Get your ducks in a row…and don’t let those fluffy buggers waddle off

minute read

Last Updated September 28, 2023


Happy New Year! Looking back at 2022, both staffing and technology were big challenges for most firms.

Raise your hand if you turned to new technology or other alternatives to help with the lack of staffing for tax season. I hope you did your evaluation early! And hopefully, you have all your technology implemented, tested and trained by now. Or are at least in the final stages. Evaluating and implementing new tech in January is kind of the equivalent of a Hail Mary. (You know, the play where the quarterback throws a football as hard as they can toward the end zone, just praying that someone on the right team catches it.)

Even if you haven’t implemented new software to assist with tax season, technology itself is a key player in tax preparation. I remember a tax seminar I presented in 2008. I asked which software the attendees were using. One gentleman (probably in his 40s) shared that he prepared all his returns by hand!

He also left before the lunch break. He obviously didn’t believe in technology for tax preparation, so I’m assuming he’s either out of business or attended a more inspirational seminar and became a believer.

Put those ducks in their places

These final weeks of January are your last chance to make sure your tax process is organized. And to make sure all staff are on the same page. Here are our last-minute recommendations for getting your ducks in a row (aka organizing your technology) this tax season:

  • Document your entire tax process. At this stage, it doesn’t have to be detailed. Just make sure you have at least an outline that shows how work flows into, through and out of the office. Make sure to list staff positions and technology used at each step.
  • Hold a final staff training. Before the end of the month, conduct one last staff training to ensure the staff member at each position understands their part of the tax process and has an overview of the entire process.
  • Capture feedback in real time. Encourage staff to make notes throughout the season to capture feedback in real time. At the very least, note what worked well and what didn’t—although the more organized and detailed the notes, the better.
  • Make a full list of all the technology you use in the firm. Take notes on what works well, what needs improvement and what needs to be replaced, so you’re organized coming out of tax season.
  • Schedule a debrief meeting. Get a meeting on the calendar now for after tax season to celebrate tax season and gather feedback and ideas. Most firms have these meetings in May, while tax season is still fresh in everyone’s mind.

Technology for tax prep resources

If you’re a Rootworks member, we have resources to help with many of the recommendations shown above. Visit our online learning library to check out our 1040 and business tax flowcharts, the Tax Season Scorecard, the Evaluating Your Technology tool and our Meeting and Event Planning Checklist. You can also check out our tax season staff training webinars on the events page.

We have a lot of free resources available for non-Rootworks members as well. From blogs (like this one!), on-demand webinars and eBooks, you can find it all here.

Tax season is here; it’s time to get excited! If you just can’t bring yourself to get excited, then let’s just say it’s time to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and brace yourself for the next few months. Let’s make 2023 better than 2022.

You can do it!

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