Tax preparation is no joke. These 5 tools will help you handle it
With tax season fast approaching, the first quarter of the new year is the most important time of year for the vast majority of tax firms. Tax preparation is no joke — which is why so many individual taxpayers and business owners decide to outsource the often confusing heavy-lifting to tax professionals.
From filing returns to determining qualifying deductions, being a tax preparer requires plenty of specialized knowledge to guide you through your everyday duties. Fortunately for the current state of the tax preparation industry, it is inundated with an ever-expanding collection of helpful digital tools designed to streamline your workflow and optimize all of the inevitable number-crunching operations on your task list. For current or aspiring tax preparers, we’ve crafted a list of the 5 tools every tax preparer needs before tax season comes around.
1. Tax Preparation Software
It goes without saying that all tax preparers should have some form of preparation software before tackling their clients’ returns. Not only do these programs boost efficiency levels, but they exponentially reduce the room for mathematical error. Whether you’re a freelancer preparer or a corporate desk-jockey preparer, ProSeries tax software hosting offers top-end security, minimal IT hassle, versatile usability, and infallible reliability. While there are several tax prep software programs on the market, it pays to look into the programs that will serve you best.
2. Task Management Software
Between managing all of the meetings, appointments, and phone calls lined up on your schedule, you need a capable and dependable software service that keeps your calendar perfectly in-sync and aligned.
Amazing options like Asana and Trello provide a platform for you to schedule your days in a way that’s visually easy to comprehend and manage. Not only can you quickly see all your tasks in one place, but you can also assign projects, track the time it takes to complete them, and integrate a number of other useful applications — all within one cloud-based website.
3. Conference Call System
If your work entails working with clients over the phone, employing a conference call system is a worthwhile investment. Sometimes it’s just easier to hash things out and get the information you need over the phone — however, if you’re working in a space where the phone lines are constantly tied up, you may find it more frustrating to get a hold of a phone than the actual data-collecting itself.
GoToMeeting provides a comprehensive solution to all your conference call system needs — offering video-chat capabilities, custom email invitations, and screen-sharing features that allow you to do more than simply chat on the phone. As a busy professional with much to do in a day, GoToMeeting is an essential tool for keeping customer satisfaction and productivity levels high.
4. A Website
If you’re looking to build a loyal client base, your customers will want an online space where they can freely interact with your business services and access information whenever curiosity strikes. For freelance or small-business tax preparers, a website serves as one of the most important pieces to your business’ marketing puzzle. Online website-building software programs like Wix and Squarespace offer a slew of customizable website templates that are excellent starting points for both novices and seasoned website-making veterans.
We recommend keeping the layout and overall aesthetic of your site user-friendly and easy to navigate. The more approachable the website, the more likely potential leads are to contact you and work with you.
5. External Hard Drives
Bet you didn’t think you’d see physical tools on here, did you? Unbeknownst to most tax preparers, your workload required plenty of storage space as there are so many moving parts and digital files and folders that need a well-organized home. There’s only so much a single computer can tolerate, it’s smart to opt for logging information on an external drive. Whether you designate external hard drives to individual clients, or use them as the space piles up, they are a great idea for high-volume tax preparers.
Navigating the realm of the tax preparation world can be intimidating, however, with the right tools in your arsenal, you’re well equipped with everything you need to make this upcoming tax season the most profitable yet.