Tips For Tax Preparers On How To Improve Efficiency

For tax preparers, the beginning of the year is always an interesting time. During January and February, everything is extremely quiet, with relatively few clients coming through the door. As March approaches, things start to pick up, with a sudden influx of clients. By the time April rolls around, it seems like the floodgates have opened, with a ton of new work coming in as people scramble to get their taxes filed on time.

If you are a tax preparer, you face a difficult challenge. You want to do everything you can to help your clients minimize their liability as much as possible so that they come back to you over and over again. After all, the best way to grow your business is by leaving your customers satisfied.

At the same time, however, it can be hard to keep up with the tremendous pile of work on your desk as the tax filing deadline approaches. The challenge is finding out a way to complete the extra work in a timely manner without sacrificing accuracy in the process. In order to accomplish that, you need to make your practice as efficient as you can. Many find taking an online tax preparation course helps things a lot. Additionally, check out the tips below on improving your efficiency so that you can handle the sudden onslaught of clients at the beginning of April with ease.

* Get organized. During the initial slow part of the year, take time to organize your office, making sure you know where absolutely everything you need is so you don’t have to waste time looking for it.

* Stock in supplies. Have everything that you need on hand so that you don’t have to interrupt your workflow to order supplies during the peak of tax season.

* Don’t wait until the last minute to download forms from the IRS since the site gets bogged down later in the season. Instead, download the forms early.

* Initiate contact with your clients by mailing or emailing them an organizer at the beginning of the new year. This is a good reminder that tax time is approaching.

* Provide clients that you are working with for the first time with detailed information about the records that you need.

* Gather as much information as you can when you first meet with a client. Make sure that you have current contact information on file for them so that you can contact them right away with any questions that come up.

* Don’t put off tax returns until later, allowing multiple returns to pile up. Instead, complete each return as quickly as possible after you get the information. Any delays could wind up driving your customers away.

* When you provide your clients with their finished tax return, put it in an envelope along with all of the original documents. On the outside of the envelope, print a list of items that they should bring with them to their next tax appointment. That way, they can reference it the following year.

* Have someone else at your firm go over each return before returning them to your clients to make sure that they are free from errors.

* Invest in a second monitor so that it is easier to work on multiple forms or projects at the same time.

* Keep a list nearby with contact information that you may need for local, state, and federal tax agencies, your tax preparation software company, and any other agencies or vendors that you may need to contact.

* Make good communication part of your everyday routine. All of the people working at your office should be kept in the loop at all times. For example, if there is a technical glitch with your software program, you should have a way to immediately notify staff members to avoid problems.

* Sign-up for the IRS Guidewire service. This is the best way to stay informed about recent IRS rulings, announcements, and notices. Forward these messages to your staff members as needed to keep everyone informed.

Adam Torkildson