Tax season is upon us and for many tax preparers that means a hectic work schedule with long days and countless client consults. Regardless of your practice’s size, tax season can overwhelm even the most time efficient and well prepared.
In order to ensure a smoother tax season, Edward Mendlowitz, Journal of Accountancy contributor and author of Managing Your Tax Season , suggests 12 procedures that will help you rise above the chaos. Here we share 5 of Mendlowitz’s suggestions:
1. Schedule workflow. It’s important that you anticipate the number and complexity of returns you will be getting and schedule your staff and work days accordingly. You should also anticipate return reviews—who will be performing them and how long will they take? Mendlowitze suggests, “For corporate clients, schedule and prepare returns on a first-in, first-out basis. Call clients and work out times for them to submit information. …A two-week return policy can reduce the number of client calls, work in process, and scheduling problems, and can help speed up cash flow.”
2. Resolve bottlenecks and don’t let returns sit unattended. One of the best ways to improve tax-season efficiency is to examine your current procedures and resolve bottlenecks in order to streamline your process. Now is a good time to consider where returns get “stuck” and what you can do to ensure they don’t sit unattended. Often returns get side-tracked when clients must be contacted for information or verification. Don’t put off resolving these issues in order to move forward.
3. Bill client when return is ready. Mendlowitz explains, “Unbilled tax returns are considered inventory in process. The longer you have them, the less they are worth.”
4. Prepare estimated taxes for the current year when preparing an extension for a client. While the amounts are likely to change, completing this step will save you time in the long run, eliminating the need to remind yourself about the client’s position when estimated taxes are due. And as Mendlowitze says, “It also helps the client plan cash flow.”
5. Ensure effective use of technology. Sometimes purchasing new equipment can help you better manage tax data. Do you need scanning software to help reduce paperwork and improve workflow? Also, tax and accounting software can ensure a more efficient use of time, as long as you and your staff have been properly trained.
Sometimes a little foresight is all you need to ensure a smoother tax season. Try implementing these tips to see if that helps you better manage what might otherwise be a chaotic time of year.
Universal Accounting Center’s QuickBooks Training Can Help
In learning to optimize QuickBooks software, you’ll not only be able to ensure accurate tax returns in a more timely manner, but you can add an additional income stream to your tax practice. You’ll find clients in need of QuickBooks training and help services. You can charge $65 to $95 for your QuickBooks set-up and consultation services. And once your help people get started, who do you think they’ll come to for help? That’s right – YOU! That means you’ll develop a QuickBooks client base that will be more likely to also retain your tax services.
UAC’s Guide to QuickBooks Pro will teach you how to do the basic transactions, how to reconcile accounts, what the program does with its data, and a basic understanding of fundamental accounting principles. We have also included about 18 hours of bookkeeping instruction and a complete detailed presentation of QuickBooks fundamentals. Call Universal at 1-877-833-7909 to begin streamlining your work flow this season!
Mendlowitz, Edward. “Maximizing Tax Season Efficiency.” January 2011 Journal of Accountancy Online