5 Deep Flaws of Corvee Tax Planning

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5 Deep Flaws with Corvee Tax Planning Corvee Review

Is Corvee worth it?

Does Corvee result in numerous highly profitable business opportunities?

In this article I'm going to provide a critical review of Corvee Tax Planning Software, because it's  extremely hard to find an honest review of software that has lots of affiliate links, like Corvee.  

I’m going to cut right to the chase here, I’ve worked with scores of accountants that have used  Corvee Tax Planning Software, and I have guided them away from it because the thousand dollar a month investment is just a little bit off.

And that isn't to say that my review of Corvee is only because I believe it's too expensive, that just isn't the case. I actually believe it's a helpful tool when used within a well rounded business model, which I will discuss further in just a minute.

My greatest concern is that Corvee seems to have decided that tax planning is one of the most valuable things to a business owner. In fact, it has created a tool in order to clearly convey the financial value of your advice.

Corvee Tax Planning Software is really good at attaching a value to your tax planning advice.

There are five additional problems with their approach and coaching model that I want to call out here. I would like to invite anyone who is trying to build a super profitable and scalable accounting firm to connect with us and take a look at our consulting, websites, marketing, and search engine optimization as an alternative to a piece of software like CORVEE that really only helps you once you’ve gotten in front of somebody.

Do I personally recommend Corvee Tax Planning Software?

I don’t want to waste your time, so I’ll just mention that no, I don’t recommend investing in the Corvee Tax Planning Software. I believe that tax planning can be done without it, and that it actually becomes a bad incentive as well as a manipulative tool that your cynical business clients will more than likely spot from a mile away.

Aside from that, there are a number of other misaligned value propositions within the overarching Corvee approach and coaching model.

So, what do I recommend?

I recommend that business owners get really good at communicating. Ultimately, business owners want to find ways to save in taxes with protection from the IRS and other risks while they build a more profitable and scalable business, and at the same time deeply engaging their clients businesses. If a solid communication is established, this will lead to bigger and better opportunities.

To be quite frank, there are about 10 things I would spend $1,000 a month on before I would invest in the Corvee Tax Planning Software, including our coaching program and search engine optimization set up.

You might ask, who am I to write a critical review of Corvee?

My name is Rob Satrom and I am the owner of Feedbackwrench web design, marketing, and search engine optimization company.

We help construction, home services, accounting firms, and bookkeepers with their websites and marketing.

The best business model for accounting firms.

All of us can agree that businesses deserve more from their tax accountant.

I’ll cut to the chase, tax planning is important, but it’s only one small part of what’s truly valuable to a business owner.

In fact, I believe that tax planning is only helpful in creating a financial margin for your business owner to afford your outsourced accounting services.

Tax planning is essentially the payment plan for your services.

Here at Feedbackwrench, we recommend that accountants deliver on an outsourced accountant model, where they take on a leadership role with their client, and provide a stack of services that we have found are incredibly valuable to small business owners.

So, what's included in this outsourced accounting model?
  • You’ll clean up their bookkeeping entirely and establish a pristine chart of accounts.
  • You will take a snapshot of their accounting, tax and financial position.
  • You'll create a comprehensive tax reduction plan for the current year as well as the business owners future.
  • You will do their bookkeeping every month and provide useful reports to help build a more scalable business.
  • You'll help them pay in their taxes each month so they don’t fall behind on tax payments.
  • You will provide advice as though you were their chief financial officer, helping them scale their operations according to their plans.
  • You will close out their year in books and financials to a very high degree.
  • You will provide in-depth guidance before year end, in order to reduce taxes, and invest for the future.
  • You will do their business and personal tax returns correctly.

In essence, rather than just being a tax planner and bookkeeper, what you’re going to do is relentlessly pursue their best interests and help them build a more profitable and scalable business.

Deep flaws of Corvee Tax Planning Software

#1 You don’t need it for tax planning

You should ask yourself:

  • Are they maximizing an S Corp?
  • Are they taking the proper reasonable salary within their S corporation?
  • Are they writing off their healthcare plans and benefits?
  • Should they hire their children in their business and take advantage of tax savings?
  • Should they buy a building and utilize depreciation or cost segregation’s and shift income from their S corporation over to a holding company with the real estate?
  • Are there tax credits available that they should be looking into?
  • Can they take advantage of the Augusta rule?

These are all questions, that Corvee will help you tackle, but so could any line of great questions.

Corvee is truly a series of questions you're asked about your tax return to determine whether or not certain strategies would be applicable to you.

Besides serving as a checklist about tax planning strategies, Corvee also provides you with an estimation, along with a beautiful future value calculator to show the savings.

Showing tax savings is incredibly valuable.

It might sound silly, but my years of experience with high-end wealth, planning, and investing have taught me that a simple one sheet breakdown can really clear things up for a business owner.

There certainly is value in the actual Corvee tax plan print out, but it’s definitely not necessary.

Besides, there’s a deep flaw when it comes to a print out like this.

What’s this deep flaw in the Corvee tax planning print out?

Everything on that tax plan will change throughout the year.

No business owner truly understands what their profitability is going to be at the end of the year. While a stable business might have a grasp on how they tend to perform throughout the year, they are going to be looking to you not just for quick strategies to mitigate taxes, but also for you to provide insight on what kind of budget should be used in order to build a more scalable business.

Because the expenses and income of a business shift dramatically over time, a one time tax plan is actually quite unhelpful, except for the simple checklist of basic tax strategies.

At the end of the year, the customers I talk to that use Corvee end up realizing that it really just serves as a good reminder about simple tax strategies that you should be spending time on with your customer.

Are they paying themselves the proper reasonable salary for the S corporation?

  • Should I make a profit share contribution or an employer side contribution to SEP, IRAs, and 401(k)s?
  • Should I hire my own children?
  • Should I purchase new equipment?
  • Can I depreciate equipment or real estate?
  • Have I done everything possible in terms of deductions?

The problem with most of these tax strategies is that they are incredibly dynamic and an initial tax plan fails at capturing those unique dynamics.

In other words, things change so much throughout the year that you're really only left with one thing while using Corvee. They provide a simple checklist of tax strategies to ensure that you don't forget them.

While there’s certainly tremendous value in communicating how much you’re going to save, it is my  opinion that it all just misses the mark.

Any tax plan you make with Corvee is going to change tremendously throughout the year and you’re going to have to make dynamic changes.

If you need to make dynamic changes with your client, then you’re certainly going to be spending more time on their books and accounting.

This all leads me to the conclusion that it would be better for you to use your sales abilities, trust, equity, and opportunity to sell an ongoing outsourced accounting retainer model rather than a tax plan model.

In my opinion, tax planning is one small part of the overall value propositions for a business owner.

#2 - It’s only as good as your inputs

Besides the fact that your tax plan will shift and change throughout the year according to the dynamic nature of business, that tax plan is really only as good as the numbers you put in there.

Again, this leads me to the conclusion that the primary value of the Corvee Tax Planning Software is a simple questionnaire to pique your curiosity, or to remind you of tax strategies that you should be looking into.

I've talked with numerous accountants who have told me that they've gotten into weird situations where the tax plan projection plan that Corvee has provided them is drastically different than what reality is.

That’s a projection, it's relatively easy to overcome in your overall relationship with your customer, however, it creates a bad incentive as well as an opportunity for a missed expectation.

A bad tax plan can often set a bad expectation with your customer which will ultimately set you up as the loser in the long run.

Again, I think there’s a place for Corvee, but I know of a number of alternatives that don’t cost $1,000 a month. These other options avoid the problem of setting huge expectations with your customer that you might not be able to deliver on.

To a degree, financial planners find themselves in the same situation when they provide future value calculations for their investments, with a continuous compounding interest assumption.

Do you show a customer an investment with an awesome future value calculator that makes them a millionaire over 30 years.

Then the market shifts, and you need to make a ton of dynamic changes within that assumption.

Not only do your assumptions change, but your actual strategies will probably need to be updated.

After a rocky or tumultuous period, the customer returns to the investment advisor, only to criticize them about what they previously promised that isn't even close to occurring.

While wise customers understand that the investment advisor can’t promise or even slightly guarantee that their assumptions within the software are correct, it still leaves a bad taste in their mouth  and sets them up for having low expectations.

I believe that positioning yourself as an excellent steward of your clients’ business is much better than setting future value expectations, or promises, about expected tax savings that may or may not happen.

I’d rather be able to show retroactively that I have saved my client a bunch of money in taxes rather than come to them, promising something only to have to constantly change my forecast and strategies as their business tries to scale.

Promises vs. Stewardship

I guess that’s one of my primary criticisms of the Corvee sales approach. With them, you are promising something to your customer rather than setting the expectation that you’re simply going to try and ensure that they do everything possible throughout the year, and over their lifetime, to pay as little in tax as possible.

To me, it just feels better to teach your customer a more wisdom-based approach to tax planning rather than just making a big promise.

Great tax planning is done each and every month, dynamically throughout the year

#3 - It’s a bad business model vs. the outsourced accounting model

Corvee teaches their customers to sell a high cost tax plan based upon the amount of taxes that they will be able to save their customer.

Not only is selling a tax plan filled with missed opportunities, I believe it also sets you up to fail.

The Corvee business strategy creates an adverse dynamic between the accountant and their client.

“If you pay me money, I’ll help you not have to pay the IRS as much”

The entrepreneur inside of me hates bureaucrats and deeply despises that I would have to pay you in order to not get screwed by my government.

Not all business owners view it this way, but you need to be careful, because ultimately you are lumping yourself in with one of the major problems within our American society.

When you strictly sell tax planning, you are part of the administration class within our United States that exists only because of government.

Why should I have to pay you so that I don’t get ripped off by the government?

That dynamic is dampened within the outsourced accounting model, but it certainly still exists.

I won't delve any further into the topic, but it seems unethical to me that you could potentially earn a substantial amount of money by merely guiding me through government red tape and bureaucracy.

Business owners hate that, and I think that it sets up an improper dynamic between you and the client.

The right dynamic is that they empower you to be their outsourced accountant who helps them build a more scalable and profitable business while being compliant at the same time.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the missed opportunity.

I already mentioned that a great tax plan requires dynamic commitment throughout the year because income along with great tax planning calls for engagement all year long, and a nimble ability to shift strategy.

Corvee recommends that accountants work throughout the year with their clients, however, that makes you have to go back to the well and sell again.

The biggest problem with the Corvee business model is that it spends all your trust equity on the wrong service.

You should try to sell monthly outsourced accounting services with a high retainer, rather than one big tax plan.

The ongoing service is better for your business model, it’s better for your customer, and it’s really what is required in order to achieve the promise that this Corvee tax plan is setting up.

Business owners, by nature, are a cynical group mainly because we understand what it actually takes to create and execute, and we don’t take too much stock in promises made by people.

For a business owner, the proof is in the pudding.

As a business owner, it doesn't feel right when someone approaches you with grand promises such as using a magic wand to reduce your tax burden in exchange for a large upfront fee. The idea of magically eliminating tax liabilities seems unrealistic and dubious.

In my opinion, marketing an upfront tax plan feels wrong and distasteful.

Not all clients may feel this way, but I assure you that what I’m describing is real. It is one of the dynamics at play that undercuts accountants using the Corvee business model.

I would much rather explain to my client that I am going to be engaged in their business throughout the year. For a flat monthly fee, I'll handle all of their accounting, bookkeeping and tax, and also provide them with aggressive tax reduction planning as well as CFO level guidance.

That service lands well and taps into things far more valuable than tax savings.

Simply buying some knowledge from me with a gigantic promise of massively reduced taxes, sets up a bad dynamic between you and your customer.

If you know something that can help them save in taxes, why wouldn’t you just help them and let them know about it?

I’d much rather come in and add massive amounts of value, show them where they’re missing tax mitigation opportunities, and then come alongside them as their outsourced accountant for a large monthly retainer than to sell them a tax plan that is flawed as at its core.

Remember, this is predicated on the belief that a tax plan cannot be something that is simply one and done, tax planning is something you do throughout the year.

As I mentioned above, tax planning is a dynamic service because sales, expenses, and business will fluctuate.

As a potential customer interested in tax planning, I would be frustrated if you presented yourself as an expert with valuable insights on tax savings, but then deliberately kept that information from me. It would be extremely upsetting to think that you were withholding crucial knowledge for your own benefit.

I believe the better way is to perform a simple, free analysis on a business owners’ tax return & books, then share with them the strategies that they are missing out - and do it free if charge.

Those tax strategies are the thing that you’re going to use in order to position yourself as a better alternative to their current tax and accounting provider.

You can utilize the potential tax savings to provide more benefit than their current provider, as well as a way to pay for your highly valuable services and guidance throughout the year.

The savings of your tax plan is like a payment system for your outsourced accounting and CFO services.

I don't mean to suggest that the Corvee approach never works. However, I have spoken to numerous Corvee customers who report being stuck in a repetitive cycle where the set-up doesn't feel right for the business owner. As a result, they either reject the tax plan altogether or the accountant has to offer a significant discount or include it as part of their ongoing services.

Again, I built a multi million dollar accounting firm from scratch, and I’ve actually been in the trenches selling this stuff.

Selling a one-time tax plan can create an unfavorable dynamic, just as working with clients who have significant back taxes and haven't filed tax returns in a while can create a negative dynamic.

That’s not to say that you can’t make money doing it, or that it’s not a necessary service, I’m just saying, it creates bad incentives, and dynamics between accountants and their customers that are unnecessary.

I just think there’s a better way.

#4 - It spends a lot of your trust equity that could have landed a long term monthly retainer.

When you make a recommendation to a client, you're spending your trust equity.

You can almost think of it as a bank full of coins that you are going to leverage in order to guide a client in a certain direction.

I always recommend that people position themselves as guides to their customers. This helps them achieve a better future, but it doesn’t mean that you won’t be asking for a close or pointing them in a certain direction, which will spend some of your credibility & trust equity.

Don’t spend your trust equity with your client asking them to buy into a large tax plan.

In short, it feels a little bit like extortion.

If you’re going to have your client do one thing, why not have them say yes to an all encompassing service that they truly need, and one that generates a much larger sale for you?

In the end, you can end up serving as more of an ongoing chief financial officer and outsourced accounting department, rather than a simple tax strategist, or traditional, bookkeeping, and tax service provider.

Corvee has done a decent job of explaining that there are flaws within the traditional accounting service model; however the shift towards their own software and strategy as the solution, is something I simply don’t agree with.

I would much rather use my trust equity, built with my customer, to encourage them to sign up for a monthly retainer where all of their problems get solved.

If you do it my way, you’re not going to have to ask for another sale.

Many accountants lack the necessary sales skills to close more complex deals, and once they've spent their trust equity on a one-time tax plan, they often become entangled in complications and find it challenging to create a mutually beneficial outcome while requesting additional billing.

Customers don’t leave their highly effective tax accountants.

There’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a long-standing relationship, that lasts for decades, with your business clients.

When you get your client to say yes to an outsourced accounting retainer, you will get a client that will pay you over the long haul rather than a one and done tax plan.

I really don’t think it’s a good idea to only look to your own interests in this matter, but look to the best interest of your customers.

I’ve seen both of these types of engagements in action, and I assure you that the outsourced accounting model, and the outsourced CFO model are far superior for your customer.

In fact, if you do not serve as their outsourced accountant and help them build a more scalable and profitable business, other providers will creep in and see the opportunity and fill the gap.

#5 - Large opportunity costs $1,000 a month

Lastly, let’s talk a little bit about the price of Corvee.

Ultimately, I think that it is a really beautiful projection tool and that it will help you remember tax strategies that you should bring up to your customer, but I certainly don’t think it’s worth $1000 per month.

I would recommend investing in an outsourced bookkeeper to improve your operational efficiency, allowing you to focus on higher-value tasks such as optimizing search engine content, producing engaging YouTube content, creating a more visually appealing website, enhancing your advertising efforts, acquiring more clients, or a variety of other activities that would be more beneficial than spending $1000 per month on software alone.

For most accountants, the primary challenge isn't getting lost in the details of their clients' books and tax returns. Instead, the main challenge lies in identifying opportunities to improve their services and attract new, high-quality clients. This involves selling the benefits of a streamlined service that provides value to both the accountant and the business owner.

The goal in your firm is to add as much value as possible to your customers, within a scalable scope of work, so that you can build an amazing accounting firm that has incredibly high margins and generates the type of lifestyle that’s advantageous.

I think you would be much better off spending that thousand dollars per month on a bookkeeper that can come in and help you with all of your clients, or on lead generation services with Feedbackwrench.

Given all these factors, I believe that Corvee should be given a pass. Instead, I suggest that you take note of their approach and use it as a learning experience to develop a superior solution for your customers and a more effective business model for your accounting firm.

You deserve a better business model, and your customers deserve a better service .

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