After a banner year in 2017, interest in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency is higher than ever. But there’s one time of the year that crypto isn’t very popular: tax season.
Since the IRS considers cryptocurrency to be property, that means every single purchase, sale, trade, or mining effort is taxable. And that means that CPAs who understand the crypto space and can educate and support active investors can build a lucrative new niche if they know how to reach the right prospects.
Although some traders are taking their chances with simply not reporting to the IRS, that’s not a good (or sustainable) idea. In fact, the IRS has recently begun taking steps that would make it easier to collect taxes on crypto on the future. In 2016 they served a summons to the digital currency exchange Coinbase for the records of over 14,000 users who have “bought, sold, sent or received at least $20,000 worth of bitcoin in a given year, according to CNBC. This summons was recently upheld, so it’s looking like dodging Crypto Taxes and Accounting won’t work for much longer.
The good news is that there’s now definitely a gap in the market for CPAs that specialize in cryptocurrency to help traders navigate tax season, among other things. But the only way to get word of your crypto specialization out there is some savvy marketing. Below is a roundup of ways to get started.
This isn’t a necessary step, but it’s often a good one to take. Especially if you’re a crypto novice, acquiring some Bitcoin yourself is a good way to understand the ins and outs of cryptocurrency. It’s a good chance to learn about how the blockchain works, the nitty gritty of converting fiat to crypto and vice versa, and common issues and concerns.
If you really want to set yourself apart from the competition, start meeting potential clients. Plus, it’s a good way of accepting cryptocurrency as payment for your services. That means you’ll get access to crypto, and it signals to clients you’re serious about planting yourself in the crypto space.
Find some experts
If you don’t want to plunge into the world of cryptocurrencies with your own money, it’s still a good idea to meet others in the community. Finding blockchain experts, for example, is one solid way to get started. These don’t necessarily have to be other CPAs in the space — an advisory firm that specializes in blockchain implementation is a good candidate, for example. These experts will not only be able to effectively answer any questions you have about crypto and related technology, but also will be able to give you a better perspective on what services your future clients will be interested in and what questions they are likely to have. If you can’t find these experts in person, the internet is your friend. Read everything you can — research is important!
Network, network, network
Once you feel prepared enough to be able to comfortably talk with clients about crypto, you’ll need to lay the groundwork for a successful marketing effort. That means you need to find your audience — and that might be trickier than you think.
A good reputation passed along by word of mouth is a great asset, but it doesn’t just come out of thin air.
First, make sure your online presence is robust. If you have a website, make sure to mention cryptocurrency on the first page. Many professionals now have a blog, where they post thought leadership articles or tips for clients and other readers. If you don’t have a blog, platforms like Medium are a great option that’s available for everyone. Pull together a couple of posts (a good example is here) and promote them on whatever social media you use to connect with your clients, whether it’s LinkedIn, an email list, or even Twitter. The more people see that you’re seeking out crypto clients (and you know your stuff), the more likely you are to actually connect with those clients.
Of course, an “if you build it they will come” attitude can’t be your only strategy. You should also make an effort to find clients yourself, and that can be as easy as firing up your computer. It only takes a little bit of Google searching to figure out where communities of crypto enthusiasts congregate online. Plenty of forums dedicated to Bitcoin exist, like Bitcointalk.org. Searching Reddit’s /r/CryptoCurrency is a way to get started too. Even finding some big names in crypto on Twitter, following them, and engaging with their tweets will start to get you integrated into the crypto community.
Build a reputation
The next step is to be responsive and participate in these communities. You never know when a question that’s in your wheelhouse will pop up, and by consistently answering questions you’ll start to build a reputation. Don’t limit yourself to crypto forums either — well written Quora answers or even Facebook comments are good too. After all, you never know who will see it. Keep your eyes peeled for opportunities to promote yourself, too — one recent Reddit post collected information about tax experts with Crypto specialization to create a directory. Getting yourself added to as many of these resources as possible will help your marketing immensely.
This isn’t to say that traditional marketing techniques can’t be useful too, particularly if you live in an area where interest in crypto is particularly high. You don’t even have to have a really large budget — if you have twenty bucks and a good idea of your audience you can take advantage of Facebook’s targeted ads feature.
Keep at it
It’s important to remember the crypto space is relatively new, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t get a lot of interest right away. Remember to be persistent and diligent about getting the word of your services out. Crypto isn’t going away anytime soon, and with the IRS promising to crack down soon traders will need the guidance of experienced CPAs more than ever. Good luck!