DMA2Go - Episode 9 - Integrating DMS into the Tax Practice

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Host: John Higgins, CPA.CITP Call to leave messages: 1-800-456-0864 ext# 2106 Next recording – Episode # 10 on Friday, November 21, 2008 at 11:30am Eastern Topic 1 – Milestones in the tax prep. process Data gathering & organization Tax preparation & review Document distribution & archiving Topic 2 – DMS tools and best practices for each milestone Data gathering –
  • Try to procure info electronically to minimize scanning
    1. PDF, e-mail, Word, Excel, remote entry (on-line organizer)
  • Scanning process
    1. Consider scan & organize tools (see CPATA Sep 08 – Scan & Organize)
      1. ProFx Scan, ATX/TaxWise Scan & Fill, GruntWorx, SurePrep – 1040 scan, Thomson GFR taxsort, Thomson FCS. [Intuit rumored to be announcing a product soon.]
    2. Procure the appropriate scanner. Emphasize centralized scanning. Do a walkthrough of your scanning workflow and communicate throughout office. Gain efficiency through a standardized process.
    3. Decide whether to use front end scanning (paperless preparation), mid point scanning (paperless review) or after the fact scanning (paperless archiving). Most important decision.
  • Preparation process
    1. Develop a document / file organization model
      1. Windows Explorer file structure
      2. DMS solution (CPATA June / August)
        1. Get all prior year files and documents into system and organized
        2. Develop document annotation and tick marking standards / policy.
          1. Learn how to use Adobe for annotation
          2. Determine methodology for review note tracking and processing
            1. Workflow software
            2. Word / Excel
            3. Adobe
            4. Tax software
            5. E-mail
            6. Paper
          3. Decide which versions of tax return to print to PDF; Accountant, Client, Government
        3. Walkthrough workflow procedures, document and communicate to all staff
  • Document Distribution & archiving
    1. Print all forms & returns to PDF and then determine which ones to print to paper, if any!
    2. Print Accountant and taxpayer copy to PDF (more efficient in the long run)
    3. Emphasize distributing final taxpayer copy via PDF e-mail attachment (portal preferred)
    4. Discourage paper or CD distribution due to unnecessary cost and security risk.
    5. Develop password protection policy for all PDFs going outside the firm
      1. Develop pw model based on a standard that results in a unique password for each client.
      2. Structure the policy so that anyone who has access to client info can determine the pw.
    6. Investigate the use of a portal, recommend this decision made in conjunction with, or after procurement of DMS.
Final thoughts – don’t bite off more than you can chew, but go far enough to challenge your team to make significant progress to leveraging technology to maximize efficiency. Thanks to our Corporate Sponsor: ADP