The best time to observe, discuss and start plans for improvements of accounting workflows and software is during, not after, each major accounting cycle
For Immediate Release, March 18, 2021, Silicon Slopes, UT—As the IRS deadline for 2020 tax filing moves to May 17, 2021, accounting firms are having mixed reactions, according to AviiTM (www.avii.com), a leading practice management platform for tax, audit, advisory, compliance and management consulting firms.
According to the AICPA, the move is welcome news that allows additional time to react and plan guidance to major bills missing technical guidance that affect the busy season including the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020 enacted Dec. 27 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 enacted March 11, both of which contain retroactive provisions. Many are continuing to guide clients on PPP and employee retention credits. It may provide welcome ease for some overtaxed practitioners, and extra workload for others and the correlation of federal vs. state requirements that will impact the amounts they will pay.
“The additional time can also be beneficial to firms that conduct change management, client satisfaction, and software evolution research during the peak of the tax season,” adds Avii CEO and Co-Founder Lyle Ball. “Now is the time, in the heat of the battle, to observe and note the pressure points, and to advance strategic plans for improvements you can make when tax season is over. This process is further fueled by inclusion of team members from each level of each service team at the accounting firm. Distributing the effort across more team members and a broader timeframe can net a higher volume of feedback with acceptable levels of managed distraction from team member delivery requirements.”
Here’s a checklist from Avii of the challenges and opportunities to consider right now:
- Where in the process are the greatest bottlenecks? Is it document uploads, challenges with client portals, partner bandwidth to reach clients with individualized guidance? Who is “overtaxed” this week and who will be so next month?
- What are the elements that provide the greatest “surprise and delight” for your customers? These are the clues as to what you can uplift in the after-season to amplify that result.
- Where are the spots in the process where a step is repeated three or more times? These are ideal places for automation to handle and advance workflow elements, allowing humans to do higher-value activities.
- As federal regulation and guidance shifts, what is the most effective way to prepare practitioners to give consistent guidance to clients, and to then verify understanding by clients? You must shift quickly and universally to protect your role as a trusted advisor while ever improving the overall client experience.
- Are your time and billing resources tracking and recording your workloads as well as they should? An uplift in this area eliminates delays and leakage in billing and ideally can reveal insights in areas of greatest pressure and greatest profitability.
For additional ideas and support, you can visit Avii.com to review the Top 10 List of Workflow Tips for the Extended 2021 Tax Season, as well as schedule a free audit of your systems with Avii.com when the tax filing season is done.
Continues Ball: “The time to pause, think and log your satisfaction level of processes, workflows and client experiences (and the technologies that drive them) is while we power through each seasonal swell of demand and activity calendared by our accounting requirements and deadlines…not in the weeks following each major deadline.”
“If you think now, while you are on the battlefield of an accounting season, you will be better prepared when the season ends to act quickly on the change management and technology evolutions required to improve your personal life, advance team performance, and elevate firm outcomes,” he said.