Keys to Success for Tax Automation and Outsourcing
By Donny C. Shimamoto, CPA.CITP, CGMA
Tax season seems to be getting worse every year. Last minute changes to the tax code, delayed tax software updates, workload compression and a shortage of experienced tax professionals continue to exacerbate what is already a grueling season for many accounting firms. Yet some firms have been showing strong growth and even increased work-life balance. To understand how these firms were bucking the general trends, we interviewed a variety of them to see if we could identify the secret to their success. The primary answers we found: increased tax automation and outsourcing.
The 6 Fundamentals of Paperless Tax Workpapers
Recently, we polled a group of tax professionals and 78% said that their 1040 review process was inefficient. Why? Because in today’s “paperless” world, most preparers lack the tools to prepare well documented workpapers so review efficiency suffers. In the paper-based world, tax professionals were taught to use standard workpaper documentation techniques like standardized indexes, tickmarks, annotations, cross referencing, etc. Those techniques minimized review time and maximized leverage but they have largely been lost in the move to “paperless”. By using software tailor-made for the efficient preparation and review of workpapers, firms can not only regain the leverage of their paper-based processes, but surpass it.
Key Do’s & Don’ts of an Automated 1040 Tax Practice
This whitepaper examines the five key elements of the ultimate automated tax workflow. Review what to do and what not to do within each section for guidance in developing a fool-proof paperless tax process. Elements include proper scanning hardware, the scanning process, multiple monitors, the importance of planning & training, and workpaper & workflow flexibility.
The Flexibility of Paper in a Paperless Environment
Over the last decade, the accounting profession has undergone a slow and steady evolution to the paperless office—a transition that began in the area of audit. As audit professionals started to reap the rewards of more efficient, paperless workpapers, tax practitioners took note and soon followed suit—putting the tax department at the center of the paperless movement. In the last few years, the advancement of OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology and improved scanning processes have allowed firms to transition to a far more efficient and time-saving digital tax process…
Managing The Change To Automated Tax Workpapers
The benefits of paperless tax preparation are clear: Automating the organization and entry of client tax documents is far more efficient than working by hand. Going paperless saves time and money, and allows administrators or junior staff members to do high-value activities that used to require experienced tax preparers. This white paper outlines a five-phase change management methodology and implementation tool kit by which your firm can plan, implement, and sustain the transition to a paperless tax workflow.