicate that, as does “tax filing practice.”

However, you have navigated parts 1 and 3 of the SEE and that is valuable to an established firm seeking, at least, a seasonal employee. If I am right about your level of experience, I suggest you focus your efforts there. It will not be long before firms seek seasonal employees. Figure out the locally-based firms you might want to work for and keep an eye on their websites.

If you are looking for completely remote work, bear in mind that the companies that offer offshored tax and bookkeeping also have preparers in this country to satisfy those firms who do not want to jump through the hoops of telling their clients that their return will be prepared in India or wherever. I know XCM offers this service and I am sure there are others.

Doing remote work would probably require a good internet connection and a good computer as it will require you to connect to a remote server.

I am a strong believer in gaining experience before striking out on your own. You need to find a niche and it takes time to build the foundation and gain the right experience.

Of course, if you have more (and broader) experience than indicated by your post, most of what I have written is nonsense.
 

#3
Posts:
2488
Joined:
4-Mar-2018 9:03pm
Location:
6 ft away
I think there's a lot of different approaches in all of the areas you mentioned.

For example, all of my clients except one or two provide documentation electronically via my client portal. There's no dropping anything off or picking anything up for the strong majority of my clients. It's efficient and it works. I don't like to spend time scanning as I view this service as low value-add. Therefore, I always tell clients that while I am happy to accept hard copies and scan on my end, I have to charge an admin fee for time used. That "general rule" isn't always followed in practice, especially for the sweet old ladies, but it serves a purpose -- incentivization.

If you implemented a similar system (incentivized electronic delivery), I wouldn't expect you to see push back against a system like the above unless your client demographic skews very old (70s and 80s).

I would think the answer to the "sink or swim" question depends on answers to other questions. What is your target client? How much experience do you have? What does your network look like? How much have you built-up in savings to weather the start-up period (or do you have a spouse/significant other to temporarily lean on)?

Some of those questions you answered. And I'd tend to agree with Sumwun that if you're coming from a place of very little experience, you may want to work as an employee or contractor for a few years first. If I were in your shoes, I might reach out to local firms that seem to do the kind of work you want to specialize in. Now through December is probably the best time to do that.
 

#4
ATSMAN  
Posts:
1734
Joined:
31-May-2014 8:34pm
Location:
MA
I would be very hesitant to open up a brand new practice without a pool of referrals or book of business that I purchased.

Depending on where you are walk-in business may be very restricted.
 


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