Tax season can be the most endless, time-consuming and stressful time of year for tax professionals nationwide. Hours of the day become booked with heavier workloads, leading to less sleep and more anxiety for you and your team.
Fortunately, as hectic as tax season can get, there are ways to keep some of the stress in check by making use of the latest and greatest tax software and best practices used by tax professionals today.
Read on as I cover three recommendations for processing your tax return faster and more efficiently each year.
Take advantage of tax automation software
It’s likely your firm already uses a range of software solutions every day that cover your needs well enough. But have you thought about which features are missing from your current workflow that additional software could address? As an example, here’s a hypothetical—yet all too common—situation for tax professionals:
- A number of your clients still give you physical stacks of tax paperwork that add up to hours of sorting, research and verification.
- If not handled efficiently and promptly, you face processing delays (and possibly worse) for these returns.
- The trouble is your firm is short-staffed—and facing a mountain of work. Which means high volume plus not enough staff equals not enough hours in the day.
So, what can you do? This is where tax automation software can make a world of difference. These solutions can help cut down on the repetitive parts of your team’s workload and make your lives much more manageable during the busiest time of year.
Some of the most popular tax automation solutions include SurePrep® and GruntWorx. Both allow you to expedite the organization of source documents. You can automatically categorize each scan and upload them into your firm’s tax preparation software.
Keep source document exchanges secure with client portals
While we’re on the subject of modernizing your tech stack with tax automation tools, let’s take the opportunity to make sure cybersecurity is also a top priority. As you work with clients online, it’s your job to ensure that all their information is kept confidential. Fortunately, several solutions are available that can make the process smoother for you, your team and your clients.
I’d recommend making use of client portal technologies, such as ShareFile or Onvio Client Center. These services create a secure platform for you and your clients to share tax documents and collaborate on those documents in real time. The best among these services will include security features like password logins, data encryption and cloud synchronization to allow you and your client access to the latest edits no matter where either of you are located.
Let your firm’s administrative staff help you
You’ve already got enough on your plate handling tax filings for multiple clients during this busy time of year. The best use of your time is to ensure your clients’ taxes are filed correctly, not getting bogged down in administrative work and other tasks that could be delegated to other employees.
That’s why I strongly recommend appointing someone at your firm as the Client Communications Manager. This person should be detail-oriented and, of course, have refined writing and communication skills.
A Client Communications Manager can become the central hub for all messages sent to your firm’s clients. If, for example, you lack a client’s personal information to file their tax return, you can relay this issue to your Client Communications Manager, who can then reach out to your client on your behalf. Client Communication Managers can also handle deadline reminders, filing status updates, office information and more, which frees up your time and energy so you can focus on your tasks.
If no one at your firm fits the bill to move into the Client Communications Manager position, consider hiring someone to fill this position. It could also be handled through virtual assistant programs, where an assistant can be hired even if they don’t work in your office (or live in the same city as your firm).
Expedite your tax return processing
Equipped with the right tech stack and the best practices available today, you can help make the most stressful time of year go a bit smoother. And the more efficient you can be at processing a tax return, the more you’ll foster a positive client experience all year long.
Interested in hearing more time-saving tips on making your tax process more efficient? Join me at Empower 2023, where I’ll be hosting a working session with Susan Lange to help professionals like you work smarter, not harder, and provide an opportunity to share the practices that have worked for you. Register today!