No matter how many employees you have, your tax practice can benefit from timely internal training. The advantages of internal training include increased efficiency, less stress and confusion for your staff, and a more positive work environment.
Here are common internal training topics that can help you run your practice and manage your employees more smoothly – plus, how often you should offer them to your staff.
Yearly, in line with continuing education requirements for EAs, CPAs, or AFSP participants
Many tax practice owners don’t find it necessary to create their own internal training on tax-related topics as long as their staff is experienced and keeping up with continuing education credits (CECs).
If your tax prep staff consists of Enrolled Agents and CPAs, they’re already required to complete CECs or CPE (continuing professional education) each year.
If you have non-credentialed tax preparers on staff, consider encouraging or requiring them to participate in the IRS’s Annual Filing Season Program. They’ll get 18 hours of continuing education each year, including a yearly federal tax refresher course.
If your employees would benefit from specific tax-related training, try to find an IRS-approved continuing education course in the subject before creating your own internal training. For example, if your area experienced a natural disaster this tax year, you may want your staff to take a specific IRS course on dealing with disaster. By training through IRS-approved continuing education providers, you’ll save time for yourself and help your staff reach their CE requirements.
Our Tax Preparer’s Guide to Continuing Education Credits can help you find the providers and courses right for your staff.
Non-Tax Training Topics
Even if your staff is well-versed in all things tax, your practice will still benefit from internal training in other topics.
Security and data protection training
Upon hiring and once every 2-3 years
As phishing and hacking schemes grow more sophisticated, even the savviest of your staff could be tricked into handing over clients’ sensitive information. Make sure your staff know how to properly store and protect your documents and how to recognize hacking and phishing attempts.
Sensitivity and sexual harassment training
Upon hiring and every 2-3 years (or follow state requirements)
Several states require employers to offer sexual harassment training. Even if your state does not, some form of sexual harassment and anti-discrimination training is still considered best practice by most HR professionals.
Technology and workflows training
Upon hiring and with each significant update to the software
Your office runs far more efficiently if everyone knows how to use the tools provided to them. Make sure that each staff member is well-versed, not only with your tax software, but with your other digital workflows as well such as digital document storage, eSigning processes, and any calendar or work management systems you use.
TaxSlayer Pro Software Training
Upon hiring, as needed
Every month, TaxSlayer Pro provides free online training seminars for new Pro Web and desktop users. If your employee is not familiar with TaxSlayer Pro, encourage them to register for a live webinar. They will learn how to prepare and submit returns using the software and have an opportunity to ask any questions.
Tip: No matter how often you choose to offer internal training, always aim to schedule training outside of tax season. Your staff will be less busy and more able to absorb and implement the instruction.
The information in this article is up to date for tax year 2021 (returns filed in 2022).