We recently marked the official opening of the 2022 return filing season. The IRS began accepting returns on Jan. 23. As per usual, not all form types are going to be accepted early, but suffice it to say, tax season is well underway.
Practitioners already are feeling the crunch of the 1099 deadline looming even without the expanded 1099-K reporting requirements. The top issues facing practitioners this season center largely around efficiency.
A combination of inputs over the last two to three years have put increased pressure on tax preparers. Many individuals started home based and remote businesses during the pandemic, adding complicating factors to returns that may have previously only included a W-2 and some itemized deductions. This shift combined with an ever more complex tax code as increased the demand for professionals to prepare returns.
A marketplace survey back in 2019 found that most taxpayers, even with simple returns would seek out professionals, or at the very least software, to assist them as many don’t even know what forms apply to them. With fewer than 70,000 tax professionals in the US that means there are roughly 4,500 taxpayers to every professional.
The average age of tax preparers in the US is 47, nearly 300,000 accountants left their jobs in the last two years and the number of students coming out of colleges with accounting degrees has consistently declined since 2019.
What does all this mean? It means those of us in the profession are going to have top notch tools and efficiency to be able to operate without burnout.
Cloud-based software and resources are absolutely non-negotiable in practice now. Tasks as simple as sending clients requests for documents and information can be incredibly time-consuming even in a small practice only serving a couple hundred clients. Firms must look to the resources available to automate tasks.
Tools like Suralink, Zapier and Tax Planner Pro become more critical to cut out time on manual processes. Suralink provides request list software, automated workflows and document sharing and management tools. The software boasts the ability to save even small firms big dollars when it comes to cutting the number of hours spent manually requesting documents from clients.
Zapier offers a wide variety of “zaps” that can be integrated with your existing software to create automation and workflow between different softwares without manual intervention. Tax Planner Pro syncs with both bookkeeping and tax software to help create tax planning strategies for your clients at the click of a button.
All these tools cut down manual processing time, a key component of success in today’s tax practitioner environment.
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