Preparing your clients for EOFY

Prepare your clients for EOFY

Preparing your clients for EOFY

In the finance industry, bookkeepers, tax agents, accountants and financial advisers will be getting ready for the busy season now that the end of the fiscal year (EOFY) is coming up. Bulk SMS reminders, Two-Way Texting and Email to SMS are efficient ways of engaging clients, both individuals and SMEs.

In an ideal world, everyone would have all their records and reports in order before tax time, rather than leaving it to the last minute to organise their paperwork. Notifications are a great way to remind clients to get their documents sorted early on, assisting with the overall process of lodging a tax return.

Keep your clients informed

Communication is essential in establishing and growing trust within professional relationships. SMS is a great way to directly contact clients and cut through the noise during such a busy time of year. And coming up to tax time, putting together a tax return means covering purchases and payments spanning over the past 12 months. It can be time-consuming and easy to forget items or misplace receipts within that period.

When preparing a communication strategy, there are a few things to keep in mind — your audience, your message and your purpose.

  • Personalise your message to your audience, in this case, your clients, by using merge SMS, online messaging templates and contact lists
  • Your message content should relate directly to your clients and their needs
  • The purpose of your message should be clear and transparent, demonstrating how your service is beneficial to clients

Who are your clients?

The stress coming up to EOFY can start to build, and being there for your clients is especially important during this time. Letting them know you are available and have the information they need is the first step in building trust with your clients and easing their anxieties.

Both individual clients and SME businesses are assets to be aware of; they have different needs but ultimately make up the majority of clients within financial institutions.

Individuals

Completing an individual income tax return isn’t overly difficult, however, it does require an extensive amount of organisation, information and time. New technology and online security have made it easier for people to complete their tax return online without the help of a tax agent. However, this may lead to them missing some great opportunities in maximising their tax refund or minimising the amount of tax due.

Qualified tax accountants are experts in covering all the bases, not missing the little details and keeping up with the latest regulations. This ensures individuals reap all the benefits when filing their tax return, in a legal and ethical way.

Small to Medium Enterprise (SME)

86% of companies in Australia are defined as micro, small or medium sized entities. For business owners, coming up to the EOFY can be a stressful time of year. Even if they have a bookkeeper with up-to-date documentation, gathering and organising all the relevant tax data can be complicated.

Understanding regulation changes and industry requirements is fundamental when it comes to lodging a tax return. As a certified tax agent, it is prescribed that clients are provided with relevant information regarding their industry and support in submitting timely documents.

Building relationships

Providing a quality service to your clients makes up only half of what you need to develop a positive business relationship. Anticipating your clients' needs, even if they may not realise it themselves is how to exceed expectations, but even more so, build trust and reliability for a long-term association.

Best practice starts with ensuring your clients are following procedure and are notified of key dates within the financial year (FY). Following a checklist and learning from the year prior can greatly assist in raising awareness for what data your clients must acquire. By using online SMS software, you can send appointment reminders, checklists and personalised messages to specific contacts and/or lists, tailored to their needs.

What do your clients look for?

Selling your firm’s services and establishing clients isn’t just about problem-solving. It’s also about having genuine insights, empathy and understanding of your clients.

Technology - up-to-date technology benefits both individuals and SME businesses, as well as financial institutions. Not only is all relevant information organised efficiently and accessible through automation, but it is also secure. Extra CRM features include direct mobile messaging including Two-Way SMS, Email to SMS and bulk online sending.

Customer service - promptly responding to calls, emails and mobile messages are crucial for building rapport, trust and reliability. Using a language that is understandable to your clients is helpful in connecting with them about how you can help them — financial jargon can become overwhelming, especially during an already stressful time.

Specialisation - if you or your financial institution has a specialisation, it is important this is communicated as it may encourage clients to refer you to others who have similar issues. If necessary, you can charge a premium for specialised services.

Complimentary services - if your firm happens to provide services complimentary, it is to your benefit that you upsell these services to existing customers to ensure they get the most from their experience.

Information - from sharing social media and blog posts to inviting clients to innovative conferences and seminars, keeping your client in the know shows them that you are interested in progressing them and their business and that you are informed on industry climate. This is also a great opportunity to network and build a rapport with clients.

Advice - with an Australian Financial Services (AFS) license, accountants can provide clients with financial advice on their investments, super funds and products.

Partnerships - for trusted referrals and to enhance non-competitive business alliances, you can partner with another firm that provides services you may not offer. This could include legal representation, recruiting needs and technology services.

Don’t forget!

Notify, remind and update clients coming up to tax time with a strategic and informative SMS marketing campaign. Make it easy for your client coming up to EOFY with access to checklists, key dates and complimentary services through direct mobile messaging.

Scheduling is important

Through a robust and secure mobile messaging platform, like MXT, you can organise, schedule and automate messages to directly reach your clients. Using gateway SMS technology, sending a business text reminder to a client with upcoming appointments will save time and reduce no-shows.

  • Online appointment bookings can assist in coordinating document drop-off and pick-up, as well as accommodate those who may request irregular hours due to their work schedule
  • Mass SMS can announce availability for income tax preparation appointments and remind clients to organise and file documents
  • Prevent no-shows and delays with automated reminders in advance with information like a list of what to bring
  • Build a comprehensive customer database
    1. Delegating contact information into demographics can easily establish lists to send specific promotions, news updates and reminders
    2. Follow-up with clients via SMS after tax season can be an effective means of generating online reviews and referrals for attracting new business
  • Retention is enhanced with outreach consistently throughout the FY, even after the busy season

How can your clients get more bang for their buck?

Tax hacks for individuals

Collecting significant data to lodge a tax return over the span of 12 months can be time-consuming. Many Australians miss out on hundreds of dollars of deductions due to forgotten items or misplaced receipts within that period. Empower your clients to receive the deductions they are entitled to.

10 under-claimed tax deductions to remember this EOFY:

  1. Car expenses
    1. Cents per kilometre method - claim 66c per work-related km up to 5,000km per year
    2. Logbook method - for 12 consecutive weeks log all business and personal trips with receipts for all expenses (including petrol, registration, insurance, servicing, interest on loan costs, depreciation and other running costs), calculate business-use percentage, then claim the business-use percentage of all expenses
      1. Your journey to and from work cannot be claimed unless you are required to transport bulky equipment that you cannot leave at work
      2. You can't claim car expenses if you were reimbursed for the same costs by your employer
  2. Home office
    1. Claim 45c per hour towards running costs
    2. Claim actual costs if you have established ad recorded a pattern of use
  3. Travel expenses
    1. Claim costs of any work-related travel and/or accommodation
      1. You must include any allowance from your employer as income on your tax return
      2. Record all travel expenses in a diary and keep all receipts
  4. Laundry
    1. Claim up to $150 per year for laundry expenses without receipts if you wear a branded uniform for work
  5. Income protection
    1. Claim the cost of any income protection insurance outside of your Superannuation
  6. Union and membership fees
    1. Claim registration fees if you're a member of a union or a professional body
  7. Accounting fees
    1. If you paid a tax agent to prepare your tax return the year previous, you can claim the fee you paid as a deduction this year
  8. Book, periodicals and digital information
    1. Claim any educational and trade publications, print or digital, that are directly related to earning your income
  9. Technology
    1. Claim the depreciation of your computer when used for work
    2. Claim a work-related percentage of your home internet use and phone expenses
  10. Tools and equipment (including protective items)
    1. Claim purchases and repair of items that are a requirement for your job
      1. This includes items like non-slip nurse shoes, safety glasses, stationery, etc.

Small business hooks

According to the ATO, accountants are the most commonly used tax professional used by 95% of small businesses who pay for help with their tax and super. Additionally, 76% of SME businesses cite accountants as "the first place they went to when seeking business tax advice or information".

It's a tax accountant's job to ensure their SME clients are fully aware of the industry climate and what they are entitled to for EOFY. For example, whether their client has access to the government’s instant asset write-off. This year, the government has increased the instant asset write-off to $30,000 and extended it past SME businesses to include companies with turnovers more than $10 million but less than $50 million. If approached and planned correctly, SMEs can take full advantage of the $30,000 write-off.

Over 85% of businesses are classified as SME, and so understanding what business owners worry about is crucial to not only fulfilling their tax requirements but strengthening trust. Stress can come from being unsure about meeting tax and compliance obligations, the amount of money they’re making and decision-making around important topics like debt. Growing pains may also occur at times, leading to increased work pressure such as growing demand for goods and services and balancing work and life.

This is why communication is a high priority; it reinforces trust and reliability while creating a personal connection with business clients, showing that you are there to be their go-to person during tax time.

What not to do for SMEs:

  • Fail to plan for staffing needs - poor payment, rostering and recruitment of employees can lead to more harm than good, especially with Fair Work Ombudsman’s focus on underpayment in recent times
  • Don’t forget Single Touch Payroll (STP) - the ATO is moving forward, enforcing STP across the board from all employers this year. This means employers must send the ATO employee salary and wage information, pay as you go (PAYG) withholding and super information for each pay event
  • Don’t make dodgy claims - with new technology and tactics the ATO can more efficiently detect if a business has been cooking its books
  • Nasty surprises - get all documents for lodging a tax return organised before June 29 to avoid nasty surprises

SMSGlobal has a robust business platform that provides SMS messaging features like Email to SMS, texting APIs and integrations, bulk mobile messaging and online Two-Way SMS.

Click here to find out more about utilising SMS coming up to EOFY.