Points to Look For Before Outsourcing Accounting Firm

Points to Look For Before Outsourcing Accounting Firm

The tax season is a hectic time for accountants everywhere, and late nights and back-and-forth client calls are normal.  This year is going to be even busier because of the COVID-19 pandemic, where you will already be dealing with the new complexities that have entered your workload, and clients will require extra advisory services to understand these changes.

While this does make the self-assessment tax season one of the most challenging yet, it is an excellent opportunity for accounting firms to set processes in place that ramp up overall efficiency even while working from home. Here is how you can ace the upcoming tax season and keep your team healthy and motivated:

1. Start Your Planning Right Now

All too often, accountants leave the document collection and client chasing for invoices until the last minute and then scramble to complete everything on time. Instead, start planning for the Self-Assessment Tax season as soon as you can.  It’s never too early to start.

For instance, you can draw up a verification schedule for when client data will be required and send out your communications accordingly. You can also have regular refresher sessions where you and your team update yourselves on new tax laws or schemes.

Planning also includes checking up on your office (work and home) hardware and software to ensure that everything is up-to-date and functioning. That way, you avoid last-minute server breakdowns or software crashes.

2. Create a Process For Your Clients To Provide You With Information

One way to get a head start on the self-assessment tax season is by compiling your client documents well in advance. To make this happen, design a simple process whereby clients can share the information they need without trouble.

For instance, you could email them the list of documents needed and provide them with a secure link to a file-sharing platform where they can upload the documents.

You could also share your document verification schedule with them, including the timelines needed to go through each document, and clarify any grey areas to submit tax returns to the HMRC. This keeps the process transparent and ensures that everything happens on time.

3. Charge Full Price

As an Accounting Firm that consistently provides value to your clients, you should be confident about charging full price. After all – you and your practice staff are good at your job, you all work hard to keep your skills sharp, and you deserve to charge a fair fee per client.

Your clients will appreciate you more if you highlight the value you provide and charge your fees accordingly. And the more you focus on building a relationship with them, the less likely they are to transfer their business to a lower-priced competitor.

Alternatively, quote a higher price if a client is already late in getting all the necessary documents to you, and now the responsibility of preparing and filing their tax returns is in your hands. Even though it is your job to ensure timely tax payments, your time is valuable, and hence, you must charge for it.

4. Outsource Your Accounting

If tax accounting is not a focus area for your accounting firm or you badly require a helping hand, you could always consider outsourcing. This takes some of the pressure off your team and allows them to stay involved in more business-critical functions, while also letting them adjust better to the new WFH reality.

Plus, accounts outsourcing service providers such as FineX are experts on Self-Assessment Tax laws and have all the necessary software updated and in place, which saves you the trouble of having to install and learn it yourself.

Moreover, they can chase clients for information, invest ample time in tax filing, while giving you peace of mind during the busy period. Therefore, if this is an option you are considering, be sure to choose a service provider that has a track record of successfully working with UK accounting projects.

5. Train Your Staff And Set Expectations

Tax season inevitably involves long hours and late nights for accountants. Even in the current work-from-home scenario, your practice staff is likely to spend most of their day on the laptop. It is thus essential to bring some balance into the workspace so that they don’t suffer from burnout.

For instance, you could agree that every staff member can clock out early once a week to spend more time with family. You should also keep office meetings short and to the point so that the day is spent more efficiently.

If there are new tax-related tools to be used, conduct a training session so that everyone is comfortable with it. Above all, ensure that your practice staff knows that you are there for them, no matter how stressful it gets.

6. Complete The Necessary Due Diligence

As an accountant, you must familiarize yourself with the latest tax laws and ensure that all your clients’ accounts have passed due diligence. The penalties for not doing so can go up into the six-figure range, so be sure to take out the time for this.

7. Focus On Your Client’s Future Needs

Every client wants to pay lower taxes. While wrapping up their self-assessment tax returns for this year, therefore, you should aim to take some time out and discuss with them their future tax-saving strategies.

For instance, get in touch with your clients and explain to them how certain life events such as divorce, death, or business mergers might have tax implications for them. Of course, these are just examples, but having regular contact will help them view their association with you as a relationship, not a commodity, and continue to work with you year after year.

Make sure if it is relevant, you talk to them about how they can benefit from schemes such as the Coronavirus Business Loan Interruption Scheme (CBLIS) or the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) as launched by the UK government to keep businesses afloat.

Summing It Up

The self-assessment tax season is stressful, indeed, and your staff’s productivity levels can go low if you do not take appropriate measures to support them during the busy period. Hence, follow the tips mentioned above and outsource your tax accounting function to let yourself and your staff breathe easy.

Are you keen to outsource and are looking for a reliable partner? Call us on +44 20 8144 8995 or email us at [email protected] to learn more about our services and how we can help you.

Fin-eX offers outsourcing solutions to various accounting firms, accountants in practice and businesses. Our clientele includes five of the top 50 Accountancy firms *. We are the go-to outsource for many general practices that are looking to grow with less hassle. Fin-eX is also one of the few GDPR
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