Jan 22, 2018

A Confusing Tax Season Needs CPA Guidance

Maureen RenziBy Maureen Renzi, vice president - communications

With the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, taxpayers have questions, and CPAs have the answers. The timing of the bill’s passage will make this tax season particularly hard because the new rules became effective almost immediately. There was virtually no time to plan and adjust tax strategy for 2018. Plus, no one can ignore the more immediate concern – filing their 2017 return.

PICPA goals include providing consumers with valuable resources for both current and future tax issues and positioning CPAs as the most reliable resource for tax issues. The most effective way we do these is through an aggressive online strategy that incorporates social media, online resources, and Google searches. CPA engagement is critical to the success of this strategy. Last tax season, PICPA’s consumer resources on the web were accessed 55,000 times, including 10,200 views of Ask a CPA, our financial issues Q&A service. Our tax season videos were viewed 42,300 times on social media. Our website traffic trends indicate that those resources will be even more popular this year.

CPA Voice logo: Contribute. Present. Author.With Ask a CPA, members of our CPA Voice, CPA Image Enhancement, Federal Taxation, and other committees are called upon to field questions from the public. The questions are general in nature, and do not require significant research. Our goal is to provide consumers with basic guidance so they can evaluate the complexity of an issue to determine if they need personalized, professional advice. If the questioner determines they need a CPA, we provide links to our CPA Locator to make it easy to find a CPA in their area. Last year, CPA Locator was accessed 4,300 times.

There was a time when recommendations and a website were all that were needed to grow your client base. Today, people also look to see what others have to say about you in forums and search your name on the web to see what results come up. Thanks to active members and the robust resources they have developed on behalf of the PICPA, our consumer-oriented CPA Now blogs and Ask a CPA questions frequently come up in Google search results. When you get involved in developing PICPA online resources, you too can benefit from our site’s robust content that drives significant traffic to our site. Members’ names and firm affiliations are attached to our Ask a CPA answers and CPA Now blog bylines, immediately increasing their digital profile. In today’s business environment, if you don’t have a digital profile, your credentials may become suspect. I’ve had conversations with individuals who question the legitimacy of an expert if they can’t find them on Google. This is no joke! Becoming involved in PICPA’s digital campaigns is a way to build your profile, increase credibility, and gain additional value from your membership.

We know this is a busy time for our tax professionals, so our philosophy is “many hands make light work.” To maintain our resources throughout tax season, we hope to increase our CPA Voice members. The more people who join, the fewer questions each person needs to respond to. If you would be willing to answer at least one Ask a CPA question this tax season, please join CPA Voice. The process is easy, and you manage your volunteer contributions: accept or reject questions based upon your knowledge and availability.

If this sounds intriguing, but you would like to get even more involved by developing messaging, media outreach, and videos, consider joining our CPA Image Enhancement Committee as well.

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