RTS #056 Tax Planning is a Team Sport

It might be a bit more accurate to say tax planning CAN be a team sport, but the best advisors are absolutely getting their team involved in the tax planning process. Of course everyone can get on board with the idea of delegation, who doesn’t want to assign repetitive work to someone else? But particularly on a technical topic like taxes, the hurdle can feel too high to be worth the time to get the team up to speed.

Continuing to do everything yourself is certainly an option, but this week, I wanted to share some ideas I’ve heard from advisors who are successfully getting their teams involved and leveling up the value that is being delivered to clients:

  • Start with the basics – you don’t need tax knowledge to get started on helping with tax return reviews. This can be as simple as having a team member compare the personal information on the top of page one of the 1040 to the information in your CRM. Anyone can do that. An easy next step would be picking specific line items from the tax return for the team member to add to a spreadsheet or directly in the CRM. Start with lines 11 (adjusted gross income) and 15 (taxable income); again, no tax expertise is required.
  • Make it personal – this is true for any planning you are doing, but a great step in team training is going through their own situation with them. Every one of your team members pays taxes, have you reviewed their own tax return with them? This becomes a value add for the team and will help accelerate their understanding of the tax return as they get involved in the process. Your team members likely don’t match your client niche, but there are going to be familiar elements on the return regardless of their specific situation.
  • Provide resources – this can be internally developed and informal (a checklist, a spreadsheet, predetermined times when the team knows they can ask questions) or structured and from one of the many great industry resources on taxes (yes, we are partial to RTS resources but we hardly have a monopoly). The important part is that you make the investment (time and/or money) to provide the resources and show the team your commitment to tax planning and their role in it.
  • Share the wins – again, applicable beyond just tax planning, but team members are often disconnected from the impact on clients when they don’t sit through the client meetings. Make sure you share success stories with your team specific to the assignments you are giving them. Talk about taxes saved, penalties avoided, and appreciation expressed by clients when it comes to taxes. Just like clients need to see value from requests you are making of them (like sending in their tax return), your team is going to produce higher quality when they understand the value that is being delivered.

Make sure you are being intentional with how you involve your team and how you continue to support them as they level up the way they help deliver massive value to the clients you serve.

Happy Tax Planning!

P.S. One of the best resources you can provide is:

About The Newsletter

The tax code is 80,000+ pages and Google has 875,000,000 results when you search “Tax Planning”, so each week we are going to help you wade through all of that noise and get to the Relevant Tax Stuff.