You can take a few different paths to become a tax consultant. The most common route is to earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting, tax, or a related field. Many tax consultants also pursue certification through organizations like the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).
While not required, pursuing additional education and certification can make you a more competitive candidate for tax consulting positions. If you’re interested in becoming a tax consultant, consider the following tips to help you get there:
1. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting, Tax, or a related field.
Good schools to earn these degrees include the University of Phoenix, DeVry University, and Liberty University. It’s a great way to get started on becoming a tax consultant. You can become more than a consultant with a degree because consultants typically have planning skills, but accountants have the knowledge to design more complex tax strategies.
Many tax consulting firms prefer candidates with at least two years of tax experience. You can gain this experience through internships, entry-level tax positions, or by working as a tax preparer.
4. Network with other tax professionals.
Attend tax conferences and join professional organizations such as the National Association of Tax Professionals or the American Institute of Certified Tax Planners. There may even be local tax groups in your area that you can join.
5. Stay up to date on Tax Law Changes.
Tax laws are constantly changing, so it’s crucial to stay abreast of the latest developments. You can do this by reading tax publications, taking continuing education courses, and attending tax seminars.
6. Be proficient in Tax Software.
Many tax consultants use tax preparation software to complete their work. It’s important to be experienced in at least one of the major tax software, such as TurboTax, TaxACT, or H&R Block At Home. You can also use services like Tax Alliance if you’d rather.
7. Have strong Research and Writing Skills.
As a tax consultant, you’ll often be researching tax laws and writing tax reports. It’s important to have strong research and writing skills to succeed in this field.
8. Be Detail-Oriented.
Tax consulting requires a high level of attention to detail. You need to be able to understand and interpret tax laws, as well as have the ability to spot errors in tax returns.
9. Be organized.
Tax consulting can be a complex and time-consuming process. It’s important to be well organized to complete tax consulting projects efficiently and effectively.
10. Be self-motivated.
Tax consulting is often done on a contract basis, which means you’ll need to be self-motivated to find and secure new clients. You’ll also need to be self-motivated to keep up with tax law changes and maintain your tax knowledge.
11. Be able to work independently.
Many tax consultants work remotely, which means they need to be able to work independently with little supervision. This includes being self-disciplined and organized, as well as being able to meet deadlines.
12. Have strong Customer Service Skills.
Even though you may not have direct contact with clients, it’s important to be able to provide excellent customer service. This includes being responsive to client inquiries and providing timely updates on the status of their tax return.
13. Be a team player.
While you may work independently, you’ll often need to collaborate with other tax professionals. This means being a team player and effectively communicating with others.
14. Be able to handle stress.
Tax consulting can be a stressful job, especially during tax season. It’s important to be able to handle stress and maintain a positive attitude even when under pressure.
15. Be honest and ethical.
As a tax consultant, you’ll be handling sensitive financial information. It’s important to be honest and ethical to maintain the trust of your clients.
16. Be patient.
Tax consulting can be a complex and time-consuming process. It’s essential to be patient when working with clients and explain things so that they can understand.
17. Have a positive attitude.
Even though tax consulting can be challenging, it’s important to have a positive attitude. This will help you build relationships with clients and maintain their trust.
18. Be proactive.
Tax consulting is a fast-paced field, so it’s crucial to be proactive to keep up with the latest changes. This includes being proactive in your research and staying up-to-date on tax law changes.
19. Be flexible.
Tax consulting can be challenging, so it’s essential to be flexible. This includes being willing to work long hours during tax season and being able to adapt to changes in tax law.
20. Be passionate.
Tax consulting is a complex field, so it’s important to be passionate about what you do. This includes being interested in tax law and staying current on tax law changes. It also means being committed to providing the best possible service to your clients.
Using and following these tips can help you on your way to becoming a tax consultant. However, keep in mind that tax consulting is a highly competitive field. Pursuing additional education and certification can make you a more attractive candidate for tax consulting positions.