Tax season can be the best time of year in your firm or the worst and how you prepare can mean whether your business, profits, and reputation pumps you up or deflates you.
As such, running your tax practice as efficiently and thoughtfully as possible will help you have a successful season and year. The following are some key tips to have the most efficient and productive season that you can:
1. Use Powerful Technology: Yes, powerful technology can be expensive; but there is a cost-benefit one should consider before ruling it out. For one, tax software that can integrate with accounting software, depreciation software, document/receipt storage, electronic signature, tax planning software and even email can save you an amazing amount of time.
Tax software which can allow individual returns to share data with personal returns can help identify information which may not have made it into the paper files – even possibly stopping something that could have resulted in an amended tax returns or tax notices down the road.
Hardware such as multiple screens or large split monitors can allow you to see source documents, input screens, and the resulting tax returns all at the same time. No more wasting time flipping back and forth.
2. Set Client Expectations: Whether you are working on business or personal clients, set the expectations for what you expect from them before you begin on their work. For business clients, send a client assistance package detailing the items needed for your preparation and the date you wish these items to be ready. These items may include access to the accounting system, their trial balance, bank reconciliations, proof of inventory, etc.
For individual clients, ask them to review the information they sent you last year, the best way to do this is for you to send out a client organizer or list of information and make sure they provide each of those things again or have a reason why they did not. For all returns no matter business, individual, estate, etc, prepare an engagement letter outlining the understanding of work to be performed so both client and firm are on the same page.