Tax season is stressful for everyone, from the accountants preparing hundreds of tax returns to the taxpayers who end up owing the government. Fortunately, you can do several things to reduce stress and improve efficiency during tax season. Follow these accounting tips to save time and increase productivity during the busiest time of the year.
Try using practice-management software to streamline business operations during tax season and beyond. Robust programs allow clients to upload receipts, income statements and other tax-related documents directly to an online portal. Instead of sorting through shoe boxes full of paper, you can find the documents you need quickly. This type of software also makes it easier to prepare invoices and perform other administrative tasks.
Get a head start on tax season by sending reminder letters to your existing clients in January or February. Provide the information they need to gather the right documents and prepare to meet with you before you complete their returns. If you collect email addresses from your clients, use your email list to distribute weekly tips on tax-related topics. Generate more business by using these reminders to ask your existing clients to refer their friends and family members to your accounting firm.
If you don't have a strong social media presence, create one. Set up profiles on LinkedIn and Facebook so that potential clients can learn more about your services. Do this as far in advance of tax season as possible, so you have time to fill your pages with valuable content. If you have an accounting blog, write a weekly post to educate people about tax rules, forms and documents, allowable deductions and other relevant topics. By publishing valuable content, you can answer many of your clients' questions before they meet with you, saving a lot of time during the busy tax season.
Make sure you schedule enough time to meet with clients and handle administrative work. If you don't build time into your schedule to enter your hours into your practice-management software, it may take longer to get paid for your services. If you schedule several client appointments in a row, you don't have enough time to focus on paperwork. When you make your schedule for the week, build extra time into each day. That way, if a client appointment runs over the allotted amount of time, it doesn't derail your entire day.
Tax season is always a busy time of the year, but there are ways to make it less stressful. Stay in touch with your clients throughout the year so that they know what to expect when you are ready to prepare their returns. Use your social media accounts to make potential clients aware of your services. Following these accounting tips can help you combat stress during tax season and run a successful business.
Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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