Now that we’ve all eaten as much turkey and mince pies as we wanted and the Christmas tree baubles have been taken down, accountants’ minds turn to that annual task of HMRC tax returns, causing tax season stress. SMEs are all too aware of the submission deadline on January 31st and that fines are imposed for late returns. However, how many of your clients still leave it until the last minute to send you their accounts for processing?
It’s at this time of the year that it’s so important for your IT system to be resilient enough to support your additional workload and increased stress levels, not creating tax season stress. Your IT service partner also needs to understand the pressures your firm is under to deliver for clients. If your server fails when you are submitting your clients’ tax returns, your service desk needs to be on hand to bring it back with minimum downtime.
We’re all aware of the vast number of tax returns submitted every year (over 11 million according to the government) and it’s only a small proportion (700,000) that aren’t filed on time. We never want to be in the group of people filing at the last minute, but if by some chance your IT system fails at this stressful time, you could find yourself amongst the 60,000 people filing returns between 4-5 pm on January 31st. You need to try to avoid this scenario.
Support to reduce tax season stress
It is therefore essential that your IT partner is available to make sure that your systems will support your business. We often see increasing call wait times and response times from the key software suppliers as we get deeper into January.
Your IT service partner also needs to be aware of potential issues and provide support to your staff, who are often working long hours to fulfill customer requirements. Knowing your business needs is vitally important and empathy goes a long way to help calm already tax season stressed staff with the knowledge that their IT service partner understands the problems. You need to know if your service provider will be available for extended hours at this key time if your team needs additional support.
Systems to help
You should also consider whether flexible working would help your team during this period. If your staff could access their systems from any location, at any time, securely, this will help improve efficiency and allow staff to be at home rather than long hours and weekends in the office, which could help to reduce tax season stress.
2020 brings the opportunity to change and improve what your business offers. If you are not getting the support you need from your existing provider or would like to find out how Orca can help provide improved support and more stable platforms please get in touch.