Tax season is already stressful enough. Between calls from clients, late nights and massive workloads, we need all the help we can get to avoid becoming overwhelmed with work. Technology can play a huge part in relieving the stress of what is the busiest time of year for accountants, and you should take advantage of every tool at your disposal to make the period as breezy as possible.
Leveraging the best tech tools requires using a cloud accounting platform year round, as they will integrate seamlessly with your core accounting engine and help you get work done quicker. Here are the tech tools you need to keep calm and stay organized this tax season.
1. Automate invoicing The last thing you want to be doing during busy season is chasing clients for payments. Invoice Sherpa integrates with your firm’s backend cloud accounting software and will keep track of invoices to your clients until they get paid. Send customizable, recurring reminders, set how often they’re sent and even send thank you notes. You can also set up invoices on a subscription basis. Your clients can pay from within the invoice or reminder, using your payment gateway of choice. Once payment is received, your accounting system is updated automatically, eliminating double data entry. Invoice Sherpa is also a great invoicing solution that can help your clients get paid faster when implemented as part of their cloud accounting ecosystem; the benefits extend beyond tax season. 2. Streamline client communication Communication with clients is important during busy season, but when you have to go back and forth with them over the phone or via email, it starts to become a huge time drain. G Suite is a set of intelligent apps that fosters real-time collaboration, not only with your clients but within your firm, and helps boost productivity in the workplace. Store documents securely on the cloud with Drive, instant message and hold video conferences using Hangouts and create collaborative spreadsheets and documents. Depending on the accounting platform, you may even be able to use Gmail within your accounting software to send emails and start a quote or invoice from within the email. You can rest assured that all of you and your clients’ sensitive data is safe in the cloud with teams of security experts working around the clock to protect them. 3. Paperless document collection Think about the most painful part of busy season. If your answer is akin to the moment when a client shows up with a shoebox full of receipts, you’re not alone. A mobile, cloud-based solution that they can use to capture them will be helpful for both of you. Introduce them to an app where they can snap a photo of any necessary documents, and help transition them from questionable means of document filing to cloud-based storage. Hubdoc is perfect for this and integrates seamlessly with most cloud accounting software so that fetching a document results in the data being synced automatically and coded as a transaction. It’s another good year-round habit to get your clients into but will lighten your load during tax time. 4. Stay mindful Beyond the tech tools that will make the work itself easier during tax season, taking care of yourself is an important part of staying sane. There are quite a few apps out there that can help you declutter your mind and destress, providing help with staying mindful. Headspace is one of these, offering guided and non-guided meditation sessions ranging anywhere from two minutes to one hour, including lessons on how to apply mindfulness to everyday situations. Another time-tested relaxation strategy is listening to meditation albums like Deepak Chopra’s “The Soul of Healing - Affirmations.” You can find it on Spotify, along with a playlist I created to help you relax. Take time between meetings or clients to use these aids, and keep your mind healthy during this busy time.
These are just some of the tools you can use to make things easier for you and your clients this tax season, keeping you organized and in the right frame of mind to tackle whatever gets thrown at you during this busy time of year.
Amy Vetter is the global vice president of education and head of accounting, USA, for Xero.