Your Tax Practice: 3 Ways to do Less and Get More Done

Practice Management Efficiency leads to performance

Whether we like it or not, there are only so many hours in a day. Every tax professional, just like me, wants to maximize every second of busy season. Efficiency in our practice equates to superior service for our clients and more time to focus on higher value work.

There are two Intuit® services that have changed the way I work with my clients to do their taxes: eSignature and Link. Combining these with DocuSign’s digital transaction management has made our firm truly paperless, while also saving countless hours of frustration.

All three of these products are foolproof; no training was needed to implement and we reduced errors through automatic tracking of documents. Our scanner was rarely used this past tax season, saving 1,000+ hours of our staff’s support time.

Intuit eSignature eSignature has been an amazing timesaver in our small firm, where the manager may be responsible for sending a 1040 to a client. At $200 per hour, I was wasting valuable time encrypting and emailing tax returns, then painfully having to follow up to prompt the client to return the 8879. Up front, we save 15 minutes by sending the 1040 directly within Intuit Tax Online . The customizable, automatic reminders are also a true plus. For example, you can check a box to remind the client every single day to sign the return! I save another 15 minutes on the back end by streamlining collections and downloading all within the tax program. What used to take, on average, over a week to collect an 8879 now takes two days. We can cross 1040s off our list and collect billing faster. A hundred 1040s provides 50 hours of time savings.

Intuit Link This past tax season, we imported 1040 electronic organizers from Intuit Tax Online into Link. There was no paperwork. The pre-populated requests were all based on the client’s prior year return data, and each question was tracked and itemized. We could also attach documents, such as a rental organizer in Excel. Link sends a summary of changes via email daily, so that we can monitor and continue workflow.

Because tracking tasks has become overwhelming through email and phone, finding a streamlined replacement to a long, unorganized Q&A conversation is a must. With Link, there’s a clear audit trail. We know exactly who provided information and when.

Before using eSignature and Link, we would have half a dozen places to look for information, including a website portal, email, fax and file sharing sites. With inconsistent options available, some clients became overwhelmed and showed up at our office with piles of source documents to scan or to request a paper return to sign. Now, having one streamlined place within the software to accomplish these tasks, we are truly a paperless firm.

DocuSign You may wonder how we informed clients of these new procedures. Our engagement letter became paperless, too! A package sent via DocuSign stated that the 1040 eSignature fee would be passed on to the client and that we would enforce paperless policies by using Link. Since attaching information was so easy, we also threw in an optional ACH form that was wildly successful. Clients love our new polished presentation and appreciate that we’ve set expectations. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Editor’s note: Please see these resources for more information. Lacerte Users: Intuit Link, Intuit eSignature; ProSeries Users: Intuit eSignature; Intuit Tax Online Users: Intuit Link