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How Can a CPA Firm Reduce Stress During Tax Season?

 

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Don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s advice that’s been around for decades. Richard Carlson wrote a hugely popular book with that title and used it as the premise for building a stress free life. He coined the expression you most certainly have heard: “Don’t sweat the small stuff…and it’s all small stuff.”

So it’s January 2016 and for most CPAs, whether they work in a large or small firm, the beginning of tax season is anything but stress free. Lots of late nights to put in and fires to put out between now and the end of tax season.

We have a recommendation for any CPA looking to make the season smoother and easier: Start sweating the small stuff.

There are hundreds of moving parts in the preparation of a tax return. Most firms get the “big things” right. They automate the tax return process using one of the many (very good) tax compliance and preparation solutions. These digital solutions offer all the forms under the sun, allow you to run diagnostics and error checks, keep you in compliance and allow you to e-file your returns.

Get the big stuff right and the small stuff will take care of itself – right? The hard truth is it’s the small stuff that will drive you crazy during tax season. What’s the small stuff?

  • Tax organizers: You spend time and resources preparing and distributing 25 – 50 page tax organizers for your clients. Your clients take one look at the package, say fuggedaboutit (if they are from the NY area), jam their receipts into the envelope and return it to you – creating more work for your staff.
  • Client engagement letters: You’ve completed a return and realize you do not have an engagement letter. Let the fire drill commence.
  • Siloed out data: Duplicate data entry and tracking data that exists in multiple systems.
  • Sign offs: Tracking and chasing down signatures and approvals
  • Roll forwards

So to reduce stress during tax season be sure to pay attention to the small stuff. It is fixable and can be much easier than you think.