The future tax practice
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The Future Tax Practice. Sandra Wiley Shareholder Boomer Consulting, Inc. POLLING: The number of individuals in our firm is:. 1-5 6-25 26-75 76 – 150 >150. POLLING: My position at the firm is:. Owner/Partner Manager Staff Administrative Other. Today’s Journey. Introduction

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The Future Tax Practice

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The Future Tax Practice

Sandra Wiley


Boomer Consulting, Inc.

POLLING: The number of individuals in our firm is:




76 – 150


POLLING: My position at the firm is:






Today’s Journey


It Starts With Technology

Impact Factors


It Ends With Technology

Change – Vision - Leadership


Your # 1 Priority

Maintain Confidence

Trust—The WavesDetermine the speed of change.






Your Firm’s Decision

From The Speed of Trust by Stephen M. R. Covey

The Economics of Trust

Low Trust =


From The Speed of Trust by Stephen M. R. Covey

The Economics of Trust

High Trust =


From The Speed of Trust by Stephen M. R. Covey

Management Leadership

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Efficient Effective Improving Cutting Copying Different Impossible

The 7 Levels of Change

It starts with technology… or does it?

Integration…the complexity of firm systems


  • Personal tax

  • Business tax

  • Estate tax

  • Time & billing - AR

  • Trial Balance - Work Papers

  • Write-Up

  • Document/Content Management

  • General ledger – AP

  • Payroll

  • Accounting Research

  • QuickBooks

  • Learning Mgmt. System

  • Depreciation

  • Email – Exchange

  • Word – Excel – PowerPoint

  • Project management

  • Tax Planning

  • Website – Intranet

  • Tax planning

  • Tax research

  • SharePoint - Portals

Most firms have a minimum of 15 applications.

POLLING: How many applications does your firm utilize?

  • 10 or less

  • 11 to 15

  • 16-20

  • Over 20


  • Firm decision making process

  • Lack of partner knowledge/involvement

  • Lack of an IT Leader

  • Department versus a firm approach

  • The vendors

  • The IT Industry

    • Hardware

    • Software

  • Lack of plans

    • Strategic

    • IT



Middleware is computer software that connects software components or applications.

Web service is defined by the W3C as "a software system designed to support interoperablemachine-to-machine interaction over a network"

Types of Integration

Don’t Confuse integration with Migration & Linking



Relatively easy



Leverage processes


Eliminate “Wizards”


The end user is unreasonably committed to keeping the old system even though it offers low productivity to the rest of the employees, particularly non-wizards. This applies to paper based systems as well as digital.

Requires change management.

Boiling the IT Frog by Harwell Thrasher


  • Increase perception and trust

  • IT people & doctors

    • The similarities

    • The differences

Boiling the IT Frog by Harwell Thrasher

Improving Communications

Clear and consistent objectives

Use simple terms

Disclose risks early

Provide strategies to minimize risks

Under promise – over deliver

Focus on results and process changes – not the technology

Firms without an it strategy

Are like sailing a ship without a destination

Expensive in the long-term

Strategy starts with business objectives -multiple levels of strategy

POLLING: Do you have a current IT Plan?



IT Strategies to Save



Get Digital

Software licensing

Email Management

Document – improve processes


Training & Learning

People Development

Leadership Development


Allocation of Learning Hours

Personal/Self Development

Ongoing Development

Client Service/Practice Development

Core Technical Training

Role/Position Training


Entry Retirement

Source: Plante & Moran LLP

The Tax Practice(Your Peers Speak Out)

Is your tax practice as profitable as it should be?

  • Yes 91%

  • No9%

Why is it not as profitable as it should be?

  • Lack of efficient processes.

  • Lack of the “right people” – skills.

  • Too many clients that don’t fit our client profile.

  • Poor technology.

  • Other

Do you have a current document outlining you processes for business and 1040 series returns?

  • Yes

  • No

What worries you most about the future?

  • Regulation/law changes

  • Technology

  • Competition - fee pressures

  • Lack of trained people

  • Other

When do you scan client data?

  • Up front

  • At the end of the process.

  • We don’t scan – still use paper.

Do you utilize a workflow system?

  • Yes

  • No

Do you believe in the concept of one-way workflow?

  • Yes

  • No

  • What is it?

Do you use portals

  • Yes

  • No

  • We will for the first time this coming year.

Do you bill with the return?

  • Yes, the majority of the time.

  • No, we bill monthly.

  • No we use fixed price agreements.

Do you utilize electronic billings?

  • Yes

  • No

Does your firm allow social networking tools like IM, FB & YouTube in the office?

  • Yes

  • No

  • To limited users

Do you monitor Federal & State privacy & security laws?

  • Yes

  • No

See Resource Page

Impact FactorsProcesses

Workflow Mapping Results

Too many touches

Acquisition & organizing client data requires time and touches

Loops in the process

Printing vs. onscreen

Applications rather than systems


Workpaper containers vs. doc management systems

Delivery methods are inefficient

Use of email

POLLING: Have you reviewed your tax practice in detail in the past 12 months?




More preparers will work out of the office in the future

More firms will share resources (staff) among offices?

Six Sigma


Identified Best Practices

Planning opportunities memo

Multiple or split monitors

Degree of difficulty


Standard organization of files

Use of OCR (GruntWorxs-AutoFlow-SurePrep)

Workflow software (TaxFlow & XCM)


Billing/collecting with return


Billing for 2009 1040s in 2009

Some Ideas for Improvement

  • Grading each return

  • One-way workflow

  • Training

    • Basic/annual updates

    • Just-in-time

  • Improved management

    • Clients (getting information timely)

    • Staffing (revenue per FTE)

    • Scheduling

    • Workflow

    • Revenue/cash flow

    • Sales

Transition to the FutureYour Firm’s Game Plan


Measurements of success


Due Dates

Responsible party (ies)

Sample Objectives

Grow tax revenues by 15% per year.

Develop and implement strategies to improve the profitability of the tax department.

Improve processes in order to reduce turn-around time.

Leverage technology in order to become more efficient.

Implement a firm learn/training program in order to hire and retain quality personnel.

Measurements of Success

Revenue per FTE

Comparison with peer metrics

Elimination of paper

Client satisfaction survey results

Employer of choice

Growth in revenue from existing clients

Growth in revenue from new clients


…it starts at the top

Most of your problems are behavior!



Compliance with firm standards, policies & procedures


10 Actions to Produce Cash – Increase Profits

Tie partner compensation to the strategic plan.

Utilize a CVO (Chief Value Officer) and pricing committee.

Utilize contracts rather than engagement letters - with money upfront and scheduled payments. Provide for and use change orders.

Stop work on projects where non-payment is over 45 days.

Have a D.O.S. conversation with clients. Listen.

Provide a training/learning culture for partners & employees. (Per Gartner, you gain 5 hours of capacity for each 1 hour of training.)

Technology - implement, leverage and train. Get digital.

Retain quality… “cull the herd” at all levels including partners.

Let managers manage. Provide authority with responsibility.

Communicate with partners, staff and clients.

POLLING: Are you confident that you can now make changes that will improve your tax practice?



Security Regulation Resources

Thank you!

[email protected]

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