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Time management during tax season

  • 1.  Time management during tax season

    Posted 04-24-2019 12:06

    Now that the tax season is ending and we can take a little breather what advice or tips could you give others on time management/work for the busy season?

    Community Manager
    Mineola NY

  • 2.  RE: Time management during tax season

    Gold Most Valuable Member
    Posted 04-26-2019 11:13
    1.  It is very important to pace yourself.  We all try to do as much as we can in the limited amount of time, but there does come that moment when you are struggling to stay awake, when the numbers all blur together.  When that happens - GO HOME AND RELAX.

    2.  Even though we work the crazy hours, find some time and do things to clear your head - go to a movie, a hockey game, etc.  Try to have a little bit of fun.

    3.  Do not let your clients get to you.  Remind them that you are human (though in my case this is a ugly rumor - lol), and there is only so much you can do.  When clients came into my office and after we went over their information, the same question came up - "When will you be getting to my return?"  At that time, I would show them the file drawer when I kept all of the client files that had come in, and tell them that these were in before you.  That usually ended the conversation about that.

    Neil Fishman CPA
    Boynton Beach FL

  • 3.  RE: Time management during tax season

    Posted 04-28-2019 11:36

    Neil well said!


    Best regards,
    Nick Puglisi
    Nicholas Puglisi, CPA, CFE, CFF
    PMG Certified Public Accountants, LLP

    Puglisi, Moore & Co., LTD.

    135 Bedford Road
    Armonk, NY   10504


    914 273 8300 office  Ext. 110 or 0 for receptionist

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    Visit our website at

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  • 4.  RE: Time management during tax season

    Platinum Most Valuable Member
    Posted 04-26-2019 12:26

    I want to stress I say all of the following as someone who should NOT be throwing stones while living in glass houses…I am as 100% guilty of any of the following as anyone:

    • Review documentation from clients for completeness.   If documentation is incomplete, do not commence work on a client.   If you have to start and stop, you will surely waste time trying to remember where you left off and what you have left to do.
    • Set strict deadlines for your clients to get information to you.   If they miss the deadline to get you the information, do not make exceptions.   There is a reason you have such deadlines (so you can manage workflow) and if you let clients walk all over you by missing deadlines, your workflow will spin out of control.


    The following I have been successful with and it helps immensely:

    • Go paperless.   Now, this does not mean that you can never use paper again – feel free to!   You just want to have the option to view things electronically.   Especially if your office location is not right around the corner from you…being able to view a document, from wherever you happen to be…rather than driving back and forth just to get a piece of paper…has saved me an immense amount of time this past couple of years.

    Mark Stewart
    New City NY

  • 5.  RE: Time management during tax season

    Gold Most Valuable Member
    Posted 04-29-2019 15:19

    I try to leave Friday open with no appointments all year round. It does work, but I try.

    I have been thinking of charge an after hour fee for clients who come in after 6 pm.

    Donald Ingram
    Woodbury NY

  • 6.  RE: Time management during tax season

    Platinum Most Valuable Member
    Posted 04-29-2019 15:38
    I found that this year more than the normal, beyond the usual cast of characters, a large number of client's delayed providing us their information.  I know that many of them were scared because of all the negative publicity.  I heard from many taxpayers that the "news" I gave them was "not as bad" as they had been anticipating.  Many of their friends and colleagues had gotten slaughtered and they were plain old apprehensive.  While this is obviously something we have limited control over this year, it created way too much pressure on us in late March and early April.

    I had the intake person in our office advised every person who sent their information late, that the best we could do for them was an extension.   This accomplished two things, 1) if we finished the return, we were heroes and 2) they know for next year that if they want their return, they have to get us the information earlier.  For many years we have been charging a 20% surcharge for tax returns prepared close to a deadline, "April Surcharge" & "October Surcharge".  If it was out of the client's control, we didn't charge.  We found this to ineffective.  The same people procrastinated to the end and all it accomplished was a 20% reward for the aggravation.  If this happens again in October, I plan on telling them their returns will be late.  We will send a reminder and warning notice to everyone on extension in mid-summer.

    I know the government could care less about our task-loading. At some point between compliance & regulation, something has to give.  I am hoping that NCCPAP can do whatever they can do while we are in Washington in May to make the appropriate people at least consider what they they are doing to practitioners when they pass legislation and last-minute legislation in particular.

    Ross Kass
    Kass & Monahan CPAs, P.C.
    Melville NY

  • 7.  RE: Time management during tax season

    Posted 04-30-2019 10:30
    I am a sole practitioner...literally.

    Time waster #1

    I use ShareFile to receive and distribute documents. While the service works well and is reasonably priced it requires me to login and download docs and then transfer to appropriate client folder every time a client sends me something. As we know clients love to send docs piecemeal. Very time consuming.

    Anybody have a good portal they recommend?

    Time waster #2

    I use ProSeries...every tax return PDF I send requires me to move the Federal and State e-file (if applicable) authorization pages to the front
    of the PDF so clients can find them easily. ProSeries does offer something they call eSignature but it does not support NYS thus making it useless to me.
    ​What is everybody using to gather e-file authorizations?

    Time waster #3

    Preparing separate K1 PDFs for each partner that contains both the federal, state and applicable supporting schedules. I can do this manually using Adobe but for partnerships with more then a few partners it can be very tedious and time consuming.

    Anybody have a solution for this?

    Thanks for any and all input.

    Perry Paletta CPA

  • 8.  RE: Time management during tax season

    Platinum Most Valuable Member
    Posted 04-30-2019 11:20

    On number 3, I use Ultra Tax and I am able to email all the K-1s to the recipients, which I do.

    Robert Brown
    Jericho NY

  • 9.  RE: Time management during tax season

    Posted 05-22-2019 12:45
    Hi Robert:

    Does Ultra Tax let you put in multiple e-mails for one partner? i.e. one particular K1 can get sent to (2) different recipients?

    Perry Paletta CPA

  • 10.  RE: Time management during tax season

    Platinum Most Valuable Member
    Posted 05-22-2019 13:39

    Not to my knowledge 

    Robert N. Brown, CPA, CGMA 
    Robert N. Brown, C.P.A.
    390 North Broadway, Suite 120
    Jericho, NY 11753
    Tel. (516)364-4949
    Fax (516)496-3883
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  • 11.  RE: Time management during tax season

    Posted 04-30-2019 15:01
    Regarding #1, we are using smartvault client portal. Clients have their own folder and upload docs to their own folder and don't need to move docs. This portal saved us a lot of time in the past season.

    Yanlin (Lynn) Yue CPA
    YYL CPA P.C.
    Great Neck NY

  • 12.  RE: Time management during tax season

    Posted 05-01-2019 06:23
    I use sharefile, I have it set up as a drive and it allows me to print directly to sharefile without navigation issues. I need only choose the sub directory for the particular client. when I print (Using Drake) I create one set which is just the signature pages. I send this as a separate set of documents so there is no searching.

    fir the signature I use Rightsignature it takes a few seconds to set up and send.

    Paul Sadej
    Bellmore NY

  • 13.  RE: Time management during tax season

    Posted 05-01-2019 09:24
    I too use the ShareFile desktop apps and mobile apps to keep things easy.  The drive setup makes things exceedingly easy and was a big improvement to the product.  The Outlook plugin is also great.  I use RightSignature when I can, but with NYS not accepting electronic signature, I use it mostly for non-NYS clients.  Still with Sharefile alone, it still shortens turn around time.

    I moved to a scanning system this year.  It saved a tremendous amount of time cutting down of copying, storage space and secretarial time.  The indexed and organized PDF and PDF tools to annotate the resulting workpapers improved accuracy and cut time.  The basic items flow to the return.  The system is not perfect, but on an overall basis, time was saved and accuracy improved.  You cannot look to the Autoflow aspect to do the return for you.  It handles only the basic documents, but it still saves a great deal of time.

    Lisa Weinstein
    Lisa B. Weinstein CPA, P.C.
    Dobbs Ferry NY

  • 14.  RE: Time management during tax season

    Posted 05-01-2019 14:53
    Hi Lisa,
    What software and scanning system do you use?
    thank you,

    Amy Brelia
    Larchmont NY

  • 15.  RE: Time management during tax season

    Posted 05-01-2019 15:04
    Amy, I use Prosystem fx and the related scanning and autoflow product.  I have been using Pfx since the 1992 tax year, but only added the scanning and autoflow product this past season. They had a deal going where the scanner, a Fujitsu fi7160 was included as a bundle.  Perfect, no, but a big time and space saver.  The scanner itself has a small footprint, but it is a business class scanner and is very fast. Training was also included in the package.

    Lisa Weinstein
    Lisa B. Weinstein CPA, P.C.
    Dobbs Ferry NY

  • 16.  RE: Time management during tax season

    Posted 05-02-2019 13:15
    Thanks for your insight everybody. Much appreciated. I demoed Smart Vault yesterday and was impressed by what I saw.
    Integration with ProSeries was a major plus.

    Perry Paletta CPA

  • 17.  RE: Time management during tax season

    Posted 05-02-2019 13:20
    SmartVault is really great and works good with proseries.


    Yanlin (Lynn) Yue CPA
    YYL CPA P.C.
    Great Neck NY

  • 18.  RE: Time management during tax season

    Posted 05-08-2019 20:35
    SmartVault SV works very well with Proseries and Lacerte as well as other products.  It does a lot of cool things.  We have been using it for more than 3 tax seasons.

    Michael Goldfine
    New York NY

  • 19.  RE: Time management during tax season

    Posted 05-09-2019 10:09
    Thanks; I am going to start using Smart Vault....I am thinking of moving
    my Proseries app to a virtual server; anybody using Smart Vault with
    Proseries in a virtual server environment?

    Perry Paletta CPA

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  • 20.  RE: Time management during tax season

    Platinum Most Valuable Member
    Posted 05-21-2019 14:20
    I'm a little late to the discussion, but better late than never.

    many of the above posts were quite good.  I have taken the opportunity to get virtually paperless.  While we might never get totally paperless, having less paper around the office helps.  To accomplish this, client data is scanned (either before or after) working on the returns.  Documents are store on Canopy (web-based) where they can be accessed where ever i have an internet connection.  I also use their portal.

    for the upcoming season, i am looking into DocuSign as this is available as a member benefit for a group I work with.

    as for the overall takeaway from the season, we need to take time to review the season and take an honest view of our offices, staff and clients, figure out what could (or should) be improved and use the slower period to affect these changes.

    While not time management (directly), we should also take time to review our cyber effectiveness and determine how secure our offices truly are.

    Stephen Mankowski

  • 21.  RE: Time management during tax season

    Posted 05-22-2019 12:34
    Yes there were some good ideas. This past season was a tough one (they get tougher every year though don't they?).
    Since this discussion started I have purchased a subscription to Smart Vault which included integrated DocuSign.

    I've been contemplating this for a while but have decided to go ahead with a virtual server environment. All my applications
    will be hosted on a virtual server. I have set up several clients in virtual server environment with this particular vendor and have been
    happy. The vendor installs all software including updates; you just give them your license info.


    I am also not adverse to the idea of using two different tax software products. I like ProSeries for most things except for the automated printing of partnership K-1s. Collating PDF's of partners is a huge time waster.

    Does anybody's software automatically collate partner's K-1s into individual PDF's. Having one PDF for both federal and state would be ideal
    but I could live with a separate K1 for each tax authority.

    If so does it automatically name the PDF with partners name or partial name so the PDF name is unique and identifiable?

    Perry Paletta CPA

  • 22.  RE: Time management during tax season

    Silver Most Valuable Member
    Posted 05-23-2019 09:26
    Lacerte has a K-1 print function that produces a print or PDF package with basis, US and state(s) K-1s.

    Jeffrey Winer
    Framingham MA