Unless you are in the accounting field, the chances are good that this March you’ll be struggling alongside millions of other business leaders who are rushing to file their 2014 taxes on time. This can be a time of great panic as you or your finance team rush to get documentation together in order to meet tight deadlines. Besides late penalties, there are real opportunity costs to this sort of frenetic tax preparation process.
To keep these kinds of tax problems at a minimum, business owners and CEOs should treat taxes like any other important business practice: a process that must be adequately planned-for and that requires the right resources. Through a combination of better planning, technology, and partnerships, businesses can be better equipped to navigate tax time effectively.
So what are three ways companies (especially the small ones) can improve productivity and efficiency during tax season?
Outsource Your Accounting Work Where You Can
Don’t fire your entire Finance and Accounting Department. However, if you are a small business and you want to maximize your precious resources, allocate more of them to sales and marketing and instead choose the right outside partner to handle your tax preparation. Tax season is the culmination of a year’s worth of processing accounts receivable and payable, general ledger entries, and other repetitive tasks. It is all better left to a company that can scale these jobs, so you can focus your time and money elsewhere.
Automate the Tax and Accounting Process
For organizations without outside tax help, automation software provides an effective alternative. This technology works with most online and desktop tax preparation applications to locate, enter, and change data just like a human would. In some cases, the software can retrieve information from online bank accounts, accounting software, and even HRM platforms, then enter it into cloud-based tax applications for you. Georgia-based Pay It Forward Scholarships used automation software to enter donors’ tax ID information into their state’s Department of Revenue (DOR) web portal.
Start Early. Back Up Often
Your preparation for the 2016 tax season should begin right after you wrap up your 2015 filings. This is the time to establish better habits for next year, evaluate new technologies, and start the process of finding new partners. While you’re at it, it’s also time to implement a back-up policy for your important financial and tax data. In the event of natural disaster or loss, backing up your files to the cloud can save your valuable business information.
This guest post is courtesy of Richard Milam, President and CEO of EnableSoft