Addressing Accountant Shortage Challenges with Automation Solutions
Wednesday, Oct 20, 2021 by SafeSend
From accounting firms to zoos, the struggle to find staff is literally impacting businesses from A to Z. Retailers attempt to hire help for the holiday season while tax and accounting firms scramble to hire admin staff in anticipation of the upcoming busy season. Halloween may be right around the corner, but the accountant shortage isn’t a trick or a treat; it’s a frightful dilemma, but tax automation solutions in the SafeSend Suite can help.
The Profession is Still Facing Staffing Challenges
More than halfway through year two, the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic are still felt, especially when it comes to staffing. The current lack of candidates is challenging but the responsibilities of firms don’t change. Tax returns still need to be completed and filed. So, what does this mean for firms and what solutions are available to help address the accountant shortage as the next busy season approaches?
Some of the essential tasks that need to be addressed during busy season but are labor intensive:
- Mailing out client organizers
- Reminder calls for unreturned documents
- Scanning returned documents
- Tracking down unsigned e-file forms
These tasks are crucial to the tax engagement process, but done manually, consume a lot of time. Extra hands made the work light – or at least eased some of the burden. But the accountant shortage means fewer tax staff are available and the task of completing everything by the tax deadline seems insurmountable. Now, more than ever, it is important to assess current processes, make necessary improvements, and accurately forecast your needs.
Automation Unlocks the Door to Workflow Efficiency
The key to this daunting task is adaptability; and automation unlocks the door for your firm to thrive.
Advances in automation technology mean that the time historically spent on manual tasks can be reduced. This translates into more time for your current admin staff to focus on other projects and reducing the accountant shortage impact on your firm.
The SafeSend Suite offers powerful functionality to tax and accounting professionals. Every client touch point across the tax engagement can be automated, saving your firm time and mitigating security risks. Automating those essential yet time-consuming tasks means your staff can accomplish more in less time.
A huge chunk of time has historically been spent on printing and sending client organizers and engagement letters. When preparing for the upcoming tax season, electronically fillable organizers and securely collected source documents are examples of automated solutions that simplify and streamline the gathering of information necessary for completing the tax return. SafeSend Organizers converts static PDF organizers from your tax compliance software to a fillable form that can be sent directly to clients. A batch reminder option within SafeSend Organizers saves admins from spending hours on the phone or manually sending email reminders. The document tracking and reporting feature means staff automatically know who has returned their organizer and which organizers are still outstanding.
Engagement Letters can be included with the SafeSend Organizer package, eliminating another task for firm staff. Clients sign the engagement letter as one of the steps in the intuitive, guided process. They fill out the organizer electronically and, finally, upload source documents as a part of the process. Say a fond farewell to staff sorting through and scanning shoeboxes of receipts and documents! The information needed to complete the tax return is instantly available when clients simply return the SafeSend Organizers package – and it’s in a format that doesn’t require hours of manual data entry into your firm’s tax software program! This means with the tax accountant shortages your firm has one less labor-intensive task.
Saving Time & Saving Money
At the core of the SafeSend Suite, SafeSend Returns is a multi-year winner of the CPA Practice Advisor Technology Innovation Award. This automation solution eliminates the manual, labor-intensive elements many tax departments experience producing client-ready tax returns. By automating assembly and delivery of the completed tax package, the last mile of the tax engagement takes just minutes. Automated reminders and tracking mean less time your staff has to spend following up with clients.
SafeSend Returns gives your firm precious time back when it’s needed the most: tax season. Even better, your firm can be up and running with SafeSend Returns within 3 hours; that’s even more precious time savings. Saving money is an added benefit. The time saved with each return means less payroll hours. Paperless processes mean less money spent on paper and postage. Saving time and money is a win-win!
“The easiest thing to quantify is time. A simple, small return could take up to 30 minutes to assemble by paper. Now, all returns, no matter the size, take 5 minutes. Our assembly team loves SafeSend Returns. Year to date including the 2019 tax year and so far in 2020, we’ve processed roughly 1,400 returns. If we spend a minimum 25 minutes per return, that equals 35,000 minutes or 583 hours. That’s still only a fraction of our total amount of returns; SafeSend Returns has saved 583 hours!”
– Leizel Acres, Supervisor, Friedman & Huey Associates LLP
There may be a deficit in workers, but automation can help you overcome accountant shortages that impact your firm this time of year. Your staff will love how much time the SafeSend Suite saves them by taking the manual labor out of assembling, delivering, collecting e-signatures, sending reminders, providing payment vouchers, reporting and tracking on client activity, and K-1 distribution of business and trust returns. Clients will appreciate the ease of reviewing and signing documents with a straightforward, intuitive process that is familiar throughout every step of the tax engagement. And they’ll love the freedom to utilize their desktop, tablet, or mobile device!
Change can be scary. But continuing to manually address tasks might be causing your staff more work and costing the firm more money. How can you help your team thrive? The trick is to treat your firm to the SafeSend Suite. This sophisticated technology is wicked fast for your firm and wicked simple for clients!
Schedule Your SafeSend Suite Demo Today
SafeSend Returns is the flagship solution in the SafeSend Suite and a multi-year winner of the CPA Practice Advisor Technology Innovation Award. SafeSend Returns eliminates the manual, labor-intensive elements many tax departments experience producing client-ready tax returns.