Three tax client types that are critical to understand
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Three tax client types that are critical to understand

4 years ago · 2 min read

Your tax practice sees a lot of traffic, no doubt. Clients of every stripe pass through your doors seeking your guidance on all kinds of things. While every CPA tax practitioner is at the ready with good advice and service on all things tax, many go above and beyond with additional planning services. There’s even the occasional left-field question about the best restaurant in town or which university seems best suited to their kids. Over time, you’ve come to identify the personalities of your clients, and you might have noticed that many fit into some broad client types. Do you recognize any of these?

The Procrastinator

You might have sent them an organizer, followed up with a call or email or even seen them around town. But despite your efforts to remind them (or perhaps because of their own busy lives), you don’t seem to be able to get their information until late in the season. Sometimes a little too late.

There could be many reasons clients run behind getting their information to you. That includes receiving their own paperwork late from employers, partnerships, etc. But that doesn’t help you when it comes to crunch time. Stacks of returns remain to be completed and make it hard to work with a client who just walked in the door with proverbial seconds left on the clock.

Maybe it’s time to talk to this client about an extension. With tax reform making its prime-time debut, the 2019 filing season is expected to be one of the most extended in recent memory. Using this handy FAQ, you can quickly walk them through the process of why they might need to extend.

The Family-Oriented Client

You probably have a whole group of clients who have become fixtures for your practice. Maybe even friends. You know their kids’ names, where they’re thinking about vacationing or perhaps even what kind of new car they bought.

The family-oriented client is a treasure for you. They’re fun to work with, friendly and rock-steady. They might also be trying to tell you something. You’ve seen their tax returns. You know what they’re facing financially. Maybe during those conversations talking about the son or daughter going off to college in a few years, you could offer more than a friendly ear?

You can better serve your clients and get even more from these client relationships — and others — by taking the time to ask a few well-placed questions and listening carefully. This guide on growing client relationships through expanded services will help you get things moving in the right direction.

The Sophisticate

You know these clients well. They’re curious, sharp and have a strong command of tax issues. They even keep an eye on the news and ask you questions about recent legislation. They might lay out scenarios for you to ask what the change might be to their tax exposure, cash flow or risk.

These clients appreciate your expertise in ways that can get you very excited about your work. When someone “gets it,” it’s easier to explain your assertions and guide them in the right direction. Because they’re able to see the big picture, they might enjoy the information you can offer them in the tax reform quick reference guide, an overview of some of the major changes in tax law for the 2019 filing season. The guide is available to Tax and PFP section members as well as those with the PFS credential.

It’s true there are far more than three types of clients, and some seem to fit their own categories, as well. Since you’re always speaking with different clients with different needs, there are additional resources available to all AICPA members in the Tax Practitioner’s Marketing Toolkit that can address a broad range of clients and their situations. Make your next client interaction one that everyone can benefit from.

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