And I've got way too late filers this year!
Next year, I’d like more clients to arrive earlier in the year. Here are the improvements I’ll be making for next year so that I’m not doing dozens of returns when the deadline hits:
1) Reminder calls. Each client will get a reminder email, letter, or call monthly until their information arrives. The reminders will begin when we know their last information has arrived; for example, a client waiting for an October K1 won’t need a reminder before September.
2) We have a guarantee system: If we receive our client’s organizer by date X, we will complete by date Y. The guarantee usually works to get most clients information in, but some don’t always read the organizer. The reminders will include a reminder that our guarantee to complete by the deadline only applies if they send in their information early.
3) Restructure our fees to allow reduced prices for early filers and slow period filers. Any client who has all their info in Jan or Feb should get a discount. Any client who sends all their information on 30 Nov and expects it to be done by 15 Dec is insane.
4) Too many returns this month? This is why I usually put off doing reminders. We’ll still do our reminder calls, but let them know there’s a queue ahead of them.
5) More staff. It’s time to hire some more support staff to do the reminders and handle the voluminous incoming information that will result.
A lot of companies, when faced with lots of tax work to do, hire tax preparers or accountants to do the work. But these are very expensive employees. If someone can be trained to do a task in a day, it's a task that doesn't require an accountant to do. Chances are, when there's too much work to do most companies have enough accountants to handle it. What they don't have are people to do the repetitive non-accounting tasks that are filling up the accountant's day.