Intuit® is on a mission to eradicate non-value added work, including simple data entry, repetitive administrative tasks and mindless drudgery.
The new Client Connection Suite is the first step in this journey. For decades, Intuit and its competitors have invested time and energy to make tax preparation as fast and accurate as possible, and we have made significant improvements. However, we know that by spending thousands of hours in accountant offices, this has been a somewhat limited view of your workflow.
While we will continue to invest in data entry screens, calculations, diagnostics and efiling capability to make them the best they can be, we have expanded our attention to other parts of the workflow that Lacerte®, ProSeries® and Intuit Tax Online do not currently address. We know we can help you solve some of these longstanding time sucks that you have accepted as necessary evils to preparing accurate tax returns for your clients. To reap the benefits of our work, it will require some modifications to your established workflow, which we know is hard but will be well worth the investment. Let tax season 2015 be the season where you reclaim hundreds (and maybe thousands) of lost hours!
Time Thief #1: Getting all of the Data You Need From Your Clients
Your clients are great at a lot of things, but taxes just aren’t one of them, and that’s why they need you. We’ve seen the piles, the manila envelopes and the boxes of stuff clients drop off to you. Most completely ignore the organizer you sent them and drop off a disorganized mess, oftentimes with unopened envelopes marked “important tax document.” While it’s a hodgepodge of relevant documents, it’s also a lot of extraneous papers that they thought you might need, yet they’re almost always missing at least one critical piece of information – and that’s the one you know to ask for.
The Client Connection Suite includes the Intuit Link secure client portal for requesting data and documents from your clients. It’s a major improvement over the traditional tax organizer. First off, we see much higher client adoption. Clients enjoy being able to answer the questions online and upload their documents from virtually any device. It takes the pressure off of them from having to have it all together at one time, allowing them to work on it when they have time. Link automatically reminds clients to complete the outstanding items so that you don’t have to nag them. Plus, you and your client can communicate inside the secure client portal, cutting down on email and keeping the conversation together with the documents. Now, you’ll know when you have everything you need so that when you start the tax return, you can actually finish it!
Time Thief #2: Scanning, Organizing and Filing Source Documents and Work Papers
It’s critical to stay organized and maintain a clear audit trail. However that’s a challenge during busy tax season, no matter if you have 50 clients or 500. Link is great for client communication, but you need a place that’s private for your work papers, and to store the tax data and supporting documents long term. That’s where the second component of the Client Connection Suite comes into play with SmartVault. Stop printing off the electronic documents to maintain paper files with your notes. Now, you can easily move over client source documents from the Link client portal to SmartVault, where you can annotate and preserve your notes for later reference in a secure online environment. It’s easy to share the documents with other members of your firm.
Time Thief #3: Client Signature Collection, Invoicing and Payment Collection
Our customers actually tell us that getting the 8879 signed isn’t that big of a problem, but then we watch you go through the process of multiple emails, follow-up phone calls and the stress of tracking which clients have signed and which haven’t so that you can e-file the tax returns.
While you may not think it’s too bad, we think you deserve better. Not to mention the process to invoice clients and collect payments. The 8879 is relatively easy to get from clients, compared to the payment for your services. Many accountants wait 45 to 60 days (or longer) to get paid, and that’s simply too long. We have yet to meet the accountant that enjoys making collection calls to their clients.
Now, as part of the Client Connection Suite, you can request the eSignature for the 8879 and send the invoice at the same time to the client. Also, you can decide if you want to require that the client pay you before being able to return the 8879 electronically signed. It’s convenient for clients to sign electronically, with most clients returning the signed 8879 the same day and potentially reducing the outstanding time for payment from weeks to hours.
The Client Connection Suite is Better Together
While each component of the Client Connection Suite will save you time and improve the client experience, they make the biggest impact when working together in your overall workflow spanning document collection, through preparation and ending with payment so that when you hit e-file, you are truly done without any follow-ups. This is just the beginning of our journey to save you time during tax season, help you grow your bottom line and help you continue to make a difference for your clients!