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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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What Customers Are Saying About 1040SCAN

  • 1040SCAN PRO is at the core of a highly efficient workflow. It is the elite software in its class.

    Crissie Landry, CPA LaPorte CPAs & Business Advisors
  • 1040SCAN has helped us to standardize our workpapers, while moving the scanning and verification to administrative staff, freeing up professional staff to get the tax files done in less time.

    Barbara Cooper, CPA, MBA Cooper Associates, LLC
  • 1040SCANverify can be a lifesaver for extensions. If you’re in a crunch and you need to quickly calculate an extension payment for clients that have primarily standard documents, it [1040SCANverify] can quickly calculate the tax liability.

    Beth Attebery, CPA The Henry Levy Group, A CPA Firm
  • With SPbinder, preparers can create open items and other notes that are automatically linked to the related workpapers. Then they can export the notes to email. Then I can get the email as the partner-in-charge, I can open SPbinder and quickly go to those pages and answer the questions, and leave a trail showing that it was me who answered it. So that was a process that gained efficiency.

    Jeff M. Lawson, CPA, MST Stoy, Malone & Company, P.C.
  • The decision to center our tax workflow process around SurePrep will prove to be one of the most important choices in the history of our firm.

    Adam Wolfe Bobby Medlin CPA
  • 1040SCAN did an excellent job of getting all the numbers out of brokerage statements… We could very easily get through multi-page Schedule D’s and out of maybe five or six hundred numbers that have to be imported into the return, there were only two or three numbers that had to be changed (in verification). So it was highly accurate.

    Paul Sevigny, CPA, CVA, CFA Stoy, Malone & Company, P.C.
  • 1040SCAN PRO has bookmarked the whole file, perfectly entered interest, dividends and it’s done. With 1040SCAN PRO I’d say that I easily saved 50-75% of my time.

    Susan Shusko, CPA