Did you accomplish your goals for the most recent tax season? What role did technology play in expediting your work?
In “Reflecting on Your Tax Season and How To Improve The Next One,” a session held during the April Intuit® QuickBooks® and ProConnect™ Virtual Conference, Bryce Forney, CPA, advised tax preparers on how to have a smoother, stronger and more profitable experience for their clients: go paperless, get your practice in the cloud, and work virtually, anywhere, anytime. Here is what Bryce had to say.
Go Paperless or go Home
Going paperless not only makes tax preparers more profitable and free to take on new clients; it also allows them a little more free time, even during tax season.
The image above illustrates a very time-consuming process for yourself and the client in a race to meet the deadline. That’s the old way of doing things. Tax preparers who don’t make the change to a more future-oriented practice will be left behind. Bryce said we must ditch this old process. Doing so eliminates the server and its issues, the requirement to perform updates, and an IT team to manage security.
This image represents the process and steps for going paperless and embracing cloud tax prep. Bryce has clients send tax documents through Intuit Link, where he’s then able to use the information to start the preparation process right away with ProConnect Tax Online.
“ProConnect Tax Online is a web-based tax prep app that is very robust and allows you to prepare the tax return, send the draft to the client and request a signature,” he said. “Clients tell me how incredibly easy it is to e-file, and with eSignature powered by DocuSign, the client can security sign the return online.”
Get in the Cloud
“Cloud technology takes us into a completely new arena for our practice,” said Bryce, who said this process starts by getting connected with QuickBooks Online Accountant (QBOA) and exploring which apps to use. “QBOA is the lens through which we set our clients’ books.”
QBOA alerts him if a client makes a change; he can then proactively go in and fix the issue right away, making sure the numbers are good, and saving lots of time and headache in the process. Bryce also said that as a tax preparer, the big challenge is more so mastering QBOA than it is switching clients from QuickBooks Desktop to QBO.
To see a snapshot of the powerful benefits of QBO and the cloud, look at the visual below:
“Once preparers know QBOA, switching will be a no brainer,” said Bryce. “With that in place, tax preparers need to find cloud apps that take their clients’ experience to the next level.” Bryce prefers Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive and Google Drive for storage, and said that SmartVault is best for accounting professionals who want to be absolutely positive that security is at its highest level.
Of course, for any of this to work, we must be able to work virtually, he said. Whether it’s driving into town at 5:30 a.m. and hitting up a Starbucks and working there to avoid the San Francisco traffic, or working from a conference halfway across the country, he is able to serve his clients anywhere, anytime.
“With our clients and ourselves constantly on the go, working virtually is a must.”
The Future of Tax Prep
When it comes to the future of tax prep, Bryce urges tax accountants to tap into the freedom and flexibility of the cloud with ProConnect Tax Online. He says that the roadmap to implementing this starts with learning how to use the robust, cloud-enabled online tax app, and then considering tax return workflow changes for paperless productivity. Next, try some tax returns outside of core tax prep season, note what works well and identify continued efficiencies.
Bryce’s advice: “By implementing these tools into your practice, you will be able to collaborate with clients like never before, while getting the data and mobility you need to be a more profitable, future-oriented practice. Take the leap into the cloud, go paperless and never look back!”