Summer is a great time to regroup and gear up for next year’s tax season. To learn a few tips about how to do more in less time, we talked to three tax professionals who just finished one of their most productive tax seasons. Let’s meet the tax pros!
Hal Rosen, CPA, RFBM CPAs, has practiced accounting for 35+ years. His areas of specialization include small business accounting and taxation, and individual taxation. He spent part of his career as an entrepreneur, and has experienced the challenges and rewards of operating at home. Rosen is an Advanced Certified QuickBooks® ProAdvisor and a member of the Intuit®Trainer/Writer Network. He was named one of the top 100 ProAdvisors for 2015 and 2016 by Insightful Accountant.
Andrew Poulos, EA, ABA, ATP, founder of Poulos Accounting & Consulting, has offered tax, accounting, consulting and payroll services for more than 20 years. His clients include individuals and small businesses all over the world. Poulos is a nationally syndicated tax software expert reviewer, author and speaker. He is also a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor and author of the QuickBooks Ultimate Lesson Guide© DVD.
Dave Venard, EA, is president of Bayview Services Group, which has evolved from a brick and mortar practice to a virtual practice. With more than 32 years of experience, Venard offers bookkeeping and accounting, payroll, and tax services – all in the cloud – with a focus on servicing small- to medium-sized businesses and individuals. Venard is a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor and a member of the Intuit Trainer/Writer Network.
I asked each tax pro which tools were most essential to their practice, and here’s what they had to say:
Hal Rosen had one of his most productive tax seasons by introducing Office Tools to his office. His team uses it to track all engagements and manage recurring tasks for tax, payroll and bookkeeping services. Rosen says, “It acts like a filing cabinet, message machine, email tracker, time tracker and invoice manager, all in one. It also gives some analytics as far as employee realization rates.” Office Tools syncs with Intuit ProConnect™ Lacerte® and QuickBooks to give Rosen’s team a central client information hub so that they only need to enter client information once. “We do 1,500 tax returns,” Rosen said, “so it would easy for information to get lost in the system. This tracks our steps, and prompts us for the next step and the task owner so we stay on track.” Rosen mentions that, as is important with any new process, it’s essential to map your workflow and get your workforce’s consensus to make a seamless transition to new workflow tools. “I explained to my staff why it’s important, how it makes like simpler and how it makes our clients’ lives better to get everyone’s buy in,” Rosen said.
Andrew Poulos created a custom website that integrates with SmartVault and optimizes his workflow. It gives him and his clients access to a portal that serves as a document and data management system so that everything can be done online. Thanks to this new custom website, Poulos says that clients can enter their payroll information remotely; in turn, the information imports into his payroll software so that he can process payroll within minutes. He can manage audit and collection cases, and to-do tasks through the data management system on the backend of his website. His website also interfaces with ProConnect ProSeries®, and he estimates that it saves five minutes per return and dozens of hours overall during tax season. Thanks to this system, document management is not only easy and convenient for his clients, but for him as well. Poulos says that throughout tax season, he only met about six clients face to face, so he was able to work from just about anywhere, being that he operates a virtual accounting and tax practice.
Dave Venard says Bill.com, which fully automates billing and payables, is one of his keys to productivity. He uses it for his own practice often, and also recommends it to clients. He adds that it is helpful that it integrates with QuickBooks Online Accountant, QuickBooks Payroll, and ProConnect Tax Online, though there is still some further integration that would be helpful. He also uses ProConnect Link to collect, organize and share documents with his clients.
Venard is also currently exploring different workflow management systems apps, including Mavenlink, Trello, Jetpack Workflow and more. “There are hundreds of great apps out there that accelerate and improve workflow for you and your clients,” Venard said. He is looking for one to fit his virtual practice, but with the variety available, there may be a great one out there to help you streamline your practice as well.
Regardless of the tool, one truth seems to prevail: the best workflow optimization tools not only make tax pros and accountants more productive, but they also simplify the lives of clients.
I also asked our productive pros if they had any final tips to help us all be more productive each day. Venard says that Cortadito Cuban espresso “makes your eyes pop wide open in the morning,” while Rosen relies on a daily Diet Dr Pepper in the afternoon. Poulos says a big cup of Greek coffee early in the morning, as well as a smaller cup during a short afternoon break helps him stay focused during the day.
We’d love to hear what you’re doing to optimize your workflow and stay productive throughout the day! Send us a note on Twitter (@IntuitAccts) to share your tips.