The tax season is the most daunting and challenging time for most companies. This is because filing income tax returns is a taxing process. No pun intended. It is the time when companies have to carefully monitor their activities and make sure everything is running smoothly. Tax returns outsourcing has been adopted by many companies as it is cost-effective and lessens their workload. Companies can relax and focus on their core areas as their work is taken care of by specialists. This is why reputed companies these days are preferring to outsource accounting and bookkeeping services. But there are still many hurdles to overcome.
For the more progressive and forward-thinking companies and tax practitioners, there is an easy way out. Tax season is like a marathon where preparation, teamwork and after-performance analysis will take the company a long way. It will lead to higher company profitability, improved performance and maybe even fewer late nights. However, the challenges have to be overcome first.
Here are some of the challenges the outsourced specialists have to deal with after being hired by a company:
- Setting realistic client expectations
Tax preparers have the meaty task of filing tax returns and meeting stiff deadlines. Along with this, they have to face the clients who would already be frustrated. In addition to all these problems to this, the additional delay for return acceptance just adds more fuel to the fire. Good and sound knowledge of the existing tax software is always helpful, especially after a few years of heavy use. However, the late tax changes always affects the software. At the point, the biggest challenge is time management. This is why client education is important. They need to become aware of how much work the outsourced workers are putting in and how much the turnaround will be. Even though a high amount of expertise and knowledge is at disposal clients may not know what to expect sometimes and their doubts have to be put to rest.
Clients should be made aware of the average turnaround time at the beginning if the tax season, prior to submitting their documents. This act will empower clients to get their documentation done as soon as possible to give the preparers more time to work. There should also be healthy communication between the company and the tax preparers so that the operations can be conducted in a streamlined manner.
- Firm preparation
Once the client expectations have been set, the next challenge is the firm preparation. Staff management is one the important factors to consider here. Identifying staff roles and successfully implementing a strong delegation method among the available personnel will lead to efficiency in managing workflow. The management policies be consistent with the work done. A winning strategy to integrate would be to ask the experts to adopt the company practices and assimilate themselves into the company environment. It helps facilitate a working dialogue between the company and the hired workers. The specialists will become more productive in coming up with ideas and overall performance will improve as they will feel more comfortable in the company environment. Consistency is the most vital part of the tax process and every member of the team should be capable to bring something crucial to the table. The accounting system and IT infrastructure must be prepared to handle heavy volume, staff must be given proper training in advance and delays in others projects must be set aside.
- Evaluating performance
After everything is done, the performance of the team has to be evaluated. Many companies advocate team or staff meetings to evaluate problems or ideas for improvement. The staff turnaround time must be evaluated based on system records and measured against the company metrics. This will enable the staff to learn from their weaknesses and strengthen their performance for the next season. In addition, the outsourcing service must have a follow-up meeting with company so they can check whether the returns were processed efficiently and get the feedback of the company.
If the outsourcing firm can successfully navigate the challenges the company faces and maintain momentum throughout the season, it is sure to have a successful run.