Tax return season: How Secure Document Exchange can make it that little bit easier
Elizabeth McMahon | 7 December 2011
The Tax Return season is with us and whilst everyone else is slowing down for Christmas and a quiet January, accountancy firms across the land are fielding clients getting in touch at the eleventh hour. Not to mention the hours spent chasing return of paperwork and information. The Secure Document Exchange (SDE) can help ease the pain of tax return season by making the entire process more efficient. More importantly it can also help protect you from encountering problems with data protection.
Transparency of client activity
The SDE provides transparency around client activity. Imagine being able to log into your clients’ individual areas to monitor their progress in completing their questionnaires.
How often have you waited and chased clients for this information never knowing just where they were with it?
Having this level of information is a great way to ensure that you do everything you can to avoid the bottlenecks that can build up during the tax season. These bottlenecks not only mean that you invariably pay overtime just to complete the work and maintain the client relationship, significantly eating into your profit per job, but it also increases the stress levels of staff.
Ultimately the quicker you can get the information returned the quicker you can complete the work and get it billed.
The ICO (Information Commissioners Office) is now able to enforce a fine of up to £500,000 for serious breaches of the Data Protection Act. The loss of or emailing the wrong self-assessment data to the wrong client could be argued as a “serious breach”.
Whilst we’ve posted out this information and waited for it by return for decades, and in more recent years via email, and of course been very conscientious in our activities that doesn’t mean that change isn’t afoot or indeed beneficial.
More data transfer in general means more opportunity for mistakes, but during the tax return season this is increased dramatically. Using a tool such as PracticeWEB’s SDE is one way to protect yourself against this.
Uploading tax return questionnaires is a quick and much more efficient method of getting this information out to clients. Think how many clients you have that need to complete the information and what the real costs are of sending out a letter and various enclosures, stationery and print costs, plus postage and staff time to fulfil all of this. What is the real cost to the practice of mailing all this out?
Quite frightening really.
The SDE provides an instantaneous and much more cost effective alternative to this and you have the peace of mind of knowing exactly where each client is in the process.