Professional Tax Articles

5 Ways to protect your office in the age of cyber security

There are many different ways that cyber criminals attempt to gain information, and lately tax professionals have been a target. With such a large amount of sensitive taxpayer data being stored in offices, it is more important than ever to make sure that you have the proper safeguards in place. As the saying goes, “You are only as strong as your weakest link.”
  1. Utilize cloud storage – by removing the need for files to be stored locally, you can rely on the security of a professional cloud based storage solution. Just like you specialize in tax preparation, they specialize in keeping your data secure.
  2. Virtual Servers – when your software and information are stored on a computer in your office, it creates a single location that can be targeted. It also avoids the need to network multiple computers together, which creates more opportunities for a breach.
  3. VPN – (Virtual Private Network) This gives a large tax office significantly increased security no matter where its team is connecting from. Preparers can login to the network from home or on the road and enjoy the same security as if they were in the office.
  4. Anti-Virus protection – Why put your business and client information at risk? Prevent, detect and destroy computer viruses, worms, trojans, adware and more.
  5. Backup Disaster Recovery – whether it’s snow storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, or earthquakes, most areas are susceptible to some type of natural disaster. By having offsite secure backups, you can ensure that your office and client information is never in danger of being lost.

Taking these simple steps will make your office more secure, and also make your clients feel safer. The security of personal information has become more important than ever to many consumers, so by securing your office, you are also gaining client trust.

Professional Tax Articles

Growing your business and minimizing your risk

If you ask most business owners, they would say one of their main goals is growth. In the professional tax preparation industry it can be more challenging, due to the complex nature of the work, and the specific training required to do it correctly. Many tax pro’s state that they cannot find someone they can trust to open a second office, or take over a managerial role. With so much sensitive financial information available, office security needs to be a primary concern.

One great way to grow safely without being in multiple places at once is to work with a tax software that allows you to control every access level for things in your office, as well as review every file before it is submitted to the IRS for processing. As technology improves, and security becomes more of a concern, successful tax offices will be those that embrace the change and find new ways to use the many tools available. This is especially important if you have others working under a shared EFIN. The EFIN holder is ultimately responsible for what is on those returns, so being able to review and correct before they are submitted is very valuable. Certain professional tax software products offer the main office, or main ERO the ability to control every aspect of their office remotely without being in the physical location.

Keep these requirements in mind when choosing your software for the upcoming season.

Professional Tax Articles

How to stay relevant to taxpayers

Every year more and more taxpayers choose to use a self-prep DIY software to prepare their tax returns. As a tax professional, it may seem hard to compete against something so easy and inexpensive. It’s important to remember that tax professionals are able to offer much more than just tax preparation. Keep in mind that your customers are already trusting you with their sensitive financial information, so you have the opportunity to offer other financial services as well such as credit repair, bookkeeping, accounting services, and more.

Like any good business, the more services you offer, the more likely a client is to remain with you. It is also a great opportunity to eliminate the conversation around your pricing. If they are receiving 2-3 additional services from you, they will not be as concerned about the price of your prep fees. This is called creating a “sticky” client.