[IMGCAP(1)]Every year, accountants and tax professionals brace themselves for the inevitable tax season.

For many, unfortunately, tax season means putting on hold lucrative consulting work that can diversify revenue and bolster firm growth throughout the year, in order to handle the mountains of personal and business tax returns. However, tax season provides the opportunity to sit down with the majority, if not all, of their clients.

These meetings can be excellent chances to deepen client relationships by reviewing financials and offering proactive financial advice.  Here are a few things that accountants and tax pros can do to capitalize on this opportunity that tax season provides.

1. Craft a game plan for adding value to your tax season engagements. Seek tangible ways you can help each client that you will come in contact with for tax purposes. At a minimum, identify five to 10 clients you’d like to target for selling additional services as you leverage the financial information that is provided from their tax return.

2. As you review your clients’ tax returns with them, keep in mind that they are still concerned about the ability of their business to perform and grow. Ask questions that will draw out their concerns. For example, you could ask, “Is your current cash flow enabling your business to hit its growth goals?” By continuing to keep the trusted advisor hat on, your firm will be able to identify more lucrative opportunities to expand its services as tax season comes to a close.

3. Though tax returns focus on the past revenue of your clients, stay focused on providing business recommendations for your clients’ future revenue. Fight the temptation to put your head down and push through tax season. Always be thinking about strategic ways that your client can improve their business. Though your firm is busy crunching through tax returns, your clients still need proactive advice.

Point out a few areas where your client’s financial metrics lag peers, and discuss the services you can offer once tax season is over in order to help them gain ground. Or give the client some good news by pointing out the ways in which they are outperforming peers and by offering to help them capitalize on the momentum.

Zach Meyer is a consultant at the financial information company Sageworks, which offers a new Electronic Tax Return Reader for its ProfitCents software.

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