Tax Planning Workflow: Ensure Nothing Falls Through the Cracks
August 26, 2022 •TaxPlanIQ Support team
Tax planning is a process made up of multiple projects for each and every client. As a tax planner or accountant, you want to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks and that each client gets the best possible outcome.
A major problem plaguing most tax planners and accountants is that they don't have a streamlined workflow to follow. This leads to projects being forgotten, documentation getting lost, and clients not getting the full benefit of the tax planning process.
You see, businesses and their owners are built differently. They have unique income generators, entity structures such as trusts and LLCs, unique individual and business qualities and personas, and often, very different tax situations.
This is why a one-size-fits-all approach to tax planning just doesn't work. You need to be able to tailor your approach to each client in order to get the best results. This is why having a client-centric and forward-facing workflow is not only important but essential.
A well-designed tax planning workflow will help you:
- Stay organized and on top of each project
- Make sure nothing falls through the cracks
- Deliver a better experience to your clients
- Get better results for your clients (and yourself!)
There are 3 broad stages of a good tax planning workflow: Discovery, onboarding, and implementation. Simple, repeatable, consistent, and super effective!
If you're ready to streamline your tax planning process and deliver better results for your clients, then read on. We'll show you how to create a workflow that works for you, your team, and your clients.
Discovery is the process when you turn into bloodhounds, skillfully piecing together the financial jigsaw puzzle. At this stage, your sole aim is to streamline and cement your relationship with a budding client and understand their tax nexus, business goals, financial circumstances, and risk tolerance. Where do they currently stand, and where do they want to go?
This is also when you need to understand how they want you to be involved in their financial life. What role do they see you playing? Are you there to provide advice and guidance or just be the numbers person?
The discovery process is critical in setting the tone for the entire relationship. It's also the best time to identify any red flags that might come up later on.
The key to a successful discovery process is good communication. You need to be able to ask the right questions and really listen to the answers. Only then can you piece together a plan that will work for everyone involved.
Some of the must-have tools for the discovery process are the Client Questionnaire and Client Initial Consultation that you'll use during the discovery interview. These tools will help you identify the client's situations, opportunities, and concerns. Ideally, these tools should have several foundational questions that help you understand:
- What are the client's business goals?
- What are the client's personal goals?
- Where do they see their business in the next 3, 6, and 12 months?
- The client's assets and liabilities
- What are their key financial concerns?
- How much risk are they comfortable taking?
- Do they have any unique circumstances that need to be taken into account?
- What is the client's expected involvement in the tax planning process?
- What is their tax nexus?
During the discovery process, you should also take the time to understand the client's current tax situation. This will help you identify any areas where they may be overpaying or opportunities for tax savings. The next step is to start putting together a plan of action.
The onboarding process is where you turn a prospect into a paying client. It's a stage where you work through the necessary administrative task quickly and move on to show how your tax planning services will add value and make their life easier.
The goal of the onboarding stage is to get the client set up and introduce them to your process so that they feel comfortable and confident that you're the right person for the job.
This is also a great time to set expectations and agree on roles and responsibilities. Who will be responsible for what? What information do you need from the client, and when do you need it? Communicate how you'll access your clients' documents, details, and records.
Tools you'll need in the onboarding stage include a Client Engagement Letter, which outlines the terms of your engagement, and a Service Agreement, which sets out the scope of work and what you'll be doing for the client.
You should also have a robust and secure client portal where you can securely share documents and files. This will make it easy for you to keep track of what's going on and make sure that everyone is on the same page.
Here's a quick rundown on some of the things your onboarding checklist should have:
- Get the client's tax information
- Gather the client's financial documents and previous accounting systems
- Get their bookkeeping in order
- Understand the client's business goals and objectives
- Introduce the client to your team
- Set up weekly or monthly calls
- Review the client's current tax situation and identify opportunities for savings
- Develop a tax plan that meets the client's needs
If you've truly discovered the needs/goals of your client and properly onboarded them—you're ready to get to work delivering on that ROI. In the implementation stage, you take the tax plan you've developed and put it into action. This is where the rubber meets the road, and your clients start to see the value of your services.
You'll want to have a project plan in place so that you can track progress and ensure that everything is on track. This will help you identify any roadblocks or areas where the client may need more education.
At this point, a tax strategy that was once a good idea on paper needs to be put into practice. The best way to do this is by using technology to automate as much of the process as possible. This will free up your time so that you can focus on the bigger picture and provide value-added services to your clients.
But creating a ground-up tax strategy is tedious, time-consuming, and difficult to maintain. Tax planning software can help automate the process and keep everything organized in one place.
- Organize your clients' tax information in one place
- Automate the tax planning process
- Generate custom tax plans for your clients
- Stay up-to-date on the latest tax law changes
- Monitor your clients' progress and compliance
The goal of the implementation stage is to execute the tax plan flawlessly and deliver the results your client is expecting. And, really, this should not be a one-time thing. The best tax planning services are ongoing and dynamic; always keeping an eye out for opportunities to save your clients money.
With dozens of Attorney-approved tax strategies with unique forms, processes, and rules, TaxPlanIQ will make it easy to keep your clients' taxes in order and help them save money. We have a wide collection of detailed links and tutorial instructions to make your tax planning automation process as easy and seamless as possible.
Give TaxPlanIQ a Try
A tax planning workflow is a must-have for any forward-thinking tax planner, accountant, and bookkeeper. In addition to saving your client money, it will also save you a ton of time and headaches.
If you're looking for a comprehensive and easy-to-use tax planning solution, look no further than TaxPlanIQ. With our wide array of features and Attorney-approved strategies, we can help you take your tax planning to the next level.
Start a free trial today to see how TaxPlanIQ can help you save time and grow your business.