There’s something much scarier than Halloween right around the corner — year-end! As an accounting professional, you know year-end can be an incredibly stressful period. We don’t want you to be scrounging for paperwork at the last minute, so here are some tips for preparing your clients for the busiest time of year!
Create a Year-End Calendar With Your Client
The best way to make sure that your client is ready for year-end is to sit down with them and sketch out a schedule. Figure when you’re going to meet, where, and how often. Set deadlines for handing over important paperwork and decide how you’re going to send reminders about these deadlines.
Gather Financial Statements
The paperwork is about to start piling up (unless, of course, you’ve taken our advice and gone paperless!). As part of your preparation for year-end, you should list all the documents you need from your client… and then pass that list on to them! These documents include things like financial statements and cash flow statements.
Prepare Your 1099s
Gathering W9s should be a year-long process, but now is the time to double-check that you have all the information you need. 1099s can be tricky because they cover a vast array of services — even landlords and medical corporations can fall into this category! Make sure your client is aware of this early on. Review vendor information with them and make a note to send reminders about turning in additional W9s.
Do Some Research
One of the things that make your job so interesting (and difficult) is that rules and regulations are always changing. To prepare your clients for year-end, you’ll need to do some research yourself. Make a list of everything you’ll need to be updated on and monitor accounting publications for any recent news you should be aware of. Be sure to fill your clients in on what they need to know.
Know Your Client’s Preferences
You may run your firm like a well-oiled machine, but introducing third parties presents new complications. Before you find yourselves in the trenches of year-end, it’s good to establish a communication plan with your client and ensure that you’re on the same page technologically. You don’t want to be struggling last minute to share passwords or links with a client when those details can be taken care of in advance.
Year-end might be the scariest time for accountants, but you can definitely take some of the fright out of the season through preparation! You need to know your stuff AND pass that knowledge on to your clients in order to make the ride as smooth as possible.