Take Control of Your Tax Season Workflow
As tax season approaches are you thinking “Here we go again…”? Overwhelming volume, agitated staff, clients whose needs aren’t met quickly?
Poor client service means loss of current and future revenue. Chaos results in wasted time and money. Unhappy staff will ultimately seek greener pastures.
Take Control Now
Here are some tips to get you moving in the right direction early this tax season.
Review Last Year’s Post-Season Assessment
Make the changes to your current processes that were identified as problematic last year. Have you invested in new technology to support the changes you want to make? There might still be time to adopt the right solution.
Get Your Team Tax-Season-Ready
Ensure everyone is aware of key changes to tax regulations. Even a basic knowledge of what rules are changing helps staff to more easily handle client inquiries and ensure nothing is missed when preparing returns. It also helps preparers understand diagnostics when they appear within the software.
Organize Your Client Files from Last Year
This is a simple step, but you’ll want to carry forward your files so you have what you need to start working on this year’s returns.
Contact Your Clients
Update clients on news or changes that affect them and let them know if you need new or different information from them. Of course, this contact is also an opportunity to secure their business and offer additional services. Many firms have a customized tax organizer or checklist that they send to clients.
Collect Client Documents
Typically, you’ll want to start this in March. Collect any information you need from clients: their slips for the year and all necessary documentation. Documents can be dropped off at your office or delivered electronically if you have a secure portal.
Double Check Your Information
Once you have received a client’s documentation, compare what you have received with what the CRA has on file. Use the CRA’s Auto-fill My Return to ensure you have complete information. Take advantage of your software’s integration with Auto-fill My Return to speed data entry and avoid missed slips.
Update Your Client Files
Once you’ve double-checked your files, you’ll want to update them with any new information including address changes, changes in number of dependents, marital status, etc.
Review and Approve Returns and Get Client Authorization
When your team has reviewed and approved the return, send it to the client for authorization. The most efficient way to facilitate this process is through the portal.
Efile the Return and Invoice Your Client
Invoicing can be done at the same time you send the T183 form for signature. Software applications exist that automate invoice generation – and faster invoicing means increased cashflow.
Final Delivery of the Return
By now, the taxpayer has approved the summary of their return, but they will need the entire tax package for their records. Depending on their needs, you can customize this package to include a five-year summary or additional forms.
Finally, when tax season is over, be sure to do a full post-season assessment. Can you measure your success? This is the time to reflect on what worked and what can be improved.