Running a CPA firm is never easy, especially when the tax season rush engulfs the first four months of the year. Accounting professionals race against time to meet deadlines, with some tax returns taking a few days to weeks to complete.
It’s stressful indeed to chase clients to file their tax returns early and to ensure employee morale is always high. Now that the 2019 tax season officially commences from 28 January 2019, we take pride in helping CPAs and accountants to stay ahead of the game.
Here’s our 7-step checklist to tackle the tax return rush:
1) Plan ahead
It is during the tax season that a practice staff badly needs an extra pair of hands to help with piles of receipts and tax-related documents! Deadlines have to be met and how. And that pressure can impact business development of your CPA firm.
Therefore, make arrangements to ensure you have a separate team to prepare clients’ tax returns while your in-house staff focuses on offering high-margin services like budgeting and forecasting to the clients, thereby boosting profitability.
Pro tip: In such a scenario, outsourcing accounting work to India can help you reduce overhead costs by up to 50% and to breeze through the tax deadlines.
2) Use tax checklists
Trust us on this one! For the last two tax seasons, we have shared an Individual Tax Return checklist for CPAs and accountants to collect client data easily. Honestly both times, the resource received a favorable response as it enabled them to mark necessary client details like income info, deductions, and other credits.
Therefore, make your clients complete the tax checklist before they schedule an appointment with you for tax preparation. This will make your meetings with them a lot more productive. Feel free to download the checklist from here.
Pro tip: If you are thinking of outsourcing accounting work to India, a checklist can help in getting both the parties on the same page. Same goes for your clients.
3) Spread the workload
The run-up to 15 April 2019 is going to be chaotic and stressful if you are not smart about distributing work properly. Why don’t you aim to finish about 85% of your tax return preparations by March end and 15% of the workload in April?
Ask your staff not to take leave until March end and make weekend working mandatory if you think that’s necessary, or outsource! That’s right - outsourcing accounting work to India means zero pressure on your employees and no ‘work at the weekends.’
4) Set up a document portal
Go paperless in case you haven’t yet this tax season. Instead of asking your clients to submit hard copies, set up an online portal for them to upload documentation. That will also help you get their electronic authorization for accounts and tax returns.
Pro tip: Many accounting outsourcing companies in India use the cloud for documentation purposes. Speak to us for more info.
5) Say NO to your clients
To work efficiently during the tax season, you should cultivate the habit of saying ‘no.’ Why you ask? Because clients can get extremely panicky and demanding during the busy period and that can hamper your staff’s productivity. Manage your clients, don’t let them manage you.
Pro tip: Outsourcing accounting work to India will enable you to give more time to your clients for feedback and post-tax season planning.
6) Track progress constantly
Have a robust system in place to know where you are with each client. Keep an eye on completions, remind those clients that have gotten delayed in submitting information or documents and push your practice staff to prepare taxes faster in case the pace has slowed down.
7) Charge fees appropriately
Listen, you have a business to run, and there’s no harm in charging a higher fee to those clients who submit data very late. Alternatively, it is better to quote a discounted price to those who provide data early or on time and make your job easier.
Pro tip: Many accounting outsourcing companies in India offer services to their clients in three ways - pay-as-you-go, block-of-hours, and full-time model. Maybe you could try something like this too?
Are you ready to beat the 2019 tax season?
To stop the busy period from getting unnecessarily overwhelming for you, outsource your clients’ tax returns and breathe easy. CPAs who are into outsourcing accounting work to India can scale their teams as and when they please. They don’t have to resort to costly hiring that comes in the form of recruiting, training and retaining employees.
QXAS is one of the top accounting outsourcing companies in India and provides services to a range of CPAs, EAs and accounting firms in the US. If you are looking to get some help to conquer the 2019 tax season, call us on 1-800-310-9312 or write to us on email@example.com.