Reading Time: 3 minutes

The #1 Mistake Tax Firms Make During Tax Season

It’s more apparent now than ever that tax professionals have an incredibly limited supply of time during tax season. You can’t afford the time and money mistakes cost. To conserve your most precious resource, you need to optimize your firm’s workflow efficiency. Here’s the #1 mistake that tax firms make during tax season and how to avoid it, so that you can save time and money.

The biggest problem that most tax firms encounter has nothing to do with the quality or the pricing of their work. But even small inefficiencies can and will add up. And, when they do, they will cost you significantly, both in profit and the time it takes to fix them.

When it comes to filing tax returns, it’s true that commoditization, and all of its related issues, is often to be blamed for problems. But, that’s not the most common mistake tax firms make. The #1 mistake is something that can be easily solved with just a simple tweak to your current processes.

What Is the #1 Mistake Tax Firms Make During Tax Season?

The #1 mistake that tax firms make during tax season is beginning to fill out tax returns without having 100% of the necessary documents required to complete them from clients. You should not touch your clients’ returns unless you can complete them in one sitting. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your time and theirs.

If you begin processing your clients’ tax returns without all their needed information, you’ll quickly discover that it becomes a game of tag. Client’s might not be able to respond quickly or might not know what you’re asking for from them. You’re wasting time and resources chasing them down for information. And, they’re losing confidence in your expertise and value.

And, in an effort to complete your client’s tax return quickly, you risk bombarding them with follow-up calls and messages. This too will annoy clients and damage your relationship. Processing a tax return without all the necessary files from your clients’ end will directly impact your profitability and cause you to work longer hours for a lesser reward.

How to Solve the #1 Mistake Tax Firms Make During Tax Season

All you need to do to avoid the number one mistake that tax firms make during tax season, is to install a process that ensures you get all the needed tax return information from your clients before you start. Delegate someone, ideally not the owner of the firm, to ensure that all the documents needed for a client’s tax return are accounted for. Creating an all-encompassing checklist is a great place to start, even if you typically serve regular tax clients.

Your clients want the results that your tax firm can provide them– quickly and accurately filed taxes. But, if you’re focused on building your dream firm, this change shouldn’t be spearheaded by you. Delegate this task so that you can focus on high-level activities, like dream client acquisition and workflow improvements.

But, in order to make this work, you need to ensure that effective onboarding processes are in place to train your team properly. Your employees will have to learn to keep a sharp eye out for missing files from your clients’ end. And, they’ll need to commit to the process, even if it involves waiting on documents before they get started. With this kind of pipeline in place, you can rest assured that your clients’ tax returns are being processed efficiently, without the extra stress and time.

And, while we’re disrupting norms and dismantling long-held beliefs about all things taxes– we’ll let you in on a little secret. Tax season is a myth. You can read more about our least favorite fairy tale here, but just know that the stress and strain associated with tax season is not a given. In fact, there’s a way to approach tax season that gets rid of the stress and maximizes profits. And, that’s our specialty.