Lessons Learned From A Rapid Tax Reform Roll-out
You know that feeling when you’re just going along, minding your own business, and Uncle Sam kicks in the door and shakes everything up? Thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), we certainly do.
But maybe you run a manufacturing company that’s facing regulation changes that will impact your supply chain. Or your nonprofit’s funding sources are being threatened. Sooner or later, you’ll have to rise to the challenge of dealing with circumstances that are beyond your control.
Tax reform has certainly turned our industry on its proverbial head, and in these last few months, we’ve learned a lot. Here are some takeaways you might consider if, and when, a major shake-up takes aim at your business or industry.
Read Also: This article appeared as part of our “The Business Of Our Business” series in the Spring 2018 edition of The Rea Report, Rea’s quarterly print publication. Check out other articles in this series.
Build your army.
We’re a firm of 300 – and many of us tax professionals were chomping at the bit to uncover the details outlined in the TCJA. However, instead of everyone figuring it out on their own, we took a more strategic approach in an effort to be more mindful of our team’s time. Our tax reform army was led by “champions” who were tasked with analyzing specific sections of the act. Champions were then responsible for summarizing and disseminating relevant information to the masses – educating not only our employees but our clients as well. Our “divide and conquer” approach has yielded excellent internal and external tax reform resources designed to provide a deeper level of education.
Educate, educate, educate.
Speaking of education … If your constituents have questions, they’ll be looking for answers. And if you don’t provide them, they’ll find someone else – probably a competitor – who will. Even though we were (and still are) waiting on IRS guidance in a few areas, people are asking questions now. Therefore, it’s been important for us to share TCJA tips and information in a timely manner.
Furthermore, remember that your customers are unique in that they prefer receiving information in a variety of ways. In other words, if you limit yourself to producing a few blogs, you’re really missing out. Here are the mediums we used.
- WEBINARS. By offering a high-level overview webinar and three additional deep-dive webinars, we gave our audience a chance to choose their ideal level of detail. Additionally, attendees were able to ask questions in real-time. Finally, since the webinars were recorded, they satisfy the allure of on-demand content. See for yourself at www.reacpa.com/TaxReform.
- PODCASTS. Like the webinars, our four podcast episodes are available on-demand. These are a bit more conversational and geared toward addressing specific issues within the overall plan.
- RESOURCE CENTER. Putting together all of this information is hard work (trust me!), but by storing it in one place on your website, you will ensure that it can be seen and heard by as many eyeballs and ears as possible. For example, all Rea’s TCJA-related resources – including the webinars, podcasts, blog posts, FAQs and more – are tied up with a bow and shared in our resource center, www.reacpa.com/TaxReform.
Develop solutions to frequent questions.
As soon as the TCJA went live, our clients were asking us two questions:
- How will this affect my tax situation next year?
- What can I do now to get ready?
Instead of reacting to these questions on a case-by-case basis, we set to work to create a comprehensive comparison report that applies 2018 tax laws and provisions to a taxpayer’s 2017 data. This tool allows us to offer clients a thorough analysis that helps them identify an ideal tax strategy, one that maximizes available incentives while minimizing overall tax exposure.
By developing proactive solutions and addressing frequently asked questions, you can position your organization as an authority on any given topic in the of midst new or emerging scenarios. If a new regulation prompts a few customers to ask you the same question, you can bet your bottom dollar that a lot more customers are wondering the same thing. If you can develop a solution or educational content for them before they ask, you’ll be their hero.
To learn more about our strategy and how you might deploy a similar game plan, give me a call at 234.249.3459.
By Lesley Mast, CPA, MAcc-Taxation (Wooster office)