How to Find Your First Job as a Tax Preparer
By Tim Frye
With the use of turbo tax exploding in the last five years, and the “big guys” of the tax prep industry still around and going strong, the tax preparation business is as competitive as it has ever been. In this competitive environment, how do you get your first job as a new tax preparer?
Read this article and we’ll give you tips on finding your first tax preparation job. There are more than 1 million people tax preparers in USA. So you must find a way to distinguish yourself from the crowd.
Who Do You Know Who Works in Tax and Accounting Field?
There is a saying that getting a job is all about “who you know.” This is pretty true as far as the tax preparation industry is concerned. Knowing someone who owns a tax office ore works in a tax office would definitely be your best bet to get started as a new tax preparer.
Fortunately, if you spend some time thinking about it, you should not have too much trouble finding someone who has a connection with this industry.
Maybe there is an office in your neighborhood, maybe your aunt knows someone, or maybe your sister’s ex-boyfriend is an accountant.
Cast a wide net and ask around for people who can help you break into the tax prep industry.
When seeking to make a connection, don’t make it all about you! Remember: all employers want to hire someone who will do great for THEIR COMPANY, employers don’t want to just give you a job because you “need a job.” You must show that you can provide something to the employer and you must approach your job search with this attitude to give yourself the best chance of being hired.
Busy tax professionals are always in need of a good apprentice, so emphasize when you are meeting people that you are willing to learn and willing to work hard and earn your stripes.
Find a Mentor Tax Preparer to Teach You Things
Any preparer who has survived their first year of tax preparation and lived to tell the tale surely benefited if they had a mentor by their side, as with any walk of life.
Having a mentor when you are first starting out doing taxes is especially helpful due to the complications of the tax code, and also the penalty that you can pay for butchering a tax return.
During the first couple years doing taxes, a mentor can show you the ropes, the ins and outs of the tax code, and the parts of taxation that you need to pay the most significant amount of attention to in order to be of the utmost assistance to your client. The veterans know the tricks, those honest loopholes that can save your client thousands with the click of the mouse.
And trust us, clients do not mind if you double check a lot of your work back with your in office mentor or manager, because they will feel confident and comfortable that you are making sure everything is accurate and in order.
When seeking your first tax preparation job, look for someone who can not only hire you but mentor you to some degree and get you up to speed on the business.
Keep in mind, too, that people love to teach other people. You can give your mentor an opportunity at the same time that you are giving yourself an opportunity. It’s a win-win!
Emphasize Your Education as a Tax Professional
When you complete Pronto Tax Class, you have completed 50 chapters of tax knowledge! You have put in a good amount of work to learn the basics. Be prepared to emphasize your education when applying for jobs.
Show that you have engaged with the material, be prepared to talk about tax topics, surprise potential employers with your knowledge—all of these things will make that first impression that you want.
Meanwhile, never stop learning. If you are in this for the long run, start studying to become and Enrolled Agent or a CPA if you qualify and have the time. These pathways of further certification and education will lead to fatter pockets and larger client lists in the end, and will also give you leverage with your employers when looking to evaluate the growth of your pay scale.
No matter at what level you’re looking for a tax preparation job, though, whether it’s your first job or your fifth, every employer will want to work with a tax preparer who is constantly learning because that’s what it takes to be successful in this business.
If you are a Pronto Tax Class student who has done well with our course, we sometimes give a letter of recommendation or connect you with other contacts in the industry, to try to help you get your first job as a tax preparer. So don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have completed Pronto Tax Class and are looking for your first job. Obviously we can’t guarantee anything but we are always happy to see what we can do to help our students get started as tax preparers.