Workflow of the Week: Simplifying Financial Management Heading into Tax Season
Streamline your financial management process and ensure compliance with self-service workflow automation.
A recent survey revealed that workers spend at least 25% of the work week – over two hours per day – looking for the information that they need to do their jobs. This challenge is exacerbated in the accounting world, where missing information can send you into past spreadsheets or emails — especially around tax season.
If you need a simple, compliant way to manage your company’s financial records and spend (without all the bells and whistles of legacy tax software), workflow automation can help.
Seeking out the missing pieces causes needless stress
When data collection is slow, onerous, or prone to errors, data falls through the cracks, and pieces go missing. These missing pieces come in all forms. It is easy for questions to get skipped or forgotten, especially because each question can and often does open the door to many more. Intake forms contain many possible paths forward – each source of income, type of asset, deduction, etc., opens up an entirely new tax flow that needs to be followed scrupulously to ensure the accounting firm can leverage its expert knowledge and skills.
These missing pieces cause friction at intake if and when accountants go back and forth either internally or with the client, but they can also be a source of pain during annual reviews. For example, getting yearly returns from all clients can take an enormous amount of energy and produce a great opportunity for error. Back-and-forth emails cause delays, and often the process is checked against spreadsheets that can easily pass forward different errors that lead to issues when eSignature is loaded.
Workflow automation: the unsung hero of your financial management strategy
Workflow automation is often the unsung hero for efficient and strategic financial management and budgeting operations. Workflow software enables you to bring all the necessary information to the same place, making it simple to validate and verify that all the relevant information has been collected and processed accurately. Instead of waiting for missing information and following up, workflow automation ensures that the client knows exactly what is asked of them. Required fields make it impossible to miss a step, and built-in form conditions ensure that when one piece of information unlocks a Matryoshka doll of additional tax flows, those additional flows are cued up, and the additional information is also required as needed.
Workflow automation is not just used for intake, but also for yearly reviews. Instead of individual emails to each client, workflow automation platforms often do and should enable users to bulk request information. For example, instead of manually emailing each customer for the required information for their yearly tax returns, imagine just running a simple script that “bulk” initiates hundreds or thousands of emails all at once. Each email could provide a self-service form for the client’s information, and with the same conditional questioning, ensure that everything is taken care of the first time. Finally, the eSignature process can easily be pulled into the larger workflow frame, so instead of managing AdobeSign or DocuSign separately for each client, the workflow can automatically send out the correct forms for signature.
Taxes are tricky, but workflow automation simplifies intake and annual processes to ensure that professionals can spend less time seeking out the right information and more time delivering expert advice and data-driven solutions.
You don’t need to be a tax professional for workflow to help with your finance management and budgeting systems. Other workflows in the industry include:
Discover how self-service automation empowers employees at every level of your organization to streamline, standardize, and improve processes — cross-departmentally and worldwide.