Accountants are no strangers to change. Though addition and subtraction never change, small business CPAs deal with shifts in business practices and tax regulations all the time. New laws and new clients bring unseen challenges, and CPAs routinely use their ingenuity and training to overcome these business hurdles.
Rapid-fire technology changes
Like many industries, the world of small business tax accounting services has changed dramatically with the introduction of software and hardware technologies. These new technologies allow us to do our jobs quicker and more accurately than ever before. Most notably, cloud accounting has become the hallmark of 21st-century change within the accounting industry. We no longer need to email spreadsheets back and forth (though some of us remember when we had to carry our “books” and files back and forth), as data can now be shared in real time between accountants and clients.
The advent of cloud accounting and the proliferation of tax software for tax professionals has changed the landscape of our day-to-day operations. It can be tough to keep up, but failing to stay on top of these technology changes can allow more modern, agile companies to outpace you. Don’t let other firms serve clients more efficiently and more conveniently than you.
Dramatic change in pricing model
The accounting marketplace has pivoted definitively toward a value-based pricing model for services. Instead of charging a flat hourly rate for whatever services a client requires, the price of each service is set based on the perceived and actual benefit to the client. For example, because of your expertise and know-how, you might be able to solve a very expensive tax problem for a client with one 10-minute phone call. You could simply charge an hourly rate for that phone call, but the benefit to your client is much greater than that time-based compensation.
Value-based pricing comes into play most frequently in negotiating specialized services. While it may be a new concept to your clients, you may find they prefer value-based pricing for its clearly defined outcomes. Also, they don’t have to worry about getting charged for every phone conversation and meeting.
Legal changes and ethical standards
It’s no secret that tax law is a complex and ever-changing animal, and tax accountants are the brave souls who wrangle this beast. We also must keep up with small business regulations and all the other intricacies that affect our clients’ financial health. As accountants, we are charged with accurately and honestly representing federal and state laws and implementing them for our clients — a responsibility that is layered with ethical decision-making and an almost endless stream of regulation and red tape. Simply review the Tax Ethics & Professional Standards page of the American Institute of CPAs, and you’ll see the myriad issues facing tax accountants almost daily. It’s the reason accountants work together to stay current and keep one another accountable.
Now we’re bracing for a change in political leadership that stands to significantly shift the proverbial ground under our feet. When President-Elect Donald Trump takes office, his administration could alter the small business tax landscape, causing a need for us to familiarize ourselves with new ways of doing business. It’s not clear yet what adjustments may be implemented, but whatever happens, accountants can’t miss a beat. We will research, study, plan and adjust, just like we always do.
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