Respected accounting publication and webinar host Accounting Today has released an in-depth webinar titled “Pre-Tax Season Update” which serves as an excellent preseason guide to help CPAs prepare for the upcoming tax year. Here’s the included summary of the webinar:
Much of how tax season will play out is determined in the last few weeks of the year, as Congress looks at extenders legislation, the IRS ramps up its operations, and tax professionals work overtime to make sure they’re ready to start filing.
Moderated by Roger Russell, Senior Tax Editor for Accounting Today, the webinar features two reputable speakers— Charles E. McCabe who is the current CEO of People’s Income Tax, Inc. and Cathy Mueller who currently serves as Director of Operations for People’s Tax & Business Services. Both McCabe and Mueller have extensive experience in the fields of tax law, accounting and workflow management and provide many significant insights into how firms can increase their effectiveness this season.
In the article below, we’ve outlined some of the key points addressed in the webinar and some solutions recommended by the speakers, as well as suggestions on how to implement those solutions effectively into your firm. Consider this a guide to help you gear up for the upcoming season and a wake-up call for any firm who has so far proven resistant to modern updates to workflow management.
A constant concern on the minds of CPAs year-round is not only earning new clients but also keeping the clients they have. Among the reasons for poor client retention are poor service, lack of effective communication and errors in the work prepared for clients by CPAs. While errors will inevitably occur over the course of a firm’s lifetime, there are powerful ways to minimize errors and maximize retention.
One method is the implementation of a unified document management system which will provide a central database where all documents can be securely and safely stored, organized, edited and shared. Accountability increases because changes made to documents are trackable to which user made said changes and when those changes were made. More effective oversight results in fewer hours, resulting in better client retention.
Coming into the new tax year, accountants are finding a severe lack of tax preparers due to intense regulations for new preparers and a high volume of preparers reaching retirement age. As a result, you’ll need to bring in new staff on a regular basis, but training that staff isn’t easy.
Utilizing a DMS will allow you to edit, store and share employee training documentation to ensure that the new preparers you bring on to your staff receive a unified orientation and training regimen. That’s one effective way to ensure that your entire staff is on the same page when it comes to preparing.
Increased Identify Theft Measures
This year the IRS is cracking down on identity theft by implementing a wide range of new practices built to combat data breaches. In 2016 they will test W-2 verification codes for the tax season, in addition to payroll services which will include a 16-digit code and Validation Code field on certain W-2 forms for employers. Return processing will not be delayed for missing or incorrect verification codes.
In addition to the measures put in place by the IRS, you can increase your own security by implementing a secure, encrypted document management system to protect the information of your clients. Look for a DMS that offers high-level encryptions, multiple physical and cloud-based backups and user-based permissions that can be customized by administrators.
Significant penalty increases have been implemented by the IRS that you should be aware of this tax season, including increases to each member of households. Additionally, two new forms will be required for 2015 filing, including reports for taxpayer, spouse and dependents and a form that indicates whether an employee or family has been offered health coverage for some or all of 2015.
By staying on top of the latest trends and changes to the tax world this season, you can help your firm stand heads and shoulders above your competition and earn the business of new clients and retain your old clients by proving that your firm is willing and able to implement the latest, most effective technology currently available. By utilizing a document management you’ll be able to increase retention, effectively manage staffing, keep your clients secure and stay on top of new regulations and penalties all while streamlining your overall workflow.
To find out more about how a document management system can bring dramatic benefits to you or your firm this tax season, fill out the form included on this page to receive a free 15-minute demo of eFileCabinet’s advanced DMS. Good luck this season, and may the workflow be with you!