To sail efficiently through tax season, you will want to have powerful, time-saving tax software in place, including Intuit® ProConnect™ Tax Online, Lacerte® or ProSeries®. These tools can save you up to 52 minutes on a complicated return.* However, additional opportunities to shave time off your workflow can come in surprisingly small shifts to repeated tasks.
All in the Family
One of the simplest ways to save time is to keep your software products “in family” and, if possible, “in product.” When we say “in family,” we mean offered by the same parent company. Doing this ensures that the products have been vetted to work together efficiently, saving you the time and hassle of third-party workarounds. In many cases, this means you never need to leave your core tax software to do supporting tasks because the supplemental functionality is woven directly into your tax software.
For example, a Lacerte user can send tax returns for review, request digital signatures and request payment, all through one easy step with integrated eSignature software. This product integration shortens what would be multiple actions in multiple software tools into one simple step. That provides significant time savings that can be truly meaningful when multiplied across your entire client base.
Touch it Once
“Touch it once” is one of the most fundamental principles of productivity and time management, but in the world of tax preparation, it is hard to do. In a typical tax preparation workflow, the client gives you most of what you need to begin the return (hopefully), and then as you organize the information provided, you make lists and request additional information. That information might trickle in, or stay out of reach until you’ve reminded your client a few times that it is due. Once you finally have the documents you need and prepared the return, you need signatures before you can e-file. This begins the next round of touching the project and client reminders. You might request payment upon providing the completed return, but many accountants allow their clients to have payment terms. As a result, you will have to touch the project at least one more time to enter the payment – and you can add on a few more touches to the project if your client does not pay on time. Every touch takes time.
Integrated solutions, such as Intuit ProConnect tax software, Intuit Link and eSignature, can automate steps in your workflow to save you a significant amount of time across the process. With Intuit Link, our online client portal included in ProConnect tax software, you can send the client checklist and set automated reminders to let your clients know what information is still outstanding. Then, your in-product dashboard will show you when you have what you need to process the return. Once the return is complete, integration with eSignature can send the return, forms, request for signature and invoice all at once, and give your client the ability to securely review and pay anytime, anywhere, from any device (phone, tablet or computer). No nagging. No manual reminders via phone or email. No jumping in and out of the return required. When you have what you need, you get in and get it done. Then, eSignature takes care of the finishing processes. Sent. Signed. Paid. Done.
One Small Step for Mankind
Changing elements of our professional workflow can sometimes seem intimidating. We imagine that implementing a new procedure will take time and energy, but as George Bernard Shaw once said, “Progress is impossible without change.” Often, the greatest barrier to progress is our own willingness to take that first step. Now is the perfect time to test the impact of small shifts in your workflow. Begin tax season with integrated technologies designed to save you time, and instead of spending your time asking clients for more data, documents, signatures or payments, perhaps you’ll be able to spend the time talking to them about their lives, their families and the things that matter most.
Start the new year off right with Intuit ProConnect products and some small changes that can have a big impact this tax season.
To learn more about eSignature, and how it can support your digital workflow, visit the following links:
*Based on an Intuit survey of Lacerte customers conducted in July 2014, in comparison to their previous method for preparing returns. On average, customers saved up to 52.6 minutes.