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Accountants, Here's How to Prepare for Another Busy Tax Season


If most people feel slightly stressed about tax season, imagine how you
feel as an accountant. Of course, you went into this line of work because
you’re good with numbers and organization. But that doesn’t change the fact
that tax season can be overwhelmingly busy—and it’s a marathon, not a
sprint. Preparation for another hectic tax season should start before the
actual filing period. That way, you’ll have a streamlined system in place
before clients start knocking on your door.



What happens if you make a mistake on a client’s taxes, anyway? The
financial and reputational consequences can be steep, especially without
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business insurance for accountants. Mistakes tend to multiply when it comes to tax forms, so one incorrect
figure can wreak havoc. Clients can sue you for damages if your tax
preparation mistake costs them money. For example, if they’re penalized for
misreporting income or audited by the IRS, they may hold you liable.




When a
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tax preparer makes a mistake, it can result in two undesirable situations. Either the client receives a
lesser refund than they deserve, or they’re left on the hook for penalties.
Obviously, this is no good for your reputation as an accountant, or for
your bottom line. Professional liability insurance covers

unintentional mistakes
made in the line of work. Why? Because they fall under “negligence,
violation of good faith and fair dealing, and inaccurate advice.”



Even with this important coverage, savvy accountants know they should focus
on reducing the likelihood of errors from the start. Now is the time to
mentally and organizationally prepare for the upcoming tax season. Here are
a few
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tips from the Journal of Accountancy:






-Review your client list, notify those you’re dropping, and touch base with those you’re keeping


-Prepare your in-office equipment and bring technology up to date


-Identify common sticking points and work to eliminate them before the rush


-Plan ahead for employee well-being, including regular breaks and vacation time


-Hire qualified professionals if your workload is projected to grow


-Learn from last year’s mistakes




Along with updating your equipment comes the task of modernizing your
cybersecurity protocols. You deal with clients’ sensitive personal and
financial information on a daily basis. One hack during tax season could
compromise your entire client list and land your firm in major hot water. Cyber insurance is a commercial
safety net to mitigate the financial fallout from cyberattacks during
crunch time.



On the front end, make sure your anti-virus software is current. Now is a
great time to ask employees to set stronger passwords for their work
devices and online accounts. Consider hosting a training ahead of tax
season to address cybersecurity and usage policies.



Much of preparing for tax season is calculating your
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projected tax load

so you can accommodate your clients’ needs. The last thing you want to do
is turn down new clients because your current staff is overwhelmed. If you
need to hire additional professionals to handle the influx, start
interviewing now.



And lastly, business insurance for accountants will grant peace of mind as
you tackle tax season.



Protect your own assets as you help clients with theirs—CoverHound offers free policy quotes!

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