Tax season can be the most stressful time of year for accountants and bookkeepers. But, thanks to cloud software, it doesn’t have to be this way.
As with any task, when you have the information you need, right there in front of you, it becomes significantly easier to get the job done. It’s the same with closing a client’s books. It’s easy when the documents you need are at your fingertips.
The trouble is client’s often neglect to get you the documents you need, when you need them. This slows you down, reduces your ability to control your schedule and creates a mountain of catch up work. This culminates in a tension-filled tax season.
In this series, we’ll be discussing the five strategies for reducing tax season stress using the cloud. The first step is cultivating consistent habits.
Let’s jump in…
Cultivating Consistent Habits
Schedule Bank Reconciliation
To reconcile a client’s books, transactions have to be updated with the correct information and documents attached. By scheduling this on a regular basis, it acts as a forcing function to make sure your client’s financials are organized.
Regular reconciliation changes the nature of tax season.
Instead of scrambling to do catch up for the year, the work is spread out across the year and closing a client’s books at fiscal year-end requires almost minimal time investment.
Over-Communicate Expectations to Clients
There is no such thing as over-communicating.
We say this all the time at Hubdoc.
The same goes for your clients. Get into the habit of over-communicating what you need from
clients. This is vital for driving efficiency in your workflow and sets client expectations around how they should work with your practice to get best results.
For example, setting the expectation, up front, that clients are responsible for snapping photos of receipts as they are incurred will save you hours of work when it comes to tax season; no playing catch up! It’s all about delivering a great accounting product for your clients.
Minimize Reliance on Client Promptness
Every accountant and bookkeeper has that one client. You know the one. They never get documents to you in anything that could even be remotely defined as a timely fashion.
They’re not completely alone in that though.
Most clients are busy and one of the last items on their list is, unfortunately, getting documents to their accountant or bookkeeper.
As a practitioner, it’s in your best interests to minimize your firm’s reliance on client promptness (we’ll talk more about this in the series!). It helps you schedule client work, be prepared for tax season and maximize effectiveness of each hour spent on the client’s file – something that’s super important in a fixed pricing world.
Build a Technology-Focused Workflow
That brings us to the last point, which is to solve problems with technology wherever possible.
Software is a beautiful thing. Especially when technology works together, the productivity gains start to become almost exponential.
Having a technology-focused workflow allows books to be reconciled regularly (and with ease). And, it enables your practice to support more clients without making more hires.
We’ve previously evangelized the benefits of having a technology operations lead to build a software-focused workflow – it’s worth a read.
By cultivating these habits, you set your practice and clients up for success.
This goes a long way towards reducing tax season tension.
Next week, we’ll be talking about the second strategy for making tax season less stressful – automating collection of key financial documents. Subscribe to our blog to get notified of new content!
P.S. What are the strategies you employ to reduce tax season stress? We’d love to hear what’s worked and what hasn’t. Thanks!
This is the first post in our series, ‘5 Steps to a Stress-Free Tax Season Using the Cloud’. View the full webinar here.