Tax season is officially over. Now that’s something to celebrate!
As accounting professionals, we strive for excellence, but unfortunately things don’t always go exactly as planned. You may have read my first four tips in a previous post, if not, check it out here. Below are a couple more tips to make next years tax season go a little smoother.
5 – Bring on backup.
Today’s world is a contracting world. Sites like UpWork, Freelancer and Craigs List have exploded in popularity with employers using them to find part-time people and independent contractors. They charge by the hour and don’t need benefits, assuming you structure the agreement correctly. Most of them are business owners themselves, enjoy being independent and have no desire to be an employee in someone else’s firm. But bringing on a few of them – whether in your office or remotely – can lessen the burden on your staff and help them get work done quicker.
6 – Re-visit your review procedures.
If you’re the boss, then you should be dealing with the big problems. You’ve got managers and staff to do the rest. Are you truly setup that way or are you still in the weeds? Take another look at how work is reviewed in your firm before a partner signs off. Are the right people with the right expertise and – very important – the right temperament involved in the review process? Do they have the best industry experience? Are they doing tasks commensurate with their level? Making changes here will have a big impact on client service – and profitability.
7 – Start a simple help desk.
As I mentioned above, don’t get stuck in the weeds. But still, this is your firm and you do want to make sure you’re in the loop on all client issues, big or small. To that end, consider a simple help desk like ZenDesk or Zoho where issues of a certain nature (i.e. client complaints, missed deadlines, IRS communications) are logged in, scheduled for resolution and assigned with alerts and reminders. Get a report on this at least weekly just to make sure nothing is falling through the cracks or before you get blindsided by a client calling you about something you didn’t even know about. Yes, it’s a little more work in a very busy time. But this is what quality companies do in the age of technology.
8 – Tier your fees.
In this world, you get what you pay for. If clients want their returns filed early or they want to work with best people you have during the busiest time of the year then they should be paying for that privilege. If they’re willing to extend their returns or work with your best people at a time of year that’s somewhat less stressful then you can offer that too – even at a discount. This will encourage more work to be pushed into the summer and provide a better balance overall of workflow.
Yeah, I know: busy season is tough. And let’s be realistic – it will never be perfect. But if you can take even one or two of the actions mentioned above and implement them well then you may find your life – and your employees – is a wee bit better this winter. And, as you know like I do, any relief in late March is well worth it!
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