Many tax season frustrations are unpredictable: last-minute legislative changes, IRS delays and disorganized clients can all wreak havoc on a CPA firm. However, there is still a lot that firms can do to prepare and optimize their workflows so they can be ready for everything tax season throws their way.
When evaluating new technology to prepare for tax season, most CPA firms make a point talk to other similar firms to get an honest opinion about the pros and cons of a potential solution. Professional tax software reviews don’t always capture the full, day-to-day experience of using the software, so word-of-mouth is an important way to find out what works and what doesn’t.
Here are just a few tips shared by firms, in their own words:
- Automate wherever you can. Technology that flows scanned data into tax returns can save time for preparers and reviewers.
“For a return with brokerage statements, the automation can save an hour or more for each one. That means that we can do more work without adding staff members (and in fact reducing the need for temporary staff) and that makes for higher profits”
Joe Sachetta, CPA/PFS, CFP, MBA, MST
Sachetta & Callahan, LLC
- Go paperless. Your firm doesn’t need to be limited to local clients – or local staff.
“We take our expertise to wherever our clients are, resulting in clients all over the country. Paperless technology and electronic tax returns are especially important to us, given our logistics, with regard to clients and our multiple offices.”
- Use electronic signatures. Basically a combination of “automate” and “go paperless,” electronic signatures can take the hassle out of getting Form 8879 signed and returned.
“Clients will go in immediately when they get that email and sign the return within hours if not minutes… That is a big improvement over our administrative team telephoning clients multiple times. It may not seem like much to call one client, but calling 300 clients takes a lot of time.”
Jaynes Reitmeier Boyd & Therrell, P.C.
- Centralize your client data. Minimizing the number of databases housing your client data helps ensure addresses and other data are always up to date, so you don’t have to make changes in multiple places.
“It’s hard to even imagine how much time you waste that way until you’re not wasting it anymore. Then you realize this was something we didn’t foresee being a great benefit, but it turns out it’s a benefit from admin all the way through to reviewers.”
Frank Stitely, CPA, CVA
Stitely & Karstetter, PLLC
- Get in the cloud. Cloud-based software lets you be flexible about when and where the work gets done.
“We work so many hours during tax season. If people want to work in the office and then go home and have dinner and then work again in the evening from home because of the cloud, that’s a win-win for them and for me. It helps us all stay more productive and prevents burn out”
Trisha Crombie, CPA, MBA
President and Founder
Trisha Crombie & Associates
To read more about how firms are finding success using technology, download our Many Faces of CCH Solutions lookbook.