Impact Of COVID-19 On How Tax Professionals Are Operating
COVID changed the way most businesses and companies worked and there wasn't much anyone could do but adapt to the changes taking place. For the most part, people had to get through processes and stay safe, while companies made changes and got their staff to remote work instead of coming into an office. With accounting, we were meeting our clients and prepping for tax season, which was not something we were capable of doing remotely. The explanations took a lot more time than we thought they would, and we struggled to get through.
If we had to predict the changes that would take place over the next six months, we were uncertain about them. We believe that COVID-19 will cause tax preparers to reduce the number of taxpayers waiting in a tax office, with most people getting their work done online. Tax professionals like myself will see most clients by appointment. Remote tax preparation has become prevalent in my offices. With lesser staff coming in, we saw work take longer to get done. Additionally, we saw other changes like people spending more time to get through processes while remote working.
The changes also meant that we had to limit the number of clients and tax preparers allowed in the office at any one time. We had to make sure they were following the rules like wearing masks, maintaining distance, and staying indoors for as long as they could.
There were some aspects we were fortunate that we could adapt to, and one of them was the way we communicated with everyone. I would say that we are using our remote tax preparation services a lot more these days. Our clients could utilize our secure portal to load and retrieve documents. Completed returns are then presented and discussed with the taxpayer virtually utilizing availability technology. Many companies could not change the way they coordinated, and we were fortunate to have been in the position to get that done.
However, for the most part, I was working remotely as well, with my office equipped for the same. Eighty percent of our current work is remote. There are aspects of the work I handle that have to be done in person, but we only work on those depending on our clients’ convenience. If they are not happy about such a change or meeting in person, we work remotely.
My office did not face many challenges transitioning to a remote environment. It so happened that Arrowpoint Tax Services, Inc had the infrastructure in place to work remotely before COVID-19. One major challenge is that some of our clients had to become familiar with using our technology. We adapted to much different software and other changes, and that took some time so we were a bit slower when we were getting through the process.
We tend to limit the number of customers and tax preparers in the office at any given time. We control this utilizing a “by appointment” approach for those customers that feel they must come into the office. We try to time the appointments and meetings well so that we don’t have clients waiting for their turn in the waiting room. We disinfect the office and seating areas before and after each appointment. Wearing a mask in the office is a requirement. Hand sanitizers are available and customers are encouraged to sanitize their hands before being seated and upon the completion of the appointment. Finally, all clients are required to log in to assist with contact tracing if necessary.
While there was so much changing across the board, we thought that we would maintain the aspects that we could. We held on to the same hours of operation. Working remotely makes this possible especially when there are restrictions placed on opening businesses.
We used a two-factor authentication system well before COVID, and it assisted us well. We did not make any changes to the same process because it worked well for us. The platform used to upload and retrieve clients’ data was created and maintained by one of the biggest tax software companies.
Our company still sees clients who request a one-on-one provided they follow all COVID 19 protocols. We handle most of these visits by appointment only and do not mind meeting our clients if they are open to the same. There are instances where they would not want to meet us for fear of catching the spreading virus, and we do not push them for a meeting but work with those clients remotely. With remote clients, we utilize video conferencing which has now become a major part of our business. We also plan on taking part in virtual public events and business Expos whenever we get the chance.
COVID-19 certainly changed the way businesses operate. Luckily Arrowpoint Tax Services, Inc had the remote infrastructure in place before the COVID-19 pandemic. To be successful, businesses have to flex and change with the times if they want to stay relevant. Data security and technology are key in today’s environment.
If you are looking for a competent team of Tax Accountants and Bookkeepers in the Bronx, New York, get in touch with Arrowpoint Tax Services, Inc. Some of the services we assist with are, Tax, Accounting, Bookkeeping, IRS, and Payroll Services. We also understand our client's requirements and work to meet their needs. We have different rules and payment structures for individuals and companies and work with our clients depending on their needs and requirements. If you want a better understanding of the services we provide, please click here. If you are looking to get in touch with us or think we can assist with your requirement, please click here.