Tax season is often the most challenging time of the year for CPA. It is the same story year by year. Temperaments flare high as the pressure of deadlines rises. Long working hours, hectic schedule and the stress level can take a toll on CPA
For CPA, the peak tax season requires a great deal of balancing and juggling between clients as well as training less-experienced staffers while pushing to meet the deadline. Communication and maintaining transparency are the key to success. If you have outsourced tax services, it becomes imperative to maintain constant contact with your offshore team of accountants and tax professionals.
When you’re working 12-14 hours a day on tax returns, communicating with your offshore team can be the last thing on your mind. Right?
Well, you are wrong. If communication is the last thing on your mind, you need to get your priorities right. It is all about effective communication and setting expectations right with your offshore team.
Here are a few tips on how to communicate during tax season with your offshore accounting team.
How to Communicate with Offshore Teams
Build a Cohesive Environment for Onshore and Offshore Resources
Excellent communication is the key to successful tax outsourcing services when working with dedicated offshore resources. Remember, you are collaborating with a team in different time zones. Whether you call your team as offshore, virtual or remote team, remember that you all are working towards a shared goal.
To overcome the barriers of communication, it is essential to chart out a pattern of contact with the right process and tools in place. Fostering a cohesive environment for effective communication between onshore and remote resources is the best way to overcome the tax season workload.
The first step would be to chart out communication protocol. Ensure that you consistently follow the protocol across the organization. A consistent pattern will clear uncertainty and document expectations about a project.
Email – Use emails particularly for project meeting, notes, minutes, official communication, schedules and more.
Chats – Always keep chat window open for quick clarifications, status updates and questions. Virtual Call- Schedule a virtual call via Google Hangouts to ensure frequent communication. Remember, regular communication can strengthen your rapport with your offshore team.
Set Team Expectations Right
As CPAs work hard through exhausting tax session, setting expectations right is the key to a successful partnership. Talk to your offshore team about the workload and jointly discuss as a group about how each team member will be allowed flexibility. Clearly define accountability of the team’s decision.
It is just not enough to know what you want from your offshore team. Instead, you should align offshore teams with the specific criteria for success and define milestones during the tax season.
Eliminate Challenges and Bottlenecks
Examine where bottlenecks exist. Often, returns are put aside with few open items that can quickly be answered with a follow-up call to the client. Always monitor the backlog of unresolved queries for returns that are mostly completed and reduce that backlog.
Follow up Quickly
When you and your team are trying hard to cope up with stressful deadlines, it may not always be feasible to mentor or coach an offshore tax preparer on how to correct an error.
But remember, communication is a two-way method.
It is your job to communicate project objectives requirements to offshore team and ensure that you are always available to resolve issues on time. You have to be available for clarifications for your offshore team members to overcome obstacles or roadblocks.
Clients and the offshore teams are collaborating to achieve a goal and both are responsible for the overall success of any project.
Too often, managers get overwhelmed with workload, putting feedback on hold. But when you address a problem months after its occurrence with your team, it might just add to your woes.
It’s not easy to make time for virtual meetings during busy season, but doing so for some team members who respond best to speaking in person is the only solution. Write down errors that require changes on a specific tax return and walk through the mistakes. This is the best way to eliminate repetitive errors of team members.
Quick Tips for Effective Communication During Tax Season
As leaders of your organizations, you need to streamline communication with your offshore team to deliver accurate and reliable tax services. Communicating with your team makes the difference between having a satisfied client and a disgruntled client.