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Just one man's opinion here. I just completed my first year as a HRB tax preparer, so I have some insight into the business of HRB, but no stock yet. That's where next year's stock option plan comes into play.

I agree that the overall concept of a financial supermarket is nice, but how do we get the customer from my desk to the stock/mortgage broker?

All we are trained in is how to do most basic tax returns. That first year is really non-stop training from the more experienced preparers in the subtleties of the tax code.

We are tasked with doing many things with minimal training, like closing the customer on Refund Rewards, the new additional services, etc.... It takes a special breed to be a good salesperson, not everyone can do it, so it seems to me that a VERY important part of the business is in the hands of amateurs being forced into a role that they are not well-prepared to do.

Granted, some folks take to it like a duck to water, but realistically, if we were such good salespeople/ closers we'd be making alot more money selling cars or something. Seven bucks an hour that first year is not the way to get rich.

To me THAT is the real missing link... getting the customer from my desk to someone else's who can fully answer all of their questions and sell the sizzle, not the steak of the mortgage/stock end of the business.

We are nearly all part-timers either retired, in a seasonal job (like house painting), or college students (like me). It is nearly impossible for HRB to find and retain top notch closers under their current way of recruiting, training, and paying the front-line folks who go "belly-to-belly" with the customer. It's too seasonal of a business.

I haven't thought of the answer to this yet. I can only identify the problem. The tax business is a GREAT way to introduce the client to the other HRB services, but it is an opportunity that is being squandered.

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