Love them or hate them, taxes are essential to our way of life. Don’t believe me? Let me know how you feel about taxes next time you need to use a public service. Regardless of how you feel about taxes themselves, there’s one thing we can probably all agree on: filing tax returns takes a special kind of person. One must be alert, knowledgeable, and able to spot mistakes; additionally, the need to have a high tolerance for paperwork. If this doesn’t sound like you, there’s no need to worry. This is precisely why people hire tax consultants. However, if it does sound like you then it may be time to consider a career in tax consulting. To help you decide, here’s a list of important personality traits of successful tax consultants.
1. Knack For Solving Problems
If you are a natural problem solver who enjoys challenges like games, puzzles, and word problems, you may find yourself right at home as a tax preparer. This position will involve solving an array of problems for your clients, and thinking critically on your feet is absolutely necessary.
2. Be Personable
Part of the job is convincing strangers to trust you with their most intimate secret: their finances. To be successful at this, you need to be as personable and accommodating as you can. To do so, I recommend two things: a thick skin and a sense of humor. The former will help you ignore the noise and keep your eye on the prize; while the latter will help you deflect any negativity or resistance and potentially net yourself a new client. Nothing will build a longer, more lasting business relationship than forming a genuine connection with a person. Once you show them that they can trust you, they will.
In addition to being personable, you will need to make decisions that are in the best interest of your client. This requires getting to know them from a strategic perspective. What kind of business are they running? What are their goals? What accounting tricks are most suitable to their needs? You should make answering these questions a priority with each client you work with.
3. Cultivated Communication Skills
In addition to founding your business relationships on trust, you also need to focus on communicating effectively in a clear, concise, and relevant manner. The more effectively you communicate, the more comfortable your client will feel.
4. Maintain Confidence
Hey, no one said this job would be a walk in the park. Some of the most difficult situations you will ever encounter could confront you out of the blue on this job, and when they do, it is up to you to maintain confidence and work through it like the brilliant success machine that you are. Doing so will make you more credible in the eyes of your client, which is great for retaining their business, bringing in new clients via positive word of mouth, and contributing to your own personal development.
Like credibility and confidence, the ability to stay motivated when the going gets tough will benefit both you and your client. This means that you have to keep yourself focused and stay on task, especially if you work remotely, as the tendency to procrastinate is why many aspiring tax consultants lose potential clients.
6. Attention To Detail
The ability to be consistently accurate with an eye for detail is essential to the daily repertoire of a successful tax consultant. Can you imagine what would happen if you crunched a bunch of numbers for a client, only to find out that they were inaccurate? What would this do to your credibility? To avoid an embarrassing scenario similar to this one, cultivate your attention to detail until you naturally strive for consistency while maintaining an open curiosity and desire to solve problems as they present themselves.
This trait may come as a surprise, but creativity is indeed an essential trait of many successful tax professionals. Ideally, you would employ creative strategies when attempting to solve various problems for clients. Keep in mind that few problems in the real world will be as cut and dry as they are theoretically. If you are more analytically-minded, one way to encourage creativity is by keeping your surroundings neat and tidy, as this will help you to think more abstractly about whatever problem you are tackling.
Although it is important to be accommodating to your client’s needs, it is also important to know when you need to put your foot down. This pertains to any time you are owed money for an unreasonable amount of time, or if you are defending your honor against a baseless accusation. In either case, it is important to stand by your principals and let your client know exactly why they are wrong, even if this means that they seek out a new tax consultant.
This one seems kind of obvious, but it is by far one of the most important qualities as it connects to nearly every other trait on this list. As a tax consultant, when you have insight into how your clients manage their money, honesty and integrity are of the utmost importance. This is some of the most personal information in your client’s entire life. Believe me, speaking the truth is much easier than getting tangled in a web of lies, and in this line of work, integrity goes a long way.
As a tax consultant, accountability is important in terms of maintaining both client confidence and business accuracy. Additionally, it is important for your sanity to remember that human error is natural and not everything can be perfect. Being a successful tax consultant is about striking a balance between accuracy, precision, and honesty. This means it’s all right to admit when you have made a mistake, as long as you own up to it and work to assure that it does not happen again in the future.