- Why SurePrep
- Talk to Sales
Goal: Improve 1040 tax workpaper standardization, file sharing and staff availability, and eliminate paper organizers and portals.
Interviewed: Susan Penno, Partner
Association Membership: BDO Alliance USA
Core services: CPA firm with an advisory focus that delivers a tax strategy, accounting support, assurance services and leadership insight
Office locations: Oak Park, IL, and Naperville, IL
Employees: 35 professional and support staff, including 8 partners/principals, and 8 managers
Technology of Choice: SurePrep’s TaxCaddy, 1040SCAN PRO with SPbinder, CCH Axcess Tax
In 2016, Sassetti was in the midst of merging with another firm and found themselves facing two challenges—sharing documents and staff availability across two offices. A Tax Initiative Team was formed to streamline tax workpaper preparation, increase review efficiency, and unify the two offices. A new Sassetti team member suggested utilizing 1040SCANverify and SPbinder after experiencing their benefits with a previous employer. This is where the company’s partnership with SurePrep began.
“After the merger. The need for standardization was clear,” said Susan Penno, a partner at Sassetti. “We had to put in place some technological tools to facilitate standard processes between both offices and to do that, we needed a robust standardized workpaper tool which is why we ended up using SPbinder.”
SPbinder automatically organizes tax workpapers into a standardized index, making it easy for Susan and her team to keep track of all documents and information. SPbinder’s automated workpaper index is formatted so that it follows the flow of the tax return, saving time and increasing efficiency for Sassetti’s review staff. This newfound convenience helped them achieve their goal of unifying the two offices.
“It doesn’t matter which office the client dropped [documents] off at,” Susan said. “Once it’s scanned and in SPbinder we can flex the work over to a preparer in a different office.”
Like all CPA firms, Sassetti found themselves balancing a heavy workload during peak tax season. Looking to increase efficiency and productivity, the company began using 1040SCANverify, SurePrep’s scan-and-populate software plus OCR verification service.
All scan-and-populate solutions require that OCR’d data is reviewed for accuracy before the data gets exported to tax software. With 1040SSCANverify, SurePrep acts as a centralized service center and SurePrep staff perform the verification work in a cost-efficient manner.
Since 1040SCANverify exports data directly to the tax software, the preparer role is elevated from data entry to review.
“We want our people who pick up the return after it comes back from 1040SCANverify processing to do most of the tax return review work, so the reviewers save time as well,” Susan said. “We hope to push everyone up to the next level.”
In Sassetti’s efforts to increase efficiency and standardization, one more obstacle still stood in their way. Paper tax organizers.
Sassetti wanted to eliminate paper organizers and offer an alternative for clients who preferred to provide their information electronically. In their search for solutions at the 2017 BDO Alliance USA conference they learned about TaxCaddy, SurePrep’s mobile solution for source document requests and retrieval, electronic signatures, and customized questionnaire. With the 2017 tax year ahead of them, they decided to take the leap.
TaxCaddy gave Sassetti’s clients the option to upload all their source documents, answer the questionnaire and submit all information electronically instead of mailing it in or dropping it off in person. The simplified format not only saved time, but also created an easy bridge of communication between the firm and their clients.
“[The TaxCaddy] document request list that is customized to each person’s prior year tax return is fantastic,” Susan said. “It’s really useful for our clients in terms of knowing that they’re gathering everything from last year and, if not, telling us why.”
Sassetti utilizes SurePrep’s solutions to automate and streamline their 1040 tax preparation in 4 simple steps:
To increase 1040 tax return standardization and improve the client experience you have to say goodbye to the tax return preparation processes of yesterday. Streamlining workflow and reducing manual work will save your firm time and money, but the benefits don’t end there. When 1040 tax workpaper standardization is automated and data entry into tax software is dramatically reduced or eliminated, your staff can deliver higher value services as trusted advisors. And isn’t that why they got into the profession in the first place?
When your firm leverages technology that seamlessly integrates with your existing tax software you benefit at each phase of the tax return process. Administrative costs are reduced, workpaper preparation is automated, review efficiency is maximized, and client service is improved. It’s a win for your staff. It’s a win for your firm. It’s a win for your clients.
One Sassetti client said, “TaxCaddy did a nice job of organizing my documents and checking to be sure I had everything uploaded to my tax professional. I rate it a 10 out of 10.”