Question

New Tax Season Best Practice

  • 27 October 2022
  • 9 replies
  • 135 views

Userlevel 4
Badge +5

We started using Karbon (actually IPM powered by Karbon) in June for our clients on extension and our ongoing accounting clients.  For the tax work - we used the Proconnect templates and imported the tax returns from ITO.  

We are in the process of updating all the tax templates now that we had the ability to work with the system.  And that leads to my questions about best practices.

Some of the template details will change for us year to year as we plan to have clients click off client request tasks regarding that year’s due dates and pricing.  As such we don’t plan on setting up repeating work for annual tax returns.  I am curious if setting up work for each year’s tax return is a better idea than having to update the repeating client work each year.  It seems about the same level of effort to me, but I just wanted to see if I may be missing a bigger picture on this.

 

A similar but slightly different take on opening tax season - do you create the returns in ITO and then import each year OR do you manually create the work in Karbon each year.  This would seem to solve the issue of using the latest template but we would have to be sure to make certain clients inactive first and add new clients in ITO first.  Thoughts?

 

 

 

 


9 replies

Userlevel 6
Badge +9

Hi @Ken Rogers! We always create a recurring work item for our returns (and essentially all work items that are not one-offs). We frequently need to add notes or tag emails to future work items so that those things aren’t missed when we are working on the future work. This could be really anything that might impact their future work (in the case of tax returns this could be new investments, marriage/divorce, address change, new job, birth/adoption of child, sale of business, etc.). Without tagging to the future work items, these get lost or missed. We practice this same strategy with all of our recurring work types (payroll, bookkeeping, tax planning, etc.). Some templates update yearly, while some update quarterly. While it can be a bit cumbersome to update the work items to the template, we still find that this is best practice so that all of the other things aren’t missed. There are just too many things to keep track of across all of the work items, and this way no matter who the information comes to, we all can tag/note where needed.

 

To note, we do not add notes in the tasks, only the timeline so that when the template is reset those notes do not disappear.  

I hope this helps (if I understood your question)!

Userlevel 6
Badge +7

@Ken Rogers 

Can only provide information regarding the first question as we do not use IPM.

Similar to @Kim Clemmer we have all work that is not a one-off set to recurring. The templates are great for new client work. For existing clients there is too much client specific information we maintain within each work item. Each year we update the work item for changes identified. Do not want to lose that. In addition to tagging emails received during the year which apply to the following work, we also have a Background Information task at the beginning of the client work item. This task is in constant update as we use it to provide client specific information to whomever is assigned the client for the year. Really helps the preparer/reviewer to get a great context on the client and anything specific that might apply.

We use Mailchimp to provide information to clients that is less specific to the client (e.g. Time to log your odometer reading, make a tax payment, current year tax process, etc). Due dates and prices are provided via the Engagement Letter. I like to keep the Karbon workflow specific to the task at hand for the client and provide the general information via another avenue.

Userlevel 6
Badge +9

@Gillian Kirkman We create all of our jobs with the actual start and due date, this way we aren’t fiddling with the dates later and messing up task due dates. We have client task requests built into the template with set due dates based on work start dates. If the start dates of the work item are not correct from the onset, the built-in due dates for the tasks are thrown off. Our annual return jobs are populated a year in advance so we can start tagging emails and adding notes to the timeline at any point in advance of the next return. It is easier to keep track of pertinent information this way versus collecting it and having to remember to do it later (or worse-yet, leaving ourselves a ‘mental note’ for next year). Our annual returns start 1/15 and are due 3/15 or 4/15 depending on the type of return. If a return is put on extension we will manually adjust the due date. As @LD7E mentioned, adjusting the current work dates does not impact future work dates.

If you wanted your start date to truly be March 31, you could always manually populate the tasks earlier to begin using the tasks in the work item without having to adjust the start date twice.

 

I hope this helps :)

Userlevel 6
Badge +9

@Gillian Kirkman if you want to send a screenshot or loom video of your settings, I’d be happy to take a peek to see why you might be seeing the wrong dates. Recurring jobs shouldn’t be impacted when adjusting an individual work item.

Userlevel 6
Badge +7

@Gillian Kirkman When you update the recurring work created with actual start/due dates, this does not affect the repeating work item (e.g. the next annual job will use the start/due dates within the repeating work settings not the dates in the item currently working on).

Some of our annual jobs get created 6 months in advance (October for annual 1040 tax prep work). This is so we can review the engagement, update it with any emails that came in throughout the year (we pin those on the customer timeline so it is an easy way to add them to the new work timeline). 

Userlevel 2
Badge +1

@Kim Clemmer @LD7E How to you manage your recurring dates for annual jobs. We spent a lot of time playing with start dates in the 2022 tax year so that the 2023 job repeated this month, in advance of our financial year end (31 March). This is so we can schedule the job uses the planned hours and capacity, and also means the job is there to start receiving client emails into. But...when we update the job with the ACTUAL start and due dates, that will reset the repeat so it will also move forward from Feb 2024.

We want to use repeating jobs for the reason you mention, there is a lot of information rolling forward.

Gillian

Userlevel 2
Badge +1

thanks @Kim Clemmer we are going to change to annual jobs creating a year in advance now. If it gets to be too much noise in someones workspace, I guess we will have to stump up for a dummy Karbon account to stack them all into

Userlevel 4
Badge +5

@Kim Clemmer This was very helpful to get your POV.  I could see adding a section for ‘next year’s notes’ or ‘client FYI’ so that gets created next year and just update the engagement letter task price and due date sections before sending the client request each year.

Userlevel 2
Badge +1

@LD7E I must be doing something wrong then because when I update the start date I can see the repeat date is also updating to 12 months from that date. But no matter, we are doing to have annual jobs create a year in advance 

Reply