The Top 10 Things You Can Do for Your Accountant (so they can do for you)
By Emy Brubacher
In our office, this is a “taxing” time of year (tongue in cheek)!
But to be serious, tax season means long hours and late nights for our team; weekends in the office, missed family events, less sleep…
As one of the only ones in the office who does not work on tax files, I was looking for a way to help alleviate the workload on my fellow team members. I thought “what if I can help communicate to our clients, what they can do to help.” Really it’s a win-win, their workload becomes easier and your taxes get done more efficiently.
So, I sent around a question – what can our clients do for you to help make your job easier?
Here are the top 10 answers:
- Read what your accountant sends you: Our team takes time to create a full package of information to help simplify things both for you and for them. This includes checklists of what they need from you, documents you need to sign, and forms you need to complete. If you follow the directions provided, you will know what you need to have prepared ahead of time. This eliminates a lot of “back and forth” communication and ultimately saves everyone time.
- Bring it all in at once: Once you know what you need (if you have followed tip #1), don’t bring slips and forms into our office until you have it all together. This includes making sure you have slips from investments, etc. Also, make sure all the documents you have are the “official” version (i.e. rent & charitable receipts, property tax bills). Dropping off a few pieces of information at a time can cause confusion and every time a file is touched, the process takes longer and becomes less efficient.
- Don’t bring in the kitchen sink: In connection with #2, while we ask that you bring in all your information at once, we also do not want you to bring in every piece of paper you have. The process of weeding through receipts and slips to find out what is applicable and what is not can be extremely time-consuming.
- Make yourself available: Even if you have followed all the directions and provided all the necessary information, don’t assume we don’t need to talk to you. A diligent tax preparer wants to make sure they file your taxes as accurately as possible, and sometimes that means asking questions and clarifying information. The sooner you respond and provide the answers, the faster they can finish your file.
- Keep us updated: Be sure to let us know of significant changes in your situation ahead of time; new address, major life events (marriages, divorces, children, etc), business-related purchases, etc. Not having this information ahead of time can result in having to fill out additional forms or make amendments, which all adds up to extra time.
- Don’t shoot the messenger: When we call you to let you know how much tax you owe, please remember that we are not the ones charging you tax. We are just crunching the numbers.
- Provide constructive feedback: If you have ideas or suggestions for how we can improve our service and make things easier for everyone involved, please share! We are always open to change if it simplifies life.
- Provide a word of encouragement: If you are talking to us on the phone, a kind word or two can help make our day. It can be an exhausting time of year and a little positivity goes a long way in giving us a little boost.
- Be patient with us: Please know that we have other clients that are all vying for our attention (we are popular at this time of year…). We try our hardest to respond as quickly as possible to our clients and to get your work done. Following the above suggestions will definitely help us with this.
- Start putting your information together for next year: Create a file now to start collecting your 2019 information that you know you need to provide every year. Ultimately, this will save you time next year when it is tax season once again.
Bonus tip: Remove the staples: it doesn’t make sense to be paying your accountant to do it!
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