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Tips That Help Ease the Rush of Next Busy Tax Season
Regardless of your experience as an accountant, you might never say tax season is an easy time. It is always challenging to pack the entire year’s work in bulk within a few months, which is not normal at all. It requires tax accountants to work longer days, give up on sleep, and piles of paperwork often take a toll on even the smartest, experienced, and skilled accountants.
Similarly, running a CPA firm becomes difficult, especially when the tax season rush begins to create panic among business owners and their accountants. It is no less than a race against time for professionals to meet deadlines, as tax return preparation may take from a few days to weeks to complete.
Besides, it often becomes stressful to chase clients and help them file taxes on time. Since there are many crucial factors responsible for making the tax season a stressful time, let’s read some tips that will help ease the rush of the next busy tax season.
Expert Tips to Help Ease the Rush of Next Busy Tax Season
1. Three Key Points to Consider
1. Interact with your client as soon as possible: Save time and collect information about your clients as soon as possible. Not only this, after collecting the data, start auditing the client-related work before the year ends. It is easier to work before time so that you have all the required information needed.
2. Client list revaluation: If you have a busy season and get some challenging clients, your job can get really tough because rough clients usually drain out most of the energy or potential. So, it is very important to have a look at the client list and recommend some other place to your D clients. Welcome those clients who are suitable for your firm.
3. Upgradation of tax season process: Always welcome new ideas or strategies to bring modifications to the tax season processes. For example, using six sigma tools and techniques has lessened the time frame to conduct a tax return and streamline the process, so many firms are following these tools and techniques. It is essential to give the details of the process to your staff, and up-gradation can make it efficient and smoother.
– Janet Patterson, VP of Marketing Communications | Highway Title Loans
2. Use Tax Checklists
While tax season is still a bit away, business owners should start to prepare their tax preparation checklist. One of the best things you can do as a business is a move to electronic. If you are still using paper, think about starting to take photos and uploading them to a file on your computer. This stops any receipts from going missing, fading, and it’s allowing you to become more organized.
You also want to be looking at updating any details from employees to contractors. There is nothing worse than chasing details while you have a deadline pending. Therefore, ask your clients to complete the tax checklist before scheduling a meeting with them; this will help make the meeting more productive and will take less time.
eFilers versus Paper Filers
- In 2020, more than 119,544,000 taxpayers have prepared and filed their federal tax returns themselves electronically for the tax year 2019.
- More than 74,808,000 taxpayers have got federal tax refunds faster via direct bank deposits through electronic bank transfers. The average tax refund received via direct deposit is $2,913.
– Ethan Taub, CEO | Goalry & Loanry
3. Do the Bookkeeping as Soon as Transactions Occur
One of the ways to decrease the sense of rushing for the next tax season is to do your bookkeeping as you go. Even if you don’t have access to fancy accounting software, you can do most things in an Excel sheet. You don’t have to be a pro accountant either; ask the person that’s doing your bookkeeping at the end of the year if it’s not you.
There are also many accounting software is out there that are very inexpensive, like Wave or Freshbooks, that can make it even easier. Yes, they cost a monthly fee, but the amount of time these tools can save you is well worth the investment.
Another way to avoid the rushes to take pictures of all of your receipts. Most likely, if you’re dealing with things remotely, you’re not going to send your accountant all of your originals anyway. You can certainly save the originals, but images are all they need to calculate things like charitable donations and medical expenses and factor that into your overall financial statements.
– Jack Choros, CPA | Sophisticated Investor
4. Use Tax Software
Using the latest and up to date taxation software should ease the burden of the overwhelming amount of work the tax season rush will bring. It should also improve efficiency, reduce errors, provide greater organization, storage, and so much more. Typically, the newest software has some improvements over the older versions, which will fix bugs, common complaints, and streamline some processes even further.
It’s also a good idea to prepare your staff for any new updates by having them attend a virtual seminar, take a course, etc. to get them up to speed or act as a refresher.
The global market size for tax software is likely to reach $14,130 million by 2026, which is $8368.2 million in 2020, at a CAGR of 9.1 between 2021 and 2026.
– Jacob Dayan, Co-founder & CEO | Community Tax, LLC
5. Don’t Forget to Do Reconciliation before Tax Season Arrives
If you are the owner of a small business, or you are the accountant for a small business, make sure that the reconciliations are done for the bank accounts and credit card accounts well before tax season arrives.
If expenses were paid with personal funds, make sure you have that information too, and it is entered into the accounting system for the business before the start of tax season. This tip alone will eliminate significant workload and stress for those dealing with small businesses during tax season.
– Gary Massey, CPA | Massey and Company CPA
6. Invest in an Online Scheduler
Good ones cost roughly $15/m and will save you so, so much time. Instead of spending 5-10 minutes per client or several emails back and forth to schedule an appointment, you can just send them your online calendar. They can pick whatever time works for them; then, the software will add it to your calendar and send your client reminder emails, so they show up to their appointment.
– Michael Eckstein, EA & owner | Eckstein Advisory
7. Use an Online Executor Tool
One thing that people don’t usually talk about is handling taxes for estate executors, but almost 3M people die per year in the US, and their estates must be settled by an executor, regardless of estate size.
Handling taxes for an estate can be a bit frustrating and take extra time since the executor is usually a family member who isn’t familiar with the process and oftentimes, isn’t sure about many of the financial details.
Using an online executor tool can help ease the burden, enabling the accountant and the executor to collaborate on organizing and categorizing the information, rather than emailing multiple versions of spreadsheets around and providing an easy way to track requests and tasks. An online tool can also provide reports that summarize expenses and transactions, doing some of the work for you.
– Dan Stickel, CEO | Estate Exec
8. Some Other Essential Tips
- Attend CPE on all of the Coronavirus related measures before January, so you do not have to research when everything is hectic.
- Communicate early with your clients to get information into you as early as possible and tell them that due to the pandemic, both new provisions, and social distancing/mask protocols, it is going to be crazier than usual.
- Design your “new” procedures now for how you will accept documents into your office. Will you accept them on paper? Should your clients upload everything to a secure portal?
- Research now any new software programs or cloud access software that you want to use in your practice. Don’t wait until December or January. Get started as soon as you can to test it out and determine if it is the right fit for you and your staff.
- Plan now for your hiring of new staff, or possibly get rid of underperforming staff. It is a very tight labor market for tax professionals with experience. The leaving employee should be able to find a job. The new employee is going to take some time to interview and get onboarded into your firm.
- Create systems and procedures now for all repeatable tasks in your practice. This will allow you to give these procedures to someone else to handle without you having to take your time to stand over them and explain it.
- If you have staff, use them. Any job, task, or project that can be done by someone else and for which you cannot bill your time at the equivalent of $100-500/hr., then it should not be completed by you.
- Raise your fees. You will be doing more work, answering more questions, and stressing out a lot. At least if you are getting paid more, it will ease the pain. No one should be expecting you to do more for them without paying more for your services. Let your clients know as soon as you can about these increases. Please note: it is ok if you lose some clients over this. With the people that stay and paying you more, the monetary loss should not be much, if any. Besides, those that left did not value you and your services anyway. Hopefully, they were crappy clients as well, and you are finally free.
– Dan Henn, CPA | Tax Resolution Academy
Are You Prepared to Beat the Next Tax Season?
To prevent your efficiency from getting affected and avoid workloads, you may consider outsourcing your clients’ tax returns to take a breath of ease. CPAs who outsource accounting work can scale up as per their requirements. They don’t need to spend on a costly hiring process, which further has stages – recruitment, onboarding, training, retaining, etc.
Are you facing a shortage of resources amid the worldwide economic and healthcare crises? Do you feel overburdened with work in your CPA firm? If so, you may get help from Cogneesol, one of the leading companies in the finance domain, offering quality outsourced CPA tax preparation services to CPA and tax preparation firms worldwide.
We have been delivering quality services to our clients since 2008 and earned a happy clientele. Learn more about our services; contact us today. Call us at +1 646-688-2821 or email at [email protected]. Call us now to get a free trial.
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