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Tax Season Tips to Make it Through the Final Stretch

Staying motivated during busy season can be a challenge. It can begin to feel as if you are meeting yourself coming and going as the weeks of putting in long hours drag on. The mounds of work can become overwhelming as the list of engagement letters and e-file authorizations to hunt down grows. Here are three tax season tips to stay motivated as the deadline approaches.

1.      Declutter to Reduce Stress

Even when you aren’t directly feeling the effects, clutter can contribute to stress. Simply walking into a chaotic and cluttered workspace can spike stress levels, even on a subconscious level. When you have stacks of organizers to review, mountains of source documents that need to be scanned, and piles of returns to mail out, the sheer volume of work at a glance can cause stress before you even begin to tackle the jobs.

Reducing clutter is one tax season tip to help you start building ways into your day to relieve stress and add an element of calm. Clearing away the piles of paperwork creates a clean look and a calm environment. One way to clear paper clutter is with paperless systems. From client organizers to tax return packages and even extensions, digital options in the SafeSend Suite transform the volumes of paper into paperless documents that are easily and securely transmitted to and received from your clients.

“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.” – Leizel Acres, Friedman & Huey Associates LLP

The less paper clutter in the office, the less time is spent searching for documents, manually filing paper forms, and stuffing and mailing envelopes.

2.      Organize with Automation

When clutter is under control and less piles of paperwork are around, frustration levels begin to subside.

Workflow organization is a tax season tip that helps improves efficiency which, in turn, increases profits. Knowing that an organized work area can bring a sense of calm is one thing, acting on that knowledge is another. Diving deeper into organizing procedures can help keep you motivated during busy season.

Digital organization is a key ingredient in efficiency, and automation can further streamline processes – oftentimes eliminating some of the manual procedures. SafeSend Returns is an automation solution like no other. The labor-intensive elements so many firms experience with the “last mile” of producing client-ready tax return packages is eliminated. In its place is award-winning technology that addresses tedious tasks and eliminates pain points.

Several practitioners responding to the 2022 CPA Trendlines Busy Season Barometer commented they are increasing efficiency through the use of, or upgrade in, technology and implementing new procedures to reduce stress. Likewise, replacing multiple tools with one that covers a range of needs and processes is another step to streamline systems.

“If you are using multiple tools for tax package assembly and delivery, SafeSend Returns can automate that process and reduce your digital footprint.” – Christopher Papin, Papin CPA

Unlike traditional software implementation, the implementation of automation like SafeSend Returns only takes a few hours, but it will have lasting effects. The workflow in your firm will be positively impacted throughout the entire tax engagement. It’s a tax season tip that will increase motivation now and improve organization for years to come.

3.      Working Smarter

Stepping back to assess the workflow in your firm and look for ways to improve processes can mean the difference between being stressed and being savvy. Working smarter is a tax season tip that has its roots in reevaluating familiar processes that may be comfortable but are not always the best practice. When office procedures have been engrained for so long with reasoning like, “That’s how we’ve always done it,” it’s a good indication that there is room for improvement and automation opportunity.

“SafeSend Returns has had a really positive impact on our tax people. They prepare a return, then we take it from there and it’s only a matter of seconds to send a return to a client.” – Janet DiBiase, Wiss & Company, LLP

Increase Efficiency and Productivity

An important part of this tax season tip is to think about the efficiency of automating every client touchpoint. That means including tax return assembly and delivery, as well as the manual tasks associated with the back-and-forth of client communication. When processes aren’t standardized, inconsistencies have a way of finding their way into your processes. SafeSend Returns provides a consistent procedure across multiple office locations from partners and preparers to admins, creating a standardized workflow.

When the client experience is automated and streamlined, the client knows what to expect and what to do with the extremely intuitive guidance they receive. Their experience is the same whether they are signing an engagement letter or reviewing and signing a tax package. Their business returns are as familiar a process as their personal returns. Whether it’s POAs or K-1s, the process is similar and easily recognizable, not to mention branded with the firm’s information so they know in an instant they are receiving correspondence from their firm.

Boost Focus and Performance

Working smarter means better performance. Being able to shift the focus of the work from frantic to functional can impact performance. With a straightforward, guided process in place for clients to review, sign and return their tax package, the hours staff normally spends following up with clients to get forms signed and returned in the last weeks leading up to the tax deadline can be spent on more exciting projects, or even have more time back to spend with family and friends.

Increased performance means less chance for burnout. There is also more time in the day to spend with clients on higher-level conversations rather than just fielding password reset requests or making follow-up calls to get e-file forms back.

In a time where accountants are recognizing that manual, time-consuming processes are keeping them frantically juggling manual tasks, these tax season tips provide ways to encourage tax and accounting professionals throughout the last push of tax season. Many of these tips can be implemented to not only boost performance, motivation, and morale this tax season but improve your firm’s performance next tax season and for countless future tax seasons. 

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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. 

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