Following the speech, Bob moderated a panel discussion about the future of the tax profession in a changing financial world. With the combined experience of Jaye Tritz, Mark Hyma and Gene Bell – the panel focused on the major issues facing the tax industry today: How do you stay relevant and not only keep your existing clients, but reach new ones?
After all, we live in a world where you can say, “Alexa, order my usual pizza,” and dinner shows up 45 minutes later. Similarly, if you’ve ordered something online recently and discover it won’t arrive the next day, you might find that you get a little annoyed. Why? Because the 100 million Amazon Prime members have a new expectation, and they apply that to every other shipping scenario they encounter. Your last best experience becomes the new standard.
How does that translate to holistic financial services? Simple: Technology has shaped the way we do things, causing us to change our behaviors. With the rapidly changing consumer expectation in mind, it is more critical than ever to evolve to your tax practice. The tax and financial services industries have reached a point where the risk of staying the same is greater than the risk of rising to change.
“You have to be able to serve clients on their terms. Because if you’re not going to, they’re going to find someone who will.” – Bob Oros
Mark Hyma encountered this firsthand when he started adding tax-smart wealth management to his practice. “I will tell you honestly that if I didn’t offer financial services, then I would no longer be in this industry [tax preparation]” Mark said. “Adding [holistic] financial services to my practice made it viable in so many ways…gave me different revenue streams, access to clients that I would not have otherwise gotten.”
However, since we’re talking about adapting to change, it’s important to make a distinction that Gene Belle points out: “Even though customers want to spend more time with their smartphones, they still want a relationship. It’s just how we deliver that relationship, which is why it’s important for our office to stay relevant.” In other words, you need to change your approach, but not what makes you unique. There’s still a focus on experience.
Embracing technology once doesn’t mean you’re finished adapting your practice forever. Technology is constantly evolving, and in order to stay relevant in the future, you need to think about what you want your practice to look like. As Jaye Tritz said: “We should think five years down the road — what will your practice look like and where will your clients be?” If you want to best prepare your practice for the future, watch this panel (and read the highlights below).
As people acclimate to new technology, the old ways of doing things aren’t becoming quaint, they’re becoming obsolete. But, according to the panel, there are a variety of things you do to stay relevant:
— Update your website
— Offer new ways to communicate with you, including video calls and texting
— Grant clients access to an online portal to view their accounts
— Offer holistic financial planning services
— Advise your clients on tax-smart investing strategies
While technology is a great thing, offering convenience and scalability, Bob made an important distinction in the panel about overdoing it. “You have to be really clear about what you’re getting on the other side,” he said. “It can’t just be tech for the sake of tech. You have to solve problems, create client experiences and create business opportunities.”