Cary Stover is a small business owner who runs a successful professional services firm. Stover, like thousands of other CPAs, is putting in extra hours at work between now and the looming IRF tax filing deadline of April 15th.
During the off season, Stover runs his business virtually – paying for a top-tier business address and telephone number at prominent business address in Campbell, CA – while he works from home. The benefit is a professional receptionist to answer his calls, low overhead to run his company and access to offices and meeting rooms as needed.
To manage the high volume of work and client appointments during the hectic tax season, Stover upgrades his existing agreement with his virtual office provider, Regus, and secures a full-time private office for three to four months each year. He’s been scaling up his business as needed for a number of years and says it’s the most cost-effective, flexible way to run his company.
For those CPAs who run their business mainly from home but need a more professional location for client meetings during tax time, here are some tips to keep your business running smoothly during this demanding time period:
Scale your Business: One of the costliest expenses for a business is property costs. Long-term agreements on a fixed amount of space would be wasted money for Stover, who doesn’t require a full-time office year round. Having access to space when needed allows him to be more efficient with his capital expenses. Technology allows CPAs and other business professionals to be fully functional any where at anytime. And, many enjoy the work-life balance a home-based business offers. Utilizing a flexible workspace provider gives professionals the ability to ramp up or down as their business needs change.
Maintain a Professional Image: Even if you work at home, most professionals do not want their clients knocking at their door and sitting down at the kitchen table for a meeting. Distractions by children and or pets do not project the right image and can impact productivity. Meeting space can be reserved in a shared office environment for any amount of time. Clients will be greeted by a professional team who can ensure a smooth meeting.
Outsource Office-Related Tasks: As a Regus customer, Stover can use pay-as-you-go services such as administrative support he could use for invoicing during tax season. When compared to adding headcount, Stover suggests this is an affordable way to add support staff during peak tax season. This will boost productivity and allow you to focus on your clients’ needs.
Work Closer to Home: One of the benefits of working from home is the elimination of a stressful commute to work. However, there are instances when a change of environment can help your performance. Drop-in business centers offer membership to its space that allows individuals who work from home the opportunity to connect and socialize with people from a variety of industries. Stopping into one of these locations in between meetings can lead to new business opportunities and will prevent the feeling of isolation, which can come up occasionally when working from home.
Have the right technology: If your business employs multiple people, make sure you have the technology platform in place that allows coworkers to communicate. A breakdown in communication can slow down the performance of the company and jeopardize the customer experience. Make sure you have collaboration software to help your workers stay in touch. If you have a remote workforce, scheduling video conferences or Skype can keep workers connected.