The First Steps to Start Automating Your FirmAug 29, 2022
Let’s take a look at the first three things you need to do to start to automate your firm!
Tax pros right now are feeling the heat from last tax season; it was full of broken systems (or no system at all) and the manual entry of so much data threw a wrench into any sort of system that’s limping along. I’m here to tell you it’s not necessary, you don’t have to feel that way! The systems of today are evolving fast and they’re making a huge difference in tax firms; they give the ability to not only automate the work tax pros do behind the scenes to prepare returns, but also automate status updates to clients to be proactive in communicating with them so they stop emailing and calling.
Let’s take a look at the three things you need to do in order to start to automate your firm; I think they’re going to really help you in making a decision and moving forward with implementing into your business.
Recently, I spoke about procrastination and how to break the cycle; you can find the post here. Procrastination is something we all go through, especially when there are daunting tasks that feel like huge mountains right in front of us. That first steps can often seem so unbearable, especially when you’re carrying the load of the day to day within your firm.
I know it's hard, but I want you to try and sit with yourself for a moment to receive what I’m about to say. Ready? You don’t have to go into the next tax season feeling stressed and overwhelmed by the client load that you have, the lag in receiving the information that you need, and the constant follow ups. You have the power to make a decision to invest the time and energy into changing the way that you work. If you have a team, that can bring out its own set of challenges, but there's no reason that you can’t, as the owner of your practice, make the decision that it’s time to change the way you work in your firm and automate!
Step One - Adopt a Tool
Take breath, close your eyes, and think about what it is that you’re wanting to create. What does the firm of your dreams look like? Is it one where your clients have the ability to communicate with you and provide their documentation in a secure manner? Is it one where you are able to send status updates to your clients so they stop sending you massive amounts of emails or ringing your phone off the hook? Take another deep breath. What does your dream tax season look like? I’m willing to bet that it’s efficient. It’s organized. It’s something that feels easy, doable, and allows you to continue serving your clients well, all while you get to continue to be the expert that you are in your position as a tax professional.
That vision? That dream? It’s all possible! You just need the right tool to make it a reality. Thankfully, there are tools like TaxDome.
If you’re new here, you’ll learn pretty quickly that we are huge fans of TaxDome. We love it so much because it’s the only tool that will actually automate your business. The other tools out there are now scrambling to catch up; they’re experiencing a huge headache as all of their current customers have all of these expectations of actual automation and they’re no longer able to fool their customers with their faux automations. Are you currently using a tool that says they offer the option to automate, but all it does is generate a task list for you? Go send this, send that, do this, do that…that’s not true automation!
TaxDome actually automates, but you don’t have to trust me on that, you can go check out a free demo of TaxDome on their website. I would encourage you to do that because it’s going to show you what the power of this tool is. It might seem like a pie in the sky kind of thing, but this tool ACTUALLY works and it’s transforming the way people work.
Let’s take a look at a real world example. One of our clients, Karen, came to us wanting to implement TaxDome because she had been 100% paper prior. She was literally printing out every document or having documents dropped off by clients, then shuffling them around with a folder and sticky notes all by herself. While she occasionally had help at times during the heavy season, she had 250 clients and was somehow getting through, but not without unrelenting stress.
Once she implemented, she took some time to transition, not going completely 100% paper free immediately, but baby steps are steps forward nonetheless. She took those steps to implement the client management side of things, like emailing instead of calling and sending engagement letters through the TaxDome portal instead of snail mail. Even those two tasks took massive amounts of time when done manually, but when implemented in TaxDome, she was able to actually add 100 new clients. That’s huge!
The automations within TaxDome allowed her to add those new clients while still maintaining her business in the way she wanted to run it, but with an even better client experience. That’s the power of a tool like TaxDome; automating the work we’re already doing.
Now is the point where I have a great offer for you. If you’re thinking about tax tools and feel that pull towards TaxDome, go get a free trial! If you sign up with our special link, you’ll get two free months once you decide to commit to TaxDome. I have no doubt that once you experience the demo and get your free trial that you won’t regret it.
Once you’re in though, don’t let that huge mountain scare you. We’re here for you!
Step Two - Create an Organizer
Let’s break it down a bit and talk about how powerful an organizer within TaxDome can be for your business and workflow. The organizer is such a powerful piece to the automation puzzle because it gives you the ability to gather information from your clients. This task can be so daunting and we’re usually not asking for the information in a way that best serves the client. We need to be thinking about how to ask clients a series of questions as if we were sitting down across from them and have all the time in the world to chat and grab the info we need. We’d ask them all about last year, the good, the bad, the houses or properties they sold or bought, the crypto they dabbled in, etc. This is where organizers can revolutionize your workflow.
With organizers, we get to create a custom experience for clients that makes them feel seen and heard, all while getting all of the gritty details you need to succeed. We now have the opportunity to congratulate them on a new business, have a chat about how to handle their exponential growth, or anything else that you can use to show what an expert you are in your field and how you’re always looking out for your client. Within the organizer, once we lean into conditional logic, we are able to have one master organizer that gets delivered to all of your clients and it will only ask them questions that apply to them. If they choose no on a section asking if they sold any properties, the organizer will move on, but if they choose yes, they’ll be prompted with all of the additional questions you’ll need answered. This adds such an insane amount of power to a document that you only have to create one time! You’re no longer having to volley emails with tons of followup questions or having to play phone tag. You get to get it all in one beautiful, consistent, standardized process and document.
So when you’re daydreaming about all of the ways you wish you could save a ton of time during tax season, this is one of them! If you’re already using TaxDome, don’t forget to go back and look at last year’s organizer. Think about what worked, what didn’t, where there may have been gaps, or if there is any new information you’ll need for this particular tax year. If you don’t have TaxDome yet and think this kind of organizer sounds life changing, it is! Start taking some notes now on how you’d like to set up yours so that when you take the leap into TaxDome, get those gears turning.
Step Three - Do it Right the First Time
Setting up your systems right the first time, and not allowing the overwhelm and frustration hold you back, is so important. You want and need your new tool to operate at its fullest capacity as soon as possible, but setting up the new tool, like TaxDome, doesn’t have to scary or overwhelming; the key to avoiding these feelings is knowing the process in which to set up the system, and that’s where we come in as certified TaxDome partners.
Setting up your system right, from the very beginning, will keep you from having the headache of having to train and retrain yourself and your team. It will allow you the opportunity to make sure that it’s serving you and your clients to the best of your ability from the get go. Just having the right tool, but not understanding how to use it, doesn’t mean you’re going to be immediately successful. Personally, I have 10 years experience in setting up software and I have a lot of years of project management experience, but I've been procrastinating on setting up some project management software for my business and for my growing team.
For the last three months, I've been talking to my team about all of the things I need and want to do to implement this system (something that should be so easy for me!), but it was like my brain shut off, just completely off. I too was overwhelmed by needing to go learn how the new software works so that I could take advantage of all of the features and efficiencies that the tool had, so for three months, I procrastinated. At the end of the day, time matters and trying to just figure it out doesn’t feel worth the time. But at Workflows for Tax Pros, we understand just how valuable your time is and that's why TaxDome and our program marry together beautifully; we teach you exactly step by step how to set up your TaxDome system.
Do you absolutely need our program to set up TaxDome? No. Maybe you just want to go and figure it out? Sure, it's definitely possible! Either way, we’ll always be here for you. The power of our program, however, is that we break it down step by step and support you every step of the way.
While at a tax conference recently, we had a TaxDome user come up to us and say how he loved what we were doing, but he wished that he had found us a year ago. Once he was in TaxDome, he spent over 100 hours setting everything up; he said how well it works and that he’s happy with it, but he knew that a program like ours would have saved him a dramatic amount of time.
People in our program are reporting that they’re spending 20 hours OR LESS setting up their automations. We’ve even had people report to us that they sat down one day, put their head down, and 8 hours later, they were done. These are also people who come from all walks of life, ages, and tech skills; our program is for everyone! The program is so powerful in transforming your business and you’ll have us to support you through for a whole 12 months.
Doing it right the first time is an investment, but it's worth its weight in gold. It’s going to ensure that you’re succeeding and setting up your system the right way from the beginning to transform your client experience, your team’s working experience, and making sure that you are becoming more profitable now that your team isn’t spending time on unnecessary things.
Time is Ticking
September is almost here; I know you’re bogged down with returns, but tax season is also looming and I know you want to make sure that you're prepared. If you started now by adding three to four hours a week, where you focus just on building out TaxDome, you would be completely finished building out by the end of October, early November. Three to four hours a week invested now can get back hours and hours every week you’re going to spend during tax season pulling your hair out, wishing you had better systems. This isn’t short term, it’s not just this tax season, this is an investment into the long haul for this season and every season to come, all of which will just get better and better as you and your team continue to master the tool.
This is where I want to invite you to join us if you feel it’s right for you. If it’s not the right time, think about it and come back later this fall, no worries, we’ll be here for you when you’re ready! No matter your stance right now though, all are welcome in our free Facebook community; it’s a great place to see what others are saying about TaxDome and our program. You can join the group here!
In the end, we want to express how much we would love to support you in making your tax dreams a reality. We want to make tax season 2023 one that you actually enjoy, one that feels easy, and one that fulfills the dreams you’ve always had for your business!
Looking for more? Join our Workflows for Tax Pros Facebook group where you'll be part of a community of 4000+ Tax Pros. Join us at the link below!
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