New Tax Technology for a New Tax Season

Who’s Excited for Tax Season?

I am.

It’s my favorite time of the year!

I know it’s a sickness. But when else do you have such dedicated time and connection with your customers? And if you’ve done your off-season meetings and your tax planning right, it’s not a big deal. You just have to manage the extra day-to-day busyness.

I once heard someone call it opportunity season and harvest season. That makes sense to me. After all, there are opportunities all around with the cash flow to match.

This year, I am especially excited as we change up our technology. You know I love to do this! For 2017, we’re adding Scan and AutoFlow to our process. Every year I find something new to focus on that will improve our process. I make sure that whatever new tax technology tools we use integrates with our current software. I always recommend that firms should do the same and regularly evaluate their processes.

At New Vision, we signed onto Scan and AutoFlow a couple of years ago, but have had some starts and stops. With the best intentions, we started with the goal of implementing them fully but only got about half way due to limited hours for training and other growth opportunities that took priority.

Due to our significant growth, we ultimately hired a tax manager who had used Scan and AutoFlow at her previous firm. She comes fully informed! Now she’s ready to show us how it’s done.

The funny thing is – she won’t go back to any other old school process. And, as a result, she is bringing us along with her.

I love it!

We have been inundating her with other new technologies…both CCH Axcess Workstream (which she had not used before, since she was not on CCH Axcess yet) and yes, other non-CCH products that are integral to our cloud ecosystem. And she is so excited to show us how Scan and AutoFlow is done correctly. So we are all learning new things this year. As a bonus, the conversion for her to go from ProSystem fx to CCH Axcess has been seamless.  Almost no learning curve! I’m not sure why traditional ProSystem fx firms are still hesitant to migrate to CCH Axcess. Come on in, the water’s fine!

We are also going to jump in the CCH Axcess Workstream Pool this year.  We have already been using CCH Axcess Workstream, but my team thinks it’s worth a try to change it up for a new way to assign and manage workflow more quickly. I’m game.

We are also changing up our work papers.  When we were at the annual CCH Connections User Conference in October (#CCHUC16), one of the partners in my session was talking about his work papers that help with Scan and AutoFlow. He graciously shared them with me via email. Why reinvent the wheel when you can get support from a peer and colleague?

Speaking of sharing best practices and insights… Are you attending the CCH Connections User Conference 2017 (#CCHUC17)  in San Francisco this year? I highly recommend it. The registration is already open, and the early bird pricing is available until July 21, 2017. That partner’s insight alone was my ROI. What do you hope to learn?

This will be our fourth season using CCH Axcess. I’m happy to say, we are no longer transitioning. We now know all its tricks, hidden features, and yes, annoyances. Knowing the annoyances makes them well, less annoying. As a result, we feel completely comfortable taking our processes to the next level for even more efficiency and time savings.

Changing tax software is harder than anyone likes to admit.   It’s takes a couple of seasons to get everyone in their happy place. But it’s worth it! I only heard once last season, “Remember the way UltraTax used to do it?” Instead, we have now entered the world of oohs and ahhs. My team is thrilled at checking out the new features and updates and figuring out how they can help us do our job better.

Adapting to new tax technology is always hard, but when you hear the delight from your staff, you know you made the right long-term decision.

And, as a managing partner, that’s the best feeling ever.

For as positive as I am about Tax Season, I’m sure we will have some bumps along the way. It always happens, and it can’t be prevented. That’s the nature of the profession we chose. Personally, I have peace of mind knowing that the CCH Axcess support team will be there. I love that they can just log in to my computer and assist right then or set up a time to call me back.  Especially when I’m trying to get that M-3 done.

And of course, we’ll have to gauge the political climate and how that impacts taxes. It will be an interesting year to see what Trump does in his first 100 days with new tax policy. We can only hope that whatever he changes doesn’t come in March with a retroactive date.  Even, if it does happen I’m confident that it won’t be disruptive. Because remember, you don’t need to interrupt your work to install software updates. I mean, we live in the cloud!

Here’s to a Happy 2017 Tax Season. May all our returns balance, our team members get along, our documents come in on time, and our invoices get paid easily.

I promise to let you know how the above goes in May!

Find out how an integrated, cloud-based system helps New Vision CPA Group stay future-ready. Download the whitepaper “A Match Made in the Cloud” today!

AUTHOR

Jody Padar, CPA, MST

CEO & Principal, New Vision CPA Group

All stories by: Jody Padar, CPA, MST

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