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About lstegemiller

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  1. Hi Tawnya! I apologize, I completely forgot to respond to your comment I couldn't figure out a way to link the last post to this one, but if you find yourself wanting some tips for surviving tax season next year, here is Part 1 of the Making Tax Season More Bearable blog series: https://qbox.coraltreetech.com/blogs/making-tax-season-more-bearable-part-one-establishing-mutual-expectations-with-your-clients/ Once again, I apologize for responding so late.
  2. I am such a procrastinator! I know I should just deal with it already and file them, but I will most likely leave it until the last minute
  3. I thought since I posted Part One of "Making Tax Season More Bearable," I might as well continue posting the rest of the series! (Unless it becomes less helpful to everyone haha). Part Two of "Making Tax Season More Bearable" addresses how accountants and bookkeepers should make sure that client information is accessible when needed. I remember a few years back speaking to a partner from one of the largest accounting firms in the United States regarding tax season challenges. They explained that the tax season would go much smoother if they could have access to client financials on a timely basis to more capably schedule their staff to work on the financials. They went on to talk about some of the “traditional clients” of the past that would bring in their “bloodied and bruised” financials for the year that would require a great deal of cleanup work before they could embark on preparing the taxes. We talked at length about the benefits of cloud hosted options and “Saas” (software as a service) such as QuickBooks online and Xero. What these options have done for the accounting/bookkeeping industry, in most cases, is allow for continuous access to their client’s information enabling effective scheduling during tax season. Even QuickBooks desktop clients can be supported using resources like Qbox for continuous access and collaboration. The bottom line is “less surprises leads to more productivity” which is extremely important during tax season. Even with the necessary extended hours, a manageable schedule helps reduce the anxiety for all key staff members and creates opportunities for increased profitability.
  4. It has been a while since I've posted in here, but I thought given the time of year, to try to give some helpful tips for this tax season The more that I work with accountants and bookkeepers, the more I have come to realize that many people do not understand the frantic nature this time of year presents. Although the process of preparing for tax season is not a major undertaking for many business owners, they deprioritize proper planning and preparation for their tax preparer. They know their accountant is busy and working many extra hours during this season, but they do not correlate how their irresponsibility and procrastination substantially compound the busyness. A diligent proactive plan will not only help to create a manageable schedule for accounting firms but if properly done, creates a working partnership with their client where they are now participating in creating a successful process. Although many accounting firms will attempt to schedule appointments ahead of time and create a tax season “calendar”, the success of this process is still largely predicated on the client’s awareness of the necessity for planning. So how is this partnership achieved? One of the most difficult processes for any business is how to make the “intangible tangible”. In other words, how do you make a client aware of what tax season looks like for your firm when they are willing to participate in a team concept as opposed to how it affects your staff when you have to chase down information? So of course this year’s tax season is already under way but how can you chronicle for your clients what went well this year and what caused the extra work and long hours for your team? By capturing this narrative and making it available to your clients immediately following tax season in addition to prior to next year’s tax season, you can begin to propose/construct your plan for future tax seasons explaining that you want to work with them to improve efficiency but more importantly minimize undue stress for your team. Additionally, provide some subtle awards for early tax season participants like a drawing for tickets to a local area sports teams for any client that submits their paperwork and schedules their tax meeting by whatever date you choose. By implementing these steps, you will move closer to establishing a “team” perspective with your clients where they better understand how they affect your firm when they are slow in responding and how working together, they can make tax season more bearable for everyone.
  5. I just did a little research into the whole Xero vs. Quickbooks debate and it seems as though Xero is stepping it up and becoming a huge competitor to Quickbooks. From what I gathered in reading different articles, it looks as though Xero is primarily used for mobile use though. Personally I would recommend sticking with the QuickBooks Desktop version, because just like @lilychambers stated above, she HATES QB online and I have heard that many others would like to stay away from the differing cloud softwares as well. Here are a few articles I found if you would like to check them out and read for yourself to decide what may be more useful and better suit your needs. http://www.bizjournals.com/bizjournals/how-to/technology/2015/05/quickbooks-vs-xero-which-is-best.html?page=all http://smallbusiness.foxbusiness.com/finance-accounting/2014/09/03/xero-vs-quickbooks-battle-for-your-small-business-accounting/ Also, if you find yourself needing a file sharing/collaboration tool, I have to recommend that you check out Qbox. So many users love it and wish that they would have heard about it sooner. I hope these articles are helpful in some way and that they make it easier for you to make a decision!
  6. I would definitely say to go for the desktop version. I have heard many complaints about QBO having less functions compared to the desktop. Along with that, problems may arise if you are using QBO and the internet goes down, or if you run into spotty internet connection. I would also say that the desktop version is more cost efficient. Good luck!
  7. Having worked with thousands of accountants and bookkeepers over the past few years, I have learned that during tax season “normal working hours” goes out the window, 90% of annual work for clients happens in a two month period, and the pressure on support staff is at an exorbitant level. There are of course different resources and applications available to help streamline tax accounting but at the end of the day, tax season has and always will be the proverbial “pressure cooker” for the accounting and bookkeeping industry. However, whether you are young or old, it is so important to take care of yourself Mentally and Physically during the busy seasons of life. Studies have confirmed the dramatic effects stress can have on the body causing many different conditions and a reduced amount of important natural antioxidants that help your body fight cancer such as glutathione. So take time for yourself during tax season. Take a walk, spend time with family and loved ones, and make sure to look up from time to time. A great article from Rogers CPA Review suggests the following steps for staying healthy during tax season: 1. Find 15-30 minutes to work out - It’s a well-known fact that exercising can be of great help when it comes to relieving stress. The reason? When your body participates in physical activity, endorphins are released. These endorphins are chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers. Remember—you don’t have to produce a full days’ regimen at the gym in order to reap the benefits. Find 15-30 minutes when you get home, before you go to work, or on the weekends to allow your body to influence your mind. Getting into this routine won’t only reduce stress, but will keep you energized, healthy, and improve alertness as well as concentration. 2. Practice a good diet - It’s true what they say—you are what you eat. And during this Busy Season, strive to be a walking vegetable, fruit, and good proteins/carbs machine. Make sure you’re getting in breakfast, lunch, and dinner and that these include quality proteins (such as salmon, eggs, nuts, sunflower seeds), healthy fats (like avocados, peanut butter, olives, tofu), and high-fiber (beans, legumes, whole grains, vegetables, fruits). While it’s easy to skip meals when you’re busy, avoid this habit. Your body needs proper nutrition to feed your brain and keep you energized. Enjoy healthy snacks in between meal periods and get in the habit of eating well regularly for optimum functioning! 3. Decompress & meditate - Find about 5-10 minutes during the day (or at the end of the day) to wrap a warm towel around your shoulders, turn on some soft instrumental music, and sit up straight with your eyes closed. Inhale deeply and slowly through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth. Do this breathing exercise a few times to slow your heart rate and lower blood pressure. Next, focus on a mantra, peaceful sound, or embrace silence to clear your mind. Partake in this decompression and meditation process to center yourself and provide some moments of clarity. Putting your mind and body in a peaceful state is a good routine to execute before putting yourself to bed. 4. Drink tea instead of coffee or energy drinks - You've probably heard that green tea has a ton of health benefits, and you’re right! Green tea has been proven to improve blood flow and lower cholesterol; in addition, it can prevent some heart-related issues from high blood pressure to congestive heart failure. If grabbing your cup of joe in the morning and then powering up with an energy drink in the afternoon is your regular go-to, try indulging in green tea instead. With less than half the caffeine of those other beverages in addition to healthy antioxidants, making this switch is a win-win situation as it helps keep you awake as well as does wonders for your body. 5. Pamper yourself! - And we've saved the best for last. Remember that jacket in the storefront window you passed last week? Or the slice of cheesecake you passed on during dinner? Or maybe even the 1-hour spa massage you thought was a tad pricey? Well, you don’t have to feel so bad about splurging every once in a while during Tax Season. Don’t deprive yourself of the things that you enjoy or love doing. If you find yourself with a few hours’ window of freedom, get some you-time in and just have fun! You’ll find that indulging in your favorite activity or trying something new is a great way to relieve stress while simultaneously reconnecting with the world around you. We hope you incorporate all of these tips into your weekly regimens to get through this Busy Season as smoothly as possible! And remember—no matter how tough the going gets, you’re tougher!
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