As tax season comes to an end, CPAs and accounting firms can exhale a sigh of relief that the busiest time of year is over.
However, it is not yet time to kick back and relax. Instead, now is a perfect time for firms to reflect on what they have learned and how it can improve for the next tax season.
Here are a few things that CPAs and accounting firms should learn as the tax season winds down:
1. Workflows Efficiency
As tax season comes to an end, firms should assess how organized they were during the process.
Were files and documents easy to find? Were all required forms and information collected on time? Is there anything that hindered workflow efficiency?
Firms that struggled with these during tax season should consider investing in better systems and processes to ensure a seamless and efficient experience in the next tax season.
Even after the tax season, workflow integrity and functionality are critical to ensure that all duties are accomplished efficiently and without errors. While optimized workflows can be extremely beneficial, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
Because each firm has different needs, it is essential to design workflows to meet those needs. Make sure that processes are robust and do not come to a standstill in any situation.
2. Getting Data from Clients Regularly
According to Intuit, up to 65 percent of tax work time is spent chasing down client information.
If the necessary documents, files, and numbers are not received on time, the entire process is slowed down. This is a significant bottleneck in terms of tax season completion.
This also affects your client relationship, as the time allocated to communicate with and build relationships with your clients is spent requesting data from them (i.e. not adding value.)
The first step is to engage with your clients early: do not wait until tax season arrives; contact them at least one month in advance.
Most importantly, automate as much of the client chase as possible, whether through email templates, creating a checklist for your clients, or designating a specific time and person (or system) to remind them of their submission.
Communication is key during tax season, both with clients and within the firm. There might be times where conducting too much follow up might have impacted your client relationship.
Firms should review their communication strategies and identify any areas for improvement. This could include implementing more frequent check-ins with clients or ensuring that staff members are communicating effectively with each other to avoid errors and delays.
4. Service Upselling and Cross-Selling
During tax season, firms are usually focused solely on completing tax returns for clients.
However, this can also be an opportunity to identify potential areas where clients could benefit from additional services.
For example, a client may have struggled to organize their documents or may have financial planning issues. Firms can take advantage of these chances to upsell or cross-sell services that can add value to their clients.
5. Professional Development
Tax laws and regulations are constantly changing, and it is critical for firms to stay up-to-date on these changes.
Firms should evaluate their professional development strategies to identify areas where employees could benefit from additional training or education.
6. Employee Turnover
Employee turnover refers to the number of employees who leave your organisation during a given time period.
A higher-than-average employee turnover rate may indicate a concern with your firm, management, or additional factors.
A low employee turnover rate possibly suggests that you are doing a good job and that people enjoy working with you. This could be because of a small yet dedicated team. A low rate also allows the firm to hire fresh talent who can bring new ideas and improved methods of doing things.
You should constantly analyse yourself if the previous year’s turnover has influenced your normal operations. If this is the case, you should take the necessary measures accordingly.
7. Outsource Your Workload
If you felt during the tax season that you had more work on your plate than you could handle, or your staff felt burnt out, maybe you should consider outsourcing your workload to an experienced firm that provides outsourced tax preparation services.
That way you will have more time in hand to focus on the operational side of your business!
8. Develop a Marketing Plan
It is a very competitive world, and if you want to survive, you need start taking marketing seriously now, if you haven’t already. Marketing informs a large number of people about your services and sales will increase as more people become acquainted with your services.
9. Elevate Your Employees
Tax season provides an excellent opportunity to elevate your employees from mere staff members to empowered leaders. To achieve growth as an accounting firm, it is crucial to cultivate more innovative thinkers and leaders rather than just managers. This strategy will allow your employees to take ownership of their roles and responsibilities within the firm.
Use this time to provide extensive training and education on tax services and other important topics. By investing in the development of your employees, you will provide them with the tools they need to excel in their roles and beyond. As your accounting firm provides active services, you will have the ideal platform to try new ideas and achieve more success.
Congratulations on another successful tax-filing season!
In conclusion, the end of tax season is an excellent time for CPA and accounting firms to reflect on the lessons learned and make improvements for next year. By assessing areas such as organization, communication, staffing, and professional development, firms can ensure that they are better prepared to handle the workload and provide the highest level of service to clients.