2018 Tax Season Software Implementation


This tax season, we decided we were going to be more efficient than ever before. We wanted to have a streamlined administrative process for tax documents. This process begins when we received our client’s tax documents and ends with them signing the 8879 in order for us to electronically file their return. What is different about our practice is that our tax administrator is not located in house. She works remotely from D.C. This means we must have the process nailed down and our entire team on board, so we did not miss one step. We implemented two new steps to our tax process, those steps were using GruntWorx to organize and import the client’s tax data and DocuSign to send 8879s with knowledge-based authentication.

When a client drops off their tax documents, the documents are immediately scanned by our intern and sent to GruntWorx to be organized. We also have the intern put the forms in order of the tax return and double check their work when GruntWorx puts the documents in order.  We track every step of the process in Karbon, our work flow management system. Once the documents are ready, the data is imported into Lacerte, our tax software and the return is marked to be revised and completed in Karbon. This all happens before the tax preparer has their hands on the return.

Once the return is complete and the client has reviewed the return, we send the 8879 through DocuSign. This was the first year we used KBAs (knowledge-based authentication) for our 8879s per the regulations of the Internal Revenue Code. We found that the clients enjoyed the ease of use of the software and we loved that we never had to touch the 8879 again as it was “returned” to the folder in SmartVault. The KBA process was embraced by our clients and appreciated why we needed to verify their identity during the process of signing the 8879.

Another part of our process is right within the Client Organizer, we added our price sheet and required a payment method prior to preparing their return. When they filled out the Organizer we required them to initial our pricing sheet. Our firm charges by the form for tax returns and we wanted to be extremely transparent with our clients prior to preparation. We also sent the invoice (generated through Lacerte based on forms used) for the client to initial. When they complete the 8879 and initial the invoice, we process the payment and e-file the return. We have found that this process eliminates surprises when we pulled their payment.

You may want to consider new software applications and implement new processes to maximize the short tax season and have consistency among your client base.

You may want to consider new software applications and implement new processes to maximize the short tax season and have consistency among your client base.

Author Bio: Dawn W. Brolin is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Fraud Examiner, and CEO of Powerful Accounting, LLC, a nationally recognized accounting, tax, forensic and fraud, IRS Representation as well as a QuickBooks consulting firm.  Dawn’s list of professional accomplishments is extensive and includes speaking and consulting for prestigious companies.  Named “Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Accounting” 2012-2017 by CPA Practice Advisor, a “Top 10 Managing Partner Elite – Great Accounting Firm Leader” in 2017 by Accounting Today, and selected as a “Top 40 Under 40” by CPA Technology Magazine. 

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