Remote, In-person, or Hybrid? How to Prepare for Next Tax Season

A tax preparer visible on a computer screen prepares taxes remotely

As you gear up for the new tax season, you’ll need to decide how and where you plan to work this year to keep yourself, your clients, and any employees safe. In this post, we’ll help you plan for any situation, whether you work fully remotely, fully in-person, or somewhere in between.

Will you be remote?

Going 100% remote may be the best option for your businesses if many of your clients prefer remote meetings or if you’re concerned for your own health.

If you chose to work fully remote this year, here’s how you can set yourself up for success:

Create a focused workspace 

It may be tempting to work from your couch, but you’re far more likely to stay productive and focused if you go into the office or create a dedicated workspace in your home. If you currently rent an office space and think remote work will be a long-term solution for you, you may consider cutting costs by forgoing your office in favor of a home office.

Ensure secure document sharing with clients

With no in-person meetings, clients will need a way to share their tax documents with you securely. Scanning and emailing is an option, but it’s tedious and leaves your clients open to security threats. The TaxesToGo Mobile App provides a user-friendly, secure solution for sharing sensitive tax documents. Clients can upload their documents directly into the app using their phone’s camera, and their information is auto-filled into your tax software. It simplifies the process significantly and is an essential tool for any tax professional working remotely this year.

Get familiar with video conferencing solutions

Since you’ll be taking your meetings virtually, you’ll need to be comfortable with Zoom or another video conferencing software. Ideally, you should be comfortable enough with it that you can offer directions to clients who might be using it for the first time. If you don’t feel particularly tech-savvy, don’t worry – a few simple tutorials like these will make you a pro in no time.

Will you be in-person?

If you’re meeting clients in person, just remember that “business as usual” will look a little unusual this year. 

Set safety guidelines

If you haven’t already done so, consider creating new policies to keep yourself and your clients safe. For example, you may consider requiring clients and employees to wear a mask in the office, sanitizing commonly touched surfaces each day, and rearranging furniture to maintain a 6’ distance during meetings or in the waiting area. Of course, you’ll also want to keep up with and obey state and local ordinances for small businesses.

Communicate any safety procedures to your clients

By now, you’ve received emails from all types of companies detailing how they’re approaching safety during the pandemic. Your clients will likely appreciate the same from you. In your newsletters, emails, website, or social media accounts, let clients know how you’re working to ensure their safety and what they can expect at their meeting. 

Will you do a hybrid?

Most tax preparers will likely find themselves offering some combination of remote and in-person services. In addition to the tips above, you’ll want to focus on staying organized as you balance the two different methods of work.

Go for cloud-based tax software

A cloud-based tax software will allow you to easily work from any, whether that’s at the office for your in-person meetings or from your kitchen table during a virtual meeting. You’ll be able to access your software and get work done from anywhere with internet access. If you’re hesitant to make the switch, this comparison of cloud-based and desktop-based tax software can help you determine what’s right for your business this year.

Automate wherever possible

When you’re taking meetings both in-person and remotely, scheduling and other tasks can be tricky. To stay organized and minimize stress, try to automate these tasks before tax season begins. Scheduling, client onboarding, and document management are just a few of the tasks that can be simplified with free or inexpensive software solutions.