Is there a Hispanic customer in your future?

For those outside of the metropolitan areas with many Spanish speakers, the chance may seem remote. But it’s clear, having seen enough Hispanics in my rural Southern Indiana hometown to justify holding a Hispanic food fair, that things are changing in many places.

And for tax preparers that translates into challenge and opportunity.

A visit to the booth at the New York IRS Tax Forum of Latino Tax Services, headed by Manuel Alvarez, who has put together marketing materials to explain the American tax system to Spanish speakers, produced a map that predicts just how dramatically the Hispanic population will rise.

Alvarez has an interesting product called Multi-Tax that enables preparers to handle multiple tax years within the same application. But whether that product is as promising as it appears to be, the real message is that in a market where there is little growth, the Hispanic market is one where there are people with unmet needs, but also different experiences with government and different assumptions about how the system works.

Certainly, I didn’t think my high school and college Spanish would prove useful in my day-to-day life. But it has been useful virtually every day at work in Manhattan and many days on our street in suburban New Jersey in talking to the families of our daughter’s friends. It has helped to have tools to understand others. And in business, one of the keys to success is such an understanding since few people are exact matches for our own experiences and views.

Of course, there are Hispanic preparers to serve Hispanic customers. But it would be a terrible shame if we only have Hispanics dealing with Hispanics simply because opportunity should have a broader base.

Not everyone needs to run out and immediately learn Spanish. On my street, with many Asian neighbors, it’s a little late to also master Mandarin and Gujarati. But there is a need for businesses to have resources to grow and in many cases, having someone in a business that can handle the needs of Hispanics and the software that will make the task easier.

 

 

 

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