Sending client organizers has become a self perpetuating process in many accounting firms. The idea is that the clients fill in the complex multitude of lines with their own tax information and return the whole multipage document to you for tax preparation. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work out.
Clients use organizers in three different ways:
- What’s this? It’s just a bulky reminder that it’s time to get their stuff in to you. Most of these come back unused with the usual pile of paper and receipts.
- Oh, it’s that time again. These clients use it as a guide to what you need but never fill in any more than their new cell number and maybe the birth date of the newest exemption. Some may fill in a few of the lines but it’s incomplete or incorrect so you still need to refer to the source documentation.
- Wow, Cool! The royalty of the client world, they not only fill it out, they complete it and it’s all correct. I always wondered why we’re doing their return in the first place since they’re obviously capable of doing it themselves.
What if we changed our approach and matched the mailing to the client’s needs? It would look something like this:
- Send the first group a postcard, flyer or letter. It will remind them to bring in their records and, with careful wording, it can reinforce your relationship with them while meeting their needs.
- The second group would benefit from a one or two page checklist of the items required. Some organizer programs have an option to print a checklist instead of the full organizer.
- The third group likes the organizer, so keep sending the package and be extra nice to these clients. They’re precious!
Sure, it’ll take some time on your part this tax season to choose which group your clients fall into. But, once you’ve done that, you can send them the type of communication that meets their needs without wasting your resources.
If you’d like help with setting up a new organizer communication system or some pointers on what to put into them, please contact me and we’ll get started.