Tag Archives: challenges of a tax preparation business

Our 4th Tax Season

It’s sort of become a tradition for us to provide a recap of how our previous tax seasons have gone. What is special about this year is that while it is our fourth with our Beverly retail office, it marks our 10th year in business! Keep your eyes peeled for a future post on that topic and some special things we will be doing to celebrate.

As always, we’ve still got some more analysis to do, but here are some of the preliminary successes that we are aware of:

  • 20% growth in client load
  • 49 new clients entrusted us with their tax situation
  • Revenue growth in excess of 45%
  • Processed returns in 19 states, which is slightly down from last year, BUT does not include anything we have on extension (which could send us above the number of states processed last year).

Our Challenges We won’t rehash too much of this here as we already put out a post on why this was the worst tax season in 35 years. We’ll just simply let you read that one at your leisure!

Our Triumphs. There were a lot of things that did go well this season. The short version includes:

  • Staffing – We had some of our seasoned folks come back and we added new faces to the lineup. Without either Stephanie or Patricia working in the trenches this year, things would have been a lot harder than they were. Thank you ladies!
  • Bus Benches – We’ve written about how bus benches work in the past. What we noticed this year is that the longer they are in the public space, the better they do over the long haul. This year alone we can attribute 18% of our new clients coming as a result of these benches. With a little bit of refining, looks like this will continue to be a medium we advertise with.
  • Gaining Scale – Scale can mean a lot of things in business. What we are referring to is that fact that the business is taking on a life of it’s own. It’s reached a size where things are sort of just “naturally occurring” and it’s now our job to simply try and guide it. This is a good thing though and something that we’ve been anticipating for the past 3 years. It now means that we can begin to transition how we do things and set our focus a little further down the road instead of simply where are next sale will come from.

While growing a financial service business is not easy in today’s competitive environment, it’s satisfying to know that we’re still able to make progress towards the goals we set out for ourselves 10 years ago.

If you want to know how any of our past seasons went, feel free to read about them here:

Season One
Season Two
Season Three

Here’s looking to a bright future and since we’re 80’s babies, only this song would be considered fitting!

Our 3rd Tax Season

Funny how time flies; has it really been three years?   We’ve posted in the past how our 1st and 2nd tax seasons played out, so in keeping with tradition, this post will tell how this year went.

We’ve got some more analysis to do, but here are some of the successes that we are aware of:

  • Approximately 150 clients served
  • 50 new clients entrusted us with their tax situation
  • Revenue growth in excess of 20%
  • Processed returns in 20 states, which is a 18% increase vs. last year

Our Challenges
This year was not without its challenges.  Some of these were self imposed (i.e. possibly setting the bar a little too high) while others were outside of our control.  With that being said, here is what we faced:

Staffing.  In working to grow and serve more clients, you have to add infrastructure.  While we did a good job on the employee screening front, we encountered a issue mid season that required a personnel change.  The biggest problem with this is that it happened mid season so finding a replacement was a little challenging.  However, we successfully navigated that challenge and in this post, our first employee discusses their time working with us.

Testing marketing programs.  This year we went a little big on the marketing front and threw our hat into the ring on multiple fronts.  Problem with this is 1) it cost money and 2) you won’t know what doesn’t work until you test it.  Needless to say, we did find out what made the phone ring and people come through the door.  The downside is that we spent a lot of money to get that education.

Hey, who is that guy?!?!

Hey, who is that guy?!?!

Aggressive projections.  Last year we had a 3rd party source that brought us a sizeable amount of business.  Problem with that is that we based our projections for this year with that business in mind.  Unfortunately, we lost a nice chunk of that business (i.e. the clients didn’t repeat) which of course impacted our numbers.  But the lesson learned is that past performance is not indicative of future results.  So we’ll lick our wounds on that front and come back with a new plan for next year.

In the end, we continue to plod along and we continue to grow.  More clients come to us each year and tell us how glad they are to have found us.  This gives us hope that if we keep acting like the little engine that could, maybe one day we’ll make it to the top of the mountain!