Accounting Practice Prepared? Winter is coming.

Is your accounting practice prepared for tax season? 

If you’re thinking it’s a little early to begin preparing for the next tax season, think again. While the pandemic has pushed back tax filing deadlines for the past two years (and likely will again in next year), getting your accounting practice truly prepared will take more than a quick overnight fix.

Why you should prepare now for tax time 

The winter months tend to be slower for accounting firms, as clients are settling in for the holidays and not yet thinking about the encroaching tax season. Accounting firms who take advantage of the slower winter months to prepare for tax season will be better off than those who wait until the last possible minute.

There’s no way your team will have time to think about these things during tax season, when they barely have time to eat. Taking the time to prepare your practice now will pave the way for a more profitable and less stressful tax season. 

Here are our tips for preparing your accounting practice for tax season. Start prepping your firm now, and look forward to smooth(er) sailing next year. 

Update your systems 

How recently has your firm reviewed and updated your internal systems? If you’re not sure, that’s a tell-tale sign it’s time to update them again (or for the first time). 

If you’re using a practice management solution like TPS, take the time to check that you’re running the latest possible version. Whether you’re using our cloud-based or on-premise version of TPS, we release new features and updates every few months to ensure the platform is up to speed and providing all the latest tech integrations and tools you need to run your practice. 

If you’re using TPS Cloud Axis, you can skip this step as all updates are applied automatically. The cloud-based platform allows us to run updates manually with no action or downtime needed for your team. 

If you’re using our on-premise solution, you’ll need to manually check for and apply updates and new features. It’s a little more hands-on than with TPS Cloud Axis, but we do our best to make the process quick and easy for you. 

Learn more about the latest updates to TPS Cloud Axis and On-Premise.

Organize existing data

To have your accounting practice prepared, no matter which version of TPS you’re using, you probably have a considerable amount of data on your clients and work history. If that data is poorly organized, it will cost your team in terms of time, billable hours, and avoidable aggravation.

Take the time now to assign categories to clients to make it easier to find them en masse when you want to do emails or assign new work flow items. TPS Software makes this easy for you, with work codes and work flow patterns designed to streamline your processes. 

Establishing clear work codes will make it easier for your team to track time and accurately bill clients. 
Determining work flow patterns, alerts, and reports will allow your team to speed through repetitive and one-time processes. 
Updating client historical logs will simplify things for your team down the line, and tip you off to clients that may be worth reaching out to early.

The last thing you or your team needs in fast-paced tax season is to get bogged down with outdated information or inadequate processes. That’s why it’s important to get a headstart on this process during the slower winter months, so you’re ready-to-go when tax season strikes. 

Get existing clients ready

We all have those clients who don’t even think about tax season until the day before (or after) the deadline. With the pandemic stirring so much uncertainty around tax deadlines and new policies, your existing clients need you more than ever to keep their affairs in order.

Why not reach out to existing clients during the slower winter months to help keep tax season front of mind? Even if you don’t hear back, they will likely appreciate your proactive outreach and start to at least think about the upcoming tax season. 

You could even offer an early-bird discount for clients who are willing to get the process started early– helping to drive immediate revenue and reducing your client load during those critical later months. 

You can use TPS’ client mass mailing and emailing feature to simplify this process for you. With just a few clicks of the button, you can send out timely reminders and promotions during the slower winter months. 

Paired with TPS’ client historical logs– which provide in-depth records on client notes, invoices, emails, and work flow– you can identify which clients may warrant additional attention in the months leading up to tax season. 

Start attracting new clients 

You’ll have little time for marketing and meeting with prospective clients once the madness of tax season begins. Use the quieter winter months to gear up your marketing for the new year. 

This might involve revisiting your in-house marketing efforts, hiring a new employee, or bringing in outside help via a marketing agency. Either way, you’ll want to get started early. 

Effective marketing strategies take time to plan and implement. Starting to plan now for attracting new clients will give you the time to strategize, create marketing materials, and run digital or traditional marketing campaigns. 

Many accounting firms earn the lion’s share of their revenue during tax season. Put in the work now to attract new clients, and get ready for your most profitable tax season yet. 

Bring on extra help  

You don’t want to find yourself in the middle of March without an adequate team to manage your client workload. Not only will you not have time to find new employees or contractors– you certainly won’t have time to train them! 

If you anticipate needing more hands on deck come tax season, you need to start your hiring process now. For the first time in many years, it’s an employee’s market. Thousands of positions across the U.S. are going unfilled as workers fall back on savings, stipends, and less traditional forms of employment such as freelancing. Don’t assume you can put up a job listing and immediately attract worthy candidates. 

If attracting and retaining new talent is a priority, you may also want to revisit your company culture, policies, and benefits. For many workers, having more flexible hours and remote work capabilities is no longer negotiable. Particularly in a more traditional industry like accounting, the willingness to be flexible and modernize your work policies will pay dividends in terms of attracting and retaining top talent. 

Thankfully, our cloud-based solution TPS Cloud Axis makes it easier than ever to manage and optimize your practice, no matter where you or your employees are located. You could introduce a rotational schedule where half the team works in the office and half are permitted to work from home. With 100% remote access to the full breadth of TPS tools and features, your team can be just as productive at home as they are in the office. 

Need help getting your practice up-to-speed for tax season? 

Now is a great time to meet with the TPS team to make sure you’re getting the most from your practice management solution. We invite you to schedule a free 15-minute consultation with our team.

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