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3 ways your firm can stay afloat this tax season

16th Dec 2022
Brought to you by
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Award winning CRM & practice management software

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Did you know that last year, 2,828 tax returns were filed on Christmas Day? Yep, you read that right. This just goes to show how easy it is for your work-life balance to slip through the cracks during busy season. 

But rest assured, by using the power of automation, workflow management, and HMRC integrations, you can create a much more efficient process for you, your firm, and your clients. Here are three tips to ensure that from now on, you don’t need to have your clients’ tax returns with your turkey for Christmas dinner.

SATR blog

Let go of what’s no longer serving you 

Take some time to analyse your Self Assessment process from last year. What worked, and where could you have improved? Once you’ve done this, ask your team the same questions. Take note of gaps in expectations and pull insight from their prior experiences. Could communication with clients be streamlined? Is it taking too long to acquire signatures? Is there a push towards more flexible working options? With the current skills and labour shortage, it’s imperative to highlight areas that improve your busy season process but also boost employee wellbeing and retention. 

Analyse the profitability of your work from last year to make more strategic decisions for your firm. Are you undercharging for your services? Was the team’s work equally distributed in a reasonable timeframe, or was it all smushed together into the last few weeks? Being ruthlessly honest and knowing where your pitfalls were last year can give you a much clearer picture looking into 2023 and beyond. 

Identify any problematic clients during this period too. These might be clients who often send records with missing info or are fussy regarding fees. Figure out how you’ll process these clients’ returns, with strong boundaries in place, and allocate them to your team accordingly. 

Plan ahead – don’t leave everything until last minute 

I know this states the obvious, but it’s surprising how many firms this hasn’t landed for yet. The earlier you jump on it and acquire the records you need from clients, the earlier you get it done and dusted and out of the way.  

It’s time to set your own Self Assessment deadlines. HMRC says it’s January? Tell your clients it’s October – no ifs, ands, or buts – and have the office approach the work as if it’s the actual deadline. Believe us, future you will thank you for it.  

You can do this in Bright’s practice management solution, AccountancyManager, as it adds tasks to your team’s to-do list automatically, once you’ve set the new deadline. BTCSoftware, Bright’s tax solution, has a built-in report that lets you see a bird’s eye view of the income data for the individuals and the taxpayer by tax year. 

Tired of missing records? Let automation handle it for you 

It can often feel like you’re pulling teeth trying to get the info you need for clients’ tax returns. The good news is by using clever automation tools, you can get those records you need, minus all the tooth pulling and admin work. 

Rather than creating custom forms on Word and Excel, AccountancyManager has templates, pre-written by qualified accountants, which you can share through our secure online portal. The client can fill it out online, from any device, and you’ll get a notification when it’s done.  

If a client only sent you part of the information you needed – no worries – we can chase up that client via email or text, until you get what you need. 

With BTCSoftware, you can automatically populate some of the info needed for tax returns with our bookkeeping integrations, including Xero, Sage and FreeAgent. Our HMRC integration also lets you pull P60 info straight into the client’s tax return. These automation and integration tools reduce the likelihood of errors cropping up, and save you time. 

“We ‘did a January’ and I was nearly on my knees! Then this year, with AM, we didn’t work one weekend in January – it was actually quite painless.” 
- Pippa Halfnight, Creative and Numbers 

For more Self Assessment tips, read our free guide on how your firm can stop dreading January here. 

View guide

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