The Wealthy Accountant Forum

General Category => How to Become a Wealthy Accountant => Topic started by: Chris on August 07, 2018, 10:11:17 AM

Title: Tax Preparation Training
Post by: Chris on August 07, 2018, 10:11:17 AM
With the goal of launching a tax preparation & planning business next year, I'm exploring training options, certifications, and how to set myself up for success.  Other than preparing my own tax returns, I have no prior experience or knowledge in this area. There are a few routes I could go:

1. Tax Preparation Training: Through franchises such as Liberty Tax or H&R Block. Training cost is minimal. Time commitment is approximately 10-12 weeks and 40-60 hours. At the end, a participant may get a certificate for completion.

2.  Annual Filing Season Participant:  Issued by the IRS, they recognize individuals who obtain 18 hours of training and pass a tax law refresher test. This is not exactly a certification, but it's recognition from the IRS that you've continued your education in the field.  There are many private organizations out there that offer the 18 hours of training, many are under $100.

3. Enrolled Agent (EA):  Requirement to pass 3 exams.  I've heard good things about the The Fast Forward Academy training, which is $450.  Looks to include 10 hours of material, and I'd probably have to invest some additional hours studying.

Would love to hear thoughts from the group!  With the amount of hours required for options 1 and 2, I'd rather put that time towards option 3 as it gets me the best credentials. BUT, is it practical for someone with no prior experience to go straight for the EA?
Title: Re: Tax Preparation Training
Post by: KeithTax on August 09, 2018, 08:40:47 PM
Chris, I have a preparer moving up to an EA in my office . I bought her the Fast Forward program. The EA exam isn't easy, but then again it designates you have a minimum of tax knowledge. Keep in mind if you don't take the EA exams this year they will change radically next year to incorporate H.R. 1 (Tax Cuts and Jobs Act).

For the record, I got my first formalized training at the H&R Block course over 30 years ago. It's basic, yet valuable in building basic tax skills. I've come a long ways. We all started somewhere.

As for the time requirements, you get out what you put into the program. Rather than focus on time requirements, focus on proficiency. Time needed to become proficient depends on several factors, all unique to you: current level of tax knowledge, tax aptitude and learning speed.

I recommend the EA because you can then represent clients before the IRS up to appeals. It's the most valuable designation.
Title: Re: Tax Preparation Training
Post by: Joshua on July 27, 2019, 11:45:57 PM
Hey Keith,

I'm pursuing my EA license now, working at a CPA office and finishing up school. I'm taking all these courses but quickly finding out I'm not learning anything (proper term may be retaining). I need more hands-on to feel like this type of material will stick but haven't had the chance. Long story short I want to open my own firm within the next five years. What would be the best course of action to get some more hands on? Are there any courses you recommend that really helped you out after you became a CPA.