Tax Planner Pro Is Making Life Much Easier....Tax Planning
I know that is a strange title for a blog post, kind of like “Captain Obvious” from those Hotel.com commercials. But there was no way to slant it, it is doing what I had designed it to do and I want to show you one way I use it in my firm, and why I think you should too…
THE OLD WAY
Originally, before Tax Planner Pro (TPP), Summer was a time of year that could be really relaxing and later really frustrating for my firm.
We always took a break after tax season ended, then we would get back to bookkeeping, special projects, and overall we would just take a slower pace… Kind of like a reward for all the hard work we put in during busy season.
As Summer turned into Fall, I would start thinking about tax planning time. Usually this involved some combination of my tax software and a spreadsheet. It worked OK, especially if you were alright with just tax planning at year end.
However, over the years, I started to realize I had messed up over the summer.
You see, we onboard about 25 business clients every tax season, and usually another 10-20 over the 5 months after. All of them usually had their returns done somewhere else the prior year.
When we would get to tax planning time, or worse, the following tax season, these folks would have paid in nothing. Made no estimated tax payments.
Either because they got estimated tax vouchers last year from their old accountant but did not pay them (they will later say they did not know if I wanted them to pay them and it is my fault) or because they never got them last year.
Either way, they will blame me when they owe this big amount. I was “on duty” this year, so it is my fault.
I would regret all of that relaxing I did in the summer, and wish I would have looked at everyone’s payments so that they could not play this blame game…
A NEW DAY
But not this year, Tax Planner Pro is changing all that. 2016 is going much better… Here is how:
For the 2016 tax year we have all current clients on Tax Planner Pro and any new clients are put on it right away.
I then can go through each client’s tax projection in TPP and see what is likely to be due at year end. I can also show them via their portal. They also get an email from the software each month with what is due or likely to be due.
The projections are up to date all the time, so I can look at them every month if I want, I never have to rework a projection.
My staff and I then compare that to what estimated tax vouchers show for that client. It is really easy when you have the projection on one screen and the vouchers on another.
We can also see what clients don’t have vouchers but are going to owe (think lots of withholding last year, but none this year and the IRS is going to give a penalty).
Now we can contact those clients using a template in our HubSpot CRM and say “Hey, your projection shows you may owe this…. Are you paying anything in? And if not, here are vouchers to do so…”
Clients love seeing accountants working on their taxes in the off-season. I can’t tell you how many emails we get now that we have TPP with clients saying things like “I am glad you guys are watching this, it is so complicated!”
We can translate that into a Net Promoter Score of 10, the more they believe they can’t do this without me, the more my score goes up…
Sometimes clients will pay their estimates, some will not. But no matter what, now I have an email trail and systems were I can check all of this. It takes hardly anytime with Tax Planner Pro, and would not be possible otherwise.
Can you imagine trying to analyze this for 350 clients with spreadsheets and tax software? Trying to do it more than once a year? No, it would be awful.
Tax Planner Pro is good for many things. It fills the gap between bookkeeping and tax return preparation. I am thrilled it is helping me with these other tasks too like checking estimated tax payments and making clients accountable.
My practice is going to be that much better with it, and I think yours could too…