As a CPA based in Los Angeles, you no doubt are aware that there’s a lot to keep track of if you want to remain efficient, effective, and above all, compliant. From federal tax law and changes to protocol, to the constant updates that are required to ensure your tax preparation software is running at its best, it might seem like the revisions are never-ending – albeit imperative.
And one of the most difficult aspects of running a CPA firm, and especially the tax prep side of things, is getting all the different versions and more specifically multiple years of the tax prep software to run on the same machine without hiccups and glitches. This has always been the one of toughest things to manage over the years. From managing the upgrades themselves to setting up a new workstation, it definitely takes a bit of time and patience to get all the DLLs and supporting files to play nice together.
So, just how do you keep on top of it all and manage your tax software appropriately? Here are some of the more important points we’ve learned from keeping our CPA clients current over the years:
Choose your software wisely
First things first: the type of software you choose to handle your firm’s tax prep as well as its underlying operations will be integral to its future. You must choose programs that are both current and appropriate for your business, as well as looking to those that offer automatic updates, or reminders. Integrated software that handles all of your daily accountancy business, such as tax accounting, document management, and filing, all in one go, is often far more efficient than different packages and you’ll only have to make one update at a time.
Consider the cloud
Cloud computing is incredibly popular these days, with more and more accountancy firms turning to remote data storage as a means for business. Not only is the cloud convenient and efficient, but its updates are automatic too – consider your day-to-day operations simplified.
Don’t go it alone
One of the very best ways to keep up to date with new tax programs and updates to existing software is to rely on a professional to do it all for you. While you’re managing your clients, handling their taxes and filing data, an IT professional can be working behind the scenes to keep your technology streamlined and upgrade any systems that are on their way to becoming archaic. Your business is accountancy, while an IT expert will be dedicated to keeping your technology working for you.
Backup to be prepared
As time consuming and as much of a pain as it is to manage, nothing would provide more protection as imaging the hard drives of your workstations before each upgrade so that you can roll things back if something goes wrong during the upgrade process. To a lesser degree, another degree of protection would be to image just the first workstation in the upgrade process ensuring that if that upgrade went well, all the others would too.
Follow the right websites
If you’d like a little more control over your IT or choose to manage your own tax program updates, it’s worth keeping track of websites such as AccountingWEB. They regularly feature accountancy software and updates, and can point you in the right direction for updates when the time comes. As you no doubt know, networking is also incredibly important in the accountancy world and you may well find other CPAs keen to discuss tax programs and their revisions. Wouldn’t the world be so much simpler if we all reminded each other?
If all else fails…
Pop it in your calendar
If you have a rough idea of when an upgrade is likely to be due on your tax programs and software, it’s a good idea to make a note of the date in your calendar scheduling an appointment to review your technology in advance. How is your current setup working for you? Are you happy to carry on with what you’re using? Software websites all host easy downloads for when the time comes to upgrade and you’ll perhaps enjoy the familiarity with carrying on as you are.
So, there you have it: tax program updates need not be the headache they may first appear to be, as long as you’re able to prepare yourself properly. Have you ever had any issues with keeping them up to date? How did you handle them at the time? We’d love to hear from you. Please share your stories or advice for keeping up to date in the Comments section below.
To follow through on the tips introduced in this article, be sure to download our free guide 12 Ways for CPA Firms in LA to Utilize Technology More Efficiently.