I’m curious as to what other Karbon users have been doing when it comes to all the various types of filing s (accounting firm related) that accompany a year-end. For example, financial statements, a corporate tax return, sales tax filings, tax slips for income (T4’s T5’s), personal tax filings for owners, and the list can go on and on.
Originally we had one work piece tracking the year-end filing itself, and would find other ways to customize things beyond that to manage all else that goes along with it. We are now moving towards setting up separate work pieces for each and every filing with its own deadline.
I’m just curious to hear opinions and experiences from other users in any similar circumstances or different approaches to battling a comparable problem.
We don’t do any tax compliance work and our practice is purely outsourced accounting. We also do outsourced accounting on a monthly recurring basis so our work product is to “publish” monthly financial statements to our customers.
Theoretically, we could have just one work type and work template for a month-end close that would result in the publishing of financial statements. However, we’ve broken the process down several work types with their own corresponding repeating work templates.
Having these different work types allows me to have a Kanban view of the month-end close cross all customers and/or by team members. I can have a similar view to monitor the progress of payroll; my operations manager follows up with a team member when she sees a payroll that does not move out of the “planning” or “read to start”.
These work types also tie into how we think and sell our services. Not all of our customers buy the bill payment service so having one work type and work template that includes procedures for services not purchased by the customer can be confusing for the team. Even if they modify a work template to exclude opt-out services, they could accidentally be included again if we roll out a revision to the work template. To deal with this we make our work templates modular and have them correspond to “add-on” services (e.g., monthly accounting service with a bill payment add-on.)
I hope this was helpful and that you can apply to your practice.
We are based in Australia and have set up templates for individual tax, business entity tax, Business Activity Statements (I.e Sales Tax) and some other Australian related lodgements. Like you, we found it best to have a template for each type of filing as the process differs between them. Also, the number of staff roles assigned to each type of filing is different.
We also use Practice Ignition, so it helps to have different templates in Karbon for different services that we include in our proposals so the work items are created automatically. Hope this helps.
I see quite a bit of variety. As I have seen how firms do it collectively, it seems best to have individual work templates for the major compliance jobs that you face. For the US and CA, that might be one template each for individuals vs. corporations. However, when the work being done is similar (e.g. 1120/1120S/1065 vs. 1040/1041), try to use a unifying work template and flip the work type (plus use the proper start/end dates based on the filing deadline) when creating the work. In reality, the only difference in completing an individual and corporate return is the inquiry part at the beginning. From Prep through File, the process is relatively the same and a process that is build more high-level will support a standard way of working and remove complexity and the updating that might be required when refactoring processes in the future. The difference lies in WHO the work is done for. When the WHO changes from a person to an entity, that, in my opinion, is a clear reason to build a separate template.
Now with that said, if you are integration to Practice Ignition or GoProposal, you need to have the depth of templates to auto-create the work. In that case, you would want to duplicate those unified templates and at least rename the template plus change the work type, so that they can be used to map to your service items to create the right piece of work and its parameters on signature of the proposal. So, for an integrated situation, you will need to go to the depth of unique templates for each compliance job.
We have templates for just about every type of filing.
International/Domestic tax return templates that rely on year end statuses to be ready to start and file.
However, for the sales tax work, we have a work item to capture the production of all states for the client. So an internal work type for the production work and a work item for each state.
This was done so the team would have one work item to send the client task from and communicate to the client that the work was completed and send needed reports.
The other work items for each sales tax return was applied to keep track in Karbon of how many sales tax returns for each client was being filed and added the fixed fee to the template. So budget and total returns captured in reportings.
Most of our tax templates have customized client tasks that are auto sent to the client upon ready to start or a date and it’s really cut down on the requests from us manually initiating the conversation.
We have different work for each type of work. For example, compilation engagement, review engagement, T3 returns, T1 returns, T4/T5’s are all separate work templates.
We have a different template for each type of work. Several will trigger the next work piece. For example. The Year-End Review work item for a business, when completed, triggers the business tax return to begin preparation. The YE work’s last task is to go to the business return and check the box Bookkeeping is completed and Financials received. There is an automator that changes the work status to Ready To Start and assigns it to a Tax Associate for preparation. Once the business return is completed, this will trigger the owners personal return to begin with the K-1s populating.