This is the time of year when certified public accountants are mindful of both tax laws and the calendar. With the April 15 tax deadline on the horizon, their work is fast and furious and the most efficient way to turn it around is to have a clear organizational strategy in place.
Damon Yudichak, a CPA with his own firm in Wake Forest, offers these tips for other tax professionals who want to streamline the process.
Manage the meetings: During tax season, CPAs typically have a significant amount of client appointments. Yudichak says he manages that by scheduling blocks of meeting time, leaving him time to work uninterrupted. “I try to do client meetings only on Wednesdays and Thursdays and sometimes on Fridays,” he said. “That leaves time for actually getting returns processed and completed.
Work the weekends: During the busy times, most CPAs work on weekends – but that isn’t all bad.
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“(Working weekends is) nice from the standpoint that I don’t have a lot of emails coming in and I don’t have a lot of phone calls coming in. If I can get undistracted time, I get a lot more done,” Yudicak said.
Go as paperless as possible: Yudichak says eliminating mountains of paperwork leads to efficiency.
“Most of my clients get their tax returns through my website,” he said. “That cuts 15 or 20 minutes per return because I don’t have to print and I don’t have to assemble them, so there is a pretty significant time savings there.”
Yudichak also uses a secure online system that backs up data and allows clients to access their accounts.
Use email: Yudichak prefers to spend more time at the computer and less time on the phone.
“Most of my communication is done through email,” he said.
Yudichak employs rules for filing incoming messages into folders and has created more than 100 templates as starters for messages. He uses standard email messages that tell clients when their returns are done, if they’re getting a refund or if they owe money.
“Throughout the course of business, if I’m saying something and I know I am going to have to repeat that information to someone else, I’ll go ahead and save that and use it in the future,” he said.
Reach Carla Turchetti at email@example.com.