6 Tips Every CPA Should Know Entering Tax Season
The beginning of tax season is always a hectic time for most accounting professionals, but keeping on top of your business during this time doesn’t have to be an uphill battle.
Thankfully, there are things you can do both now and in the off months to ensure that this and future tax seasons go smoothly. With the right tools, you can take a lot of the unnecessary stress out of your busiest times.
1. Keep Your Website Up To Date
Many clients turn to your website as their first resource when tax season arrives. Beyond updating the basics like your contact information, hours, and directions to your office, you need to make sure the rest of your content is current as well.
Since we live in an era of smartphones, you’ll also want to use a website service that offers you convenient mobile templates, so your clients can find you on the go. If you offer tax calculators or other client-friendly tax preparation features, those must be updated to account for any changes in the tax laws.
Likewise, your informational content needs to reflect the current legal landscape. Particularly in light of the recent tax legislation, clients will be expecting to find information that’s up to date and future-focused.
2. Put Your Social Media Posts and Appointment Reminders on Autopilot
Speaking of up-to-date content, you should be sending your current and potential clients email newsletters, social media posts, tax tips and appointment reminders before the tax season begins. You want to be the first person in their minds when it comes time to file.
If it seems overwhelming to produce content on top of doing your actual work, find a product that offers rich, prewritten content that’s automatically distributed for you. Automatic emails and social media posts keep you in touch with your clients year-round without disrupting your busy schedule. And in February, particularly, when consumers start stirring you will be the first person they call.
3. Educate Your Clients
Like most tax preparers, you may be worried that the 2017 tax season will get bogged down with questions about the new tax legislation, and rightfully so. Proactively providing information on what the new legislation does and does not impact for the 2017 tax year can head off questions before they’re asked and is an excellent way to make use of your automated content distribution.
You should also offer information or videos on your website explaining what consumers need to know about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Few of its provisions impact 2017 taxes and you want to focus your clients on filing their 2017 returns before they start worrying about changes for 2018. The right content can focus them on the task at hand and still explain the 2018 changes in more depth.
4. Have Your Staff Trained and Ready
While educating your clients is certainly important, they’ll inevitably still have questions. It’s crucial that your staff is equally educated and prepared to answer them.
Every tax professional needs to always be familiar with any changes in the tax laws. There are plenty of free online courses and refreshers your staff members can utilize to stay at the top of their game and be ready to go as tax season ramps up.
5. Secure Your Client Data
Data security and privacy concerns are at an all-time high. Having security measures in place to keep your client data secure is crucial. The best way to do that is through free secure file sharing that allows clients to upload documents into a secure system where you can then download them. If you choose a website solution that comes with secure file sharing on top of all your content needs, that’s a win-win.
6. Make Technology Work for You
In today’s digital age, you need to be relying on technology solutions that make your work as efficient as possible. Things as basic as scheduling tax appointments need to be easy for your clients, and there are plenty of calendar apps that do just that. With the wealth of software and app solutions out there, it’s time to let the technology handle the administrative tasks so you can focus on serving your clients.
The beginning of the year will always be crunch time for tax professionals, but tax season doesn’t have to be overwhelming. With the right tools in your arsenal, you can provide your clients with the level of service that will keep them coming back each year without adding to your already demanding schedule.