So each year it gets more and more difficult. We talk to our clients and they tell us that this season was worse than last year, and we hear that year and year and year after. I question how much I always believe that because it can’t perpetually be worse, but those are the challenges that people face each and every year. There are things that firms should be and are doing today during the off-season to look at—it’s looking at the technology, looking at workflow solutions to increase productivity, looking at outsourcing and how that will affect their firm. When they are doing that, the strategy is absolutely critical: communication to the value, the benefits within the firm around how do we keep our staff and employees happy where you are working maybe till 8 o’clock and till 10 o’clock or 6 o’clock till 8 o’clock, what does that do to the firm? What does it do to your client service? Figuring out how you are going to employ strategy, whether it be working on the smallest of returns or the most complicated, data intensive returns.
It’s figuring out what works best for you, whether it’s your A clients, your B clients, focusing on the things that are going to matter—educating, discussing that within the firm and then executing on that. That will change some of things that happen within that firm on how you train your staff, when you are looking at Adobe training, how you are reviewing workpapers. Talking about what the impact of that is not just for today and the preparers but what does it do for a reviewer if you are creating that standardization that we are all reviewing things the same way, that they are showing up the same way, does that increase productivity? These are some of the trainings and discussions that firms should be looking at during the off-season, figuring out their strategy and talking to folks that have done it before so that they can learn from their mistakes and accelerate that learning curve.