As the end of the year creeps up on us and the holiday parties pile up, it’s necessary to remain focused on preparing yourself, your tax office, and your employees for the upcoming tax season. If you’ve hired new tax preparers, training them is of utmost importance.
On-boarding new preparers and training them on customer service standards, efficiency, and proper tax preparation is of utmost importance. Your tax preparers are the face of your company. They deal directly with your clients, handle very sensitive and private information, and have rules and regulations that must be followed.
Is your training thorough enough to set them up for success and prepare them for the upcoming season? Here are some things every tax office should have on their training agendas.
Company Philosophy and Vision
Company culture is important. It sets the tone for how employees interact with management, each other, and your customers. Company culture is also linked to employee happiness. Happiness makes your employees more productive, better at customer service, healthier, and more loyal (less likely to turn-over). Studies have also shown that happy employees outperform the competition by 20%.
Relaying your company philosophy and vision sets the tone for your company culture. Spend time going over expectations and the history of your company and you will find that your employees will be more passionate about your business and the work that they do.
How are your employees expected to conduct themselves? Is there a dress code? Do they have sick days? It’s important to have a manual that explains you personnel policies. It’s also impactful to go over personnel policies during orientation.
Everyone in your office should be aware of the marketing campaigns you plan to run during tax season. These need to be explained during training and written down for future reference. Make sure each employee understands the promotions and that you answer any questions they may have. You should also inform employees of the current and future marketing efforts you have in store.
Tax Office Policies
What are the expectations and rules for your office? Tax office policies include things like your hours of operation, how to answer the phone, how appointments are made, how to invoice clients, etc. These are simply the day-to-day rules and procedures that keep your business running. These should be explained and also be in writing.
Tax Preparation Procedures
This is one of the most important pieces of training for your tax preparers. The proper preparation and handling of tax returns is the lifeblood of your business. Spend ample time training your preparers on these items:
- Tax Associates’ Duties
- Work Schedule
- Drop-off Returns
- Interviewing Clients/tax prep packets
- Checking Returns
- Out-of State Returns
- Processing Returns
Pricing Tax Returns
Your tax preparers need to know how to properly charge clients for the work they do. Go over your pricing philosophy and procedures. Go over creating price estimates, when to allow price reductions, etc.
There are a lot of administrative aspects to running a tax office. Here are some things you should have on your list:
- Daily Report & Time Card Report
- Client Information
- Tax Preparer’s Record
- Bank Deposits
- Work Station Set-up
- Office Supplies & Equipment
The IRS has very specific procedures for electronic filing that should be reviewed. Your tax preparers should know how electronic refunds work, the precautions that need to be taken, how to tell their clients what to expect, and how to detect fraud etc.
On the Job Training
Finally, training should be ongoing. New preparers should be assigned to a senior tax preparer so that they are continuing to learn throughout the tax season.
As you can see, there’s a lot of information for new tax preparers to learn. Want to make it easier? Check out our Tax Practice Management Manuals. Everything you need to operate a tax office efficiently and effectively – including a personnel manual – is already written down and ready to implement.