how to turn tax returns into new business

how are you using your reviewers?

by edward mendlowitz and andy mendlowitz
how to review tax returns: the field-tested update

tax season is a microcosm of everything done in an accounting practice. one of the primary concerns of a business is having the proper processes and quality control procedures. choosing how to properly use the reviewers’ time and interface them with the staff can contribute immensely to a smooth tax season.

the compression of tax season work in a relatively short period causes management and staffing problems. it also provides an excellent opportunity for a continuous quality control initiative, the goal of which is reducing errors.

reviewers play a key role in reducing errors and setting and improving firm standards because they get to see the work of a large number of staff in a very short time period. this gives the reviewers insights into the work habits, pride, passion, quality, responsibility and ownership of these staff.

the large volume going through the firm and reaching the reviewers provides a unique opportunity to affect the overall quality of all the work done by these staff and not just the work on tax returns. if approached properly, tax return preparation can be the spearhead toward improving and elevating the quality of work done by everyone in the firm in every area they practice in.

reviewers should be made aware of their role in these efforts. however, because of the huge volume and never ceasing deadlines, big-picture quality methods are usually shunted aside in favor of getting the returns out. firm management must become leaders in the quality effort and for that reason, they need to focus on the long-term benefits of processes that will elevate the level of work and enlist the reviewers into those initiatives.

systems and procedures are designed to raise the quality level of the firm as a whole. coinciding with this are review methods and actions that will also, in the long run, reduce the time pressures of the reviewers, and also partners.

tax return preparation work, if approached properly, will create lasting firmwide improvements. use this as an opportunity for growth. train the reviewers and empower them to go for it!