As the tax season is upon us, you might be wondering how you are going to do it all. Here are several ways you become more efficient, less stressed, have happier clients and maybe even make more money.
Prioritize your mental health
Maintaining good physical, emotional and mental health is key for a productive tax season. There are many modalities to maintain our mental and physical health that only take a few minutes a day. A simple tip is to become aware of how we breathe. Studies by organizations like the Heart Math Institute show that once our heart and brains are working in coherence, we feel less stressed and more in tune with ourselves. Additionally, getting movement every day helps. Even 10 minutes of a brisk walk can help you feel less stressed and more uplifted.
Take these suggestions with you and know you are empowered to make changes at your own pace to maintain your mental and physical health during stressful times.
Develop healthy processes within your tax practice
Once your physical and mental health are in balance, we can look at the systems within your tax practice. There are also ways you can use cloud accounting and Xero to prevent you from doing catch up work during tax season and potentially generate revenue from clients year round.
If you’ve received boxes of receipts from clients, you probably never want to see that again. Not only is it time consuming to enter everything manually, but there can be missing data. Tools like Hubdoc or Xero Files can help your clients go paperless. Hubdoc will read the receipt and put key data directly into Xero. It will also bring in an image of the receipt to Xero so that your client is audit ready. Xero Files is a simpler way to get data into Xero so that you can code the transaction to the correct account manually with the image for reference. Both tools allow you or your clients to send the data to Xero quickly via a mobile app or email.
If you are coding transactions one by one, you are losing time and money. When you are a tax or accounting professional, your time is a cost that will impact your bottom line directly. Cloud accounting tools allow us to use technology for data entry so that you and your staff can spend more time working with clients and analyzing data. Time spent doing this type of work is also valued more by clients, who want to receive advice and insights on their financials.
Leverage cloud accounting tools
You may have the banking data in the accounting system, but then how do you get it categorized into the correct account and get it ready for the tax return quickly? Xero offers two tools for this called Cash Coding and Bank Rules.
Cash Coding allows you to bulk reconcile transactions at once so that you can reconcile a year’s worth of transactions in just a couple hours. If you have a client that didn’t keep accounting records all year, this will speed up the process of coding the transactions to the right account so that you are ready to work on the tax return in no time.
Bank Rules are extremely helpful for both monthly clients and clients you see once a year. Using Cash Coding in conjunction with Bank Rules is the most powerful way to reconcile in Xero. Bank rules allow you to essentially pre-code a transaction based on data that Xero will recognize such as vendor name or reference information. Bank rules will be saved in your client’s organization automatically and ready to be reconciled using Cash Coding with just the click of a button. Using this tool will help you for tax seasons to follow.
Have better conversations with clients
Once you start working in the cloud and utilizing these tools, you are opening up new ways of working with your clients. Now, you can work with clients in real time because you have introduced automation. Since you can whip up a professional and polished Profit and Loss Statement quickly, you can present this to your clients to show how you can provide insights on their business all year long. You can explain to them how you could help them make big decisions on their business.
By sharing these insights, you are having a conversation with your client that should motivate them to see their accounting data and interact with you more than once a year. This sets you up as a trusted advisor and provides opportunities to add on services such as advisory or monthly accounting. Having the numbers in real-time along with a trusted advisor gives your clients the power to make better and timely business decisions.
Jackeline Velez is the Director, US Hispanic, Xero.