Getting Started with Tax Preparation Workflows & Automation

Oct 16, 2023 | Automations

Do you spend more time onboarding tax prep clients manually, performing the same processes repeatedly, than turning new leads into clients to grow your business?

Or maybe you’re already trying to solve these issues by using TaxDome, but you feel you aren’t making the most out of the product? You understand how it works, but you know you can do so much more with it, you just don’t know how.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone!

Hundreds of tax professionals were in the same boat until they learned about our tax preparation workflows and automation. They were also busy doing manual tasks and needed help to scale their business and grow their client base. Fortunately, with some help and guidance, they learned a better way of doing things. And this better way is automating tax preparation workflows.

This article will share expert advice for tax professionals ready to get into workflow automation to begin their journey toward becoming a high-revenue practice.

So, who will you be learning from?

Jessica Smith is an IRS Enrolled Agent and Tax Strategist who has been using TaxDome for over three years. She is the creator of numerous processes and templates compatible with the program.

Jamie Gruol is a workflow specialist with extensive experience in software implementation project management, a degree in accounting, and an MBA.

Together, they founded the Workflows for Tax Pros program that is guaranteed to help you get your tax workflows under control and working for you instead of the other way around.

The Workflows for Tax Pros program (W4TP) offers a paid solution to tax professionals ready to solve their business problems by learning tax preparation workflow and automation. The program provides seven modules and a thriving community of tax professionals to help you build your tax workflows and take control of your business.

Why Automated Tax Workflows?

You might be asking yourself, why should you automate your tax workflows? Do you really need to change what you’re currently doing? The short answer is yes, you should. If you want to move forward and grow your tax preparation business, you need to automate.

Here are several reasons why you should automate your tax preparation workflow:

  • Build and scale your tax business, whether you are a solopreneur or own a small firm with numerous clients
  • Increase your profits when you land more clients
  • Onboard more clients without having to hire or expand your team
  • Less time chasing down signatures, documents, forms, and handling day-to-day multiple admin tasks
  • Enjoy more free time, even during tax season
  • Offer a better client experience and gain more referrals
  • Cost savings by eliminating the need for multiple tools
  • More peace of mind, knowing that nothing will fall through the cracks
  • Transition into a digital and paperless business
  • Secure and compliant

These are just a few of the benefits of automating your tax preparation workflows. Now, let’s look at a couple of examples of automated workflows.

13-Step Automated Tax Workflow Example:

Don’t jump into it headfirst when you are getting ready to automate your workflow. Spend a little time studying your typical workflow (without automation). Take note of every task you do daily. Use Excel or Google Sheets to organize the tasks you do.

One way to do this is to work backward. Think of the end result you want to achieve and work toward the beginning. This is how you’ll determine the critical tasks in your workflow you’ll want to include in your automated workflow.

Once you’re ready with a typical workflow, you can begin using TaxDome.

Here are the general steps for automating the tax preparation workflow:

1.) New and Returning Clients receive an initial email

New and returning clients will receive a tax season kickoff email. Create a standard template for each client type – examples of these include new client individual return or returning client S Corp. Depending on the specific client details, you can customize for each client utilizing the conditional logic to fully leverage automation.

2) Client completes engagement letter and pays deposit invoice

Requesting signatures on the engagement letter at the beginning of the service will ensure all clients understand their responsibilities in the completion of their tax returns.  In addition, gathering a deposit on your services will ensure your clients are committed to their role in your tax preparation process.

3) Send an organizer requesting information and Tax Documents

After a client informs you they want your services, send them a tax documents checklist via your TaxDome Organizer. Using conditional logic, your organizer will customize to any client scenario and provide additional probing questions that will gather all necessary details. Your clients will receive a friendly push notification through TaxDome to complete the organizer, and will automatically remind them about the organizer or any pending tasks they need to do.

4) Assign a task to review and organize the client’s documents

You can assign this to yourself or someone on your team if you work with other people. The objective is to check that all the client’s documents are complete and everything is present.

5) Create a task to prepare a tax return

This step can be done by anyone on your team, depending on how the roles and assignments are set up. The most important thing to do is ensure that someone files the tax return. You will be able to easily follow up on missing documents. You can use message templates that assign tasks to clients. They mark each task as done after they provide the documents you are asking for.

6) Create a task for additional document review

If the client sends any additional documentation you requested, you’ll need to review the new documents sent to you or your team.

7) Send an appointment request to the client

Next, set an appointment for you and the client to go through the sent documents together. Use a scheduling tool like Calendly or Google Calendar for easy scheduling. This also eliminates multiple steps of emailing or messaging back and forth to set up a meeting. A scheduling tool can transform tens of emails into one or two steps.

8) Add a task for when the client responds

When the client responds to your appointment invitation, the project moves forward one step. Again, the trigger is the client responding to the invitation.

9) Confirm the complete tax return

Now, you upload the clients’ documents into TaxDome and lock it to bill. Your client will receive a notification that the return is ready. However, they can only download the document once they make their payment for your services. This is a feature TaxDome offers its users.

10) Sign 8879 and other documents

Clients can sign the documents right in TaxDome. This includes the 8879, which requires a KBA (Knowledge-Based Authentication) that TaxDome already provides. This means that signing electronically means the same as a hand-written signature.

11) Create a task to e-file the tax return

This automated task becomes complete after you file the tax return. Remember that E-filing is more secure than paper filing, so there’s no need to worry about submitting your tax returns online.

12) Record keeping

Maintain a well-organized record of your tax preparation process for future reference and potential audits. Save copies of the filed returns, any correspondence with tax authorities, and relevant messages.

13) Thank the client

The last step is including an automated task that will send a thank you message to the client after filing the tax return. While this is not part of the tax process (obviously), this goes a long way when it comes to customer care and ensuring your clients are happy with you and your services.

Those are the typical steps when preparing an automated tax preparation workflow. Of course, when you learn how to create a tax preparation workflow, you can tailor your automation specifically to you and your clients’ needs. Maybe you need more steps or possibly fewer, but once you know how to use TaxDome, thanks to Workflow for Tax Pros, you’ll be able to create your own pipelines and automated tax preparation workflows.

Tax Client Onboarding Workflow

For other businesses, such as an accounting or bookkeeping firm, you can use an automated workflow for client onboarding.

Here’s an example:

1) Welcome email

All new clients should receive a welcome email. This email typically welcomes the client and expresses your gratitude for them choosing to work with you. Again, a welcome email sets the tone of the professional relationship.

2) Onboarding email

This email is triggered after the welcome email is sent. It should contain all the relevant information necessary to begin working with you, such as any forms or information sheets that need to be filled up. The forms might include your client’s basic information, timeframes, and budget.

3) Send regular blurbs

You can schedule regular automated messages giving clients more information about your services or what else you can help them with. They can reply to these messages, making it easier for you to connect with them when necessary.

4) Schedule meetings

Send your new client a Calendly, or any scheduling tool, link to be able to schedule their first face-to-face or online meeting with you. It’s crucial to still meet clients personally, even if the scheduling part of the meeting has been automated.

5) Finalize proposals, contracts, and signatures

This is one aspect you can easily automate. Remember, you’re still onboarding a client. So, you can use templates to generate proposals and contracts then allow the client to see, read, and sign the necessary document electronically.

Why Choose Workflows for Tax Pros

Those are just a few examples of how you can automate your tax preparation workflow and other types of workflows. Again, once you’ve availed of the Workflow for Tax Pros training, you’ll know exactly how to create customized workflows and automated processes and leverage TaxDome in your practice.

With Workflow for Tax Pros, you’ll learn and receive everything you need to land more clients and grow your tax business. The program will provide you with tools and templates to help you get started on your automated journeys. You’ll also receive weekly Q&A sessions with the team of experts. Everything you need to learn about customizing your TaxDome workflows, you’ll learn them here.

Automating your tax preparation workflow can save you time –  on average two hours per staff member per day. When you put all those hours together, it can save you as much as 44,280 dollars yearly. Now, who doesn’t want to save that significant amount each year?

Having an automated tax preparation workflow also reduces human errors and makes the whole process more manageable and scalable. By following the basic steps we mentioned earlier and leveraging the power of Workflows for Tax Pros, you can streamline your tax season and ensure accurate and timely filing for your clients, without unnecessary stress and hassle.

Embrace automation and make tax preparation a smoother and more efficient experience for you and your tax business. Contact Workflows for Tax Pros and get started today with their program or done for you TaxDome set up services today.

 Learn more and streamline your business today!

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Hey Tax Pro!

Hi! We’re Jamie and Jessica, the dynamic duo behind Workflows for Tax Pros.

With a combined 20 years in business, we’ve learned a thing or two about building successful, streamlined businesses that enable professionals like you to build lives they love.

Our goal with this blog is to provide Tax Pros like yourself resources to build a profitable, peaceful tax practice that you can scale without creating more stress!

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Your time shouldn't be wasted tracking down documents or struggling to keep everything organized.

You should be focusing on what you do best: designing tax-saving strategies, helping your clients save money, and building genuine 1:1 relationships with them.