5 Tips for Getting Ready for Tax Season: A Bookkeeper's Perspective

A new year means the countdown for a new tax season begins. Every year, tax season seems so far away, but before you know it, you are swimming in files that all need to be done urgently. Now is a good time to gear up for what is to come.

For all the bookkeepers out there, this post is for you. QuickBooks® extraordinaire, Tanya Hilts, owner and founder of Cloud Bookkeeping Services, was kind enough to share tips on what you can do to avoid drowning during tax season.

Improve Your Workflow

An organized workflow is key, especially if you’re juggling bookkeeping and tax returns among multiple staff, says Hilts.

She avoids losing things or skipping steps by having an overview list of the different files, and by tracking workflow using 17hats, an online app that helps small businesses stay organized and operate accurately and efficiently.

Evaluate Your Pricing

“Last year, I lost a lot of time doing follow up for clients who weren’t paying me for this extra work,” says Hilts.

To remedy this issue, she adopted a value pricing model, which incorporates Revenue Canada follow-up as an additional service option for clients. This is the first year she’s implementing this pricing model, after receiving mentorship from value pricing guru Ron Baker.

Revise Your Forms

“I use forms for everything to keep files flowing and to make the most of my time,” says Hilts, who requires forms from clients with rental properties or small businesses.

“I still review everything with an auditor’s eye, but these forms save a lot of time because they’re set up in a way that makes sense for me.”

The forms she uses complement her workflow habits and are easily understandable by a client.

Limit Unnecessary Appointments

Hilts avoids setting up appointments with clients, unless they are new, before she has prepared their taxes. She requests that her clients email, mail, fax or drop off their information in a dropbox at her office.

“Most people’s taxes don’t change year from year that they have to see me to drop off the documents,” says Hilts. “Before I implemented this, I spent a full day just taking calls to book appointments and seeing clients to drop off their taxes.”

To flag any changes, she requests that clients write a note when they submit their paperwork, or they will be required to answer a questionnaire to determine this.

Surround Yourself with Family Support

There’s no denying that as a bookkeeper, tax time is tough for everyone.

“Anybody who does bookkeeping and taxes probably doesn’t have a life, doesn’t sleep and doesn’t see their family during tax season,” says Hilts.

Having her family’s support during the busy season is the most important thing, she adds. To reward their patience, she treats them to a nice getaway and some quiet time.

How do you plan to prepare for the upcoming tax season?