With tax season right around the corner, now is the perfect time — when you aren’t over your head with upcoming deadlines, client requests and endless filings — to assess your office workflows and make changes that will pay dividends for years to come. As Benjamin Franklin, world-renowned epicurean, once said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” so listen to the wiser side of your inner epicurean and make this tax season your easiest yet.
Here are five quick tips to help your office work seamlessly and securely before tax season heats up.
1. Conduct a security assessment now before deadlines approach.
Cover the basics. Make sure you’re using anti-malware programs and find a way to encrypt sensitive client data on all the devices you and your staff use — including smartphones and tablets. This same encryption advice also applies to communications and file transfers with clients throughout the year. That email attachment is not safe — even if it’s a password-protected PDF. Shred physical copies of client files that you no longer need and keep your staff up to date on your office’s chosen security procedures.
2. Conduct an audit of your most critical day-to-day tasks.
Identify all of the tasks and things you have to do across your team and prioritize them. By determining the items that are and are not critical to your business, you can weed out some unnecessary work and streamline your processes.
3. Automate as many non-critical business functions as possible.
If mailing takes a significant amount of time, adopt a secure digital ways to share critical files with clients. If your staff still spends a lot of time manually filing paperwork, go digital and reap the benefits for years.
4. Look for programs that are compatible with your work-critical software.
Adopting new technology is only helpful if it makes your life easier. So if it doesn’t work with your must-use programs and accounting software, it may be more hassle than help. Carefully consider new services to make sure that they’ll actually streamline workflows.
5. Get ahead of the curve.
It’s time to start working the way you want. If spending more time with family or on vacation is a priority, find tools that will help you work remotely. If workshifting is something your staff has requested, you need a way to help them work efficiently while out of the office. Put your files securely in the cloud and you not only get anywhere, anytime access to your files for remote work, but you also get the security and encryption you need for your clients.
Want a better way to get ahead of tax season this year? Try ShareFile free for 30 days and see how much time you can save.
*This post originally appeared on Accounting Today.