Passing the EA Exam is a significant accomplishment. Becoming an Enrolled Agent puts you in an elite group of tax preparers. You hold the most significant credential in the tax industry and have the authorization to do more on behalf of clients than those without an EA designation.
Once you’ve earned the designation, the work is not over. Clients and employers will not just begin magically calling you. Here are 3 ways to leverage your EA status to gain clients.
Put it on everything
You worked really hard to become an EA, and will have to go through continuing education to keep that status. Make sure everyone knows that by adding your EA status to things like:
- Business cards
- Email signature
- LinkedIn profile
- Hang your certificate in your office
- Flyers and marketing materials
- Your website
Educate potential customers on what the status means
Most people don’t really know that there are different types of tax preparers. Just putting your name and EA next to it, may not mean much to a taxpayer. It’s important that you communicate the difference and explain your qualifications. There are several ways you can do this:
- Explain what the EA status means on your website
- Add a line to your business card that says something like “EA, unlimited IRS representation rights”
- Explain the designation on your LinkedIn profile
- Include information about the EA designation on promotional materials
Important things to communicate would be the level of education you received, what full representation rights mean, the ethical standards you’re required to adhere to, and what unlimited practice rights means.
Market your services to people with more complicated forms
As an EA, your tax knowledge obviously goes well beyond Form 1040EZ. While you don’t want to turn anyone away, it’s more lucrative to market your services to individual and small business taxpayers with more complicated tax situations. The more complicated the form, the more money you can charge. You will have a more successful tax season if you market your expertise to client who really need your services rather than clients who are more likely to self-file using tax software.
Bonus Tip: If you are an EA or aspiring EA, consider joining the National Association of Enrolled Agents.
From my experience as a tax business owner and as founder and manager of the LinkedIn group, “Tax Business Owners of America” with over 8,000 members, there is a shortage of qualified tax preparers. Make your qualifications known and you will be sure to succeed. Many independent tax businesses are seeking experienced tax preparers who also meet their other employment criteria, such as having good people skills, a good attitude and work ethic, as well as the ability to instill confidence in their clients and to work effectively with other employees as a team player.
As Ben Franklin said, “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes.” Therefore, there will always be a need for competent tax professionals.