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Pro Tip: Email Reminders for Tax Estimates, and More

I know… I know, it’s Tax Season. You don’t have time to read these things.

I’ll make you a deal. You spend 60-seconds reading this… and I’ll save you several hours per week. That’s a good deal, right?

Email Reminders. Don’t neglect this feature!

To introduce you, I have a Reminder set up for Estimated Taxes. Go to E-Mails> Client Reminders. I created an email that says “Hey – estimates are due on the 15th of this month. Don’t forget to pay or contact me if you need to update your projections”. Click on Select Recipients (see below for using with a Tag) and hit Send. Poof! Now you effectively reminded your entire client base about tax estimates and maybe even created some additional revenue, not to mention the value of the time saved not having to remind anyone individually. For an added benefit, I add “{c:shared_file_location}” in the reminder email and now they have a copy of their vouchers which you saved in their online portal so they don’t need to ask you to send them. Again.

For an even better experience, go to the Wrench (Settings in the upper right) and set up a Contact Tag for Estimated Taxes. I also have one for Holiday Card List, All NY City clients, Trusts and Estates, FBAR, etc., depending on how you communicate with your clients. Now that the Tag is created, select it when you want to send an email to a select group of clients, vendors, contacts, etc.

What kinds of mass email reminders will you create? Let me know!

Happy Taxing.

kevin@CPApp.io

Pro Tip: The Client Checklist

I have a client – I’ll call her “Amber”. In fact, I think we all have “Amber” as a client.

Amber calls on April 13th and innocently asks “Hey Kevin… tell me, what do I still need to send you again?”

Que eye-roll. And maybe even some under-the-breath inappropriate language.

I now have to find her file, compile all documents she sent both physically and digitally and compare to the prior year. I make a list of all open items and get back to her. 30 minutes – Gone.

I needed an Amber-Antidote. That’s when The Checklist was born.

The Checklist feature is just what it sounds like. A checklist, specific to each client, where you enter in all pieces of tax information you expect to receive from each client and simply check the box when it arrives to show it is now in your possession. This is infinitely better than an Organizer, and serves as a constant, up to the minute, real time guide as to what is still outstanding vs. what you received. Both you and your clients are always aligned with all open items. It’s the single biggest time saving feature of CPApp and incredibly easy to set up and use going forward. We create a Reminder email that says “Hey Amber, remember, we’re still awaiting the following information to complete your tax return” every 7-10 days or so and Amber has her orders!

Head to E-Mails > Checklist > Select Client> Checkmark (to edit).

Click “Add new” to enter each individual item you want to track.

For example:

            W-2 from Prestige Worldwide

            1099 from Catalina Wine Mixer

            Closing statement from D-Man Realty

            Confirm bank account ends in XX2311

All you (or your staff) do from then on is click the “received” box when each item arrives or when you prepare the return.

When reminder emails are sent to your clients, whether individually, or en-masse, all unchecked items are at the top, and checked items are below so there is never the dreaded “are you sure, I thought I sent you that” comment ever again.

Items can be added and deleted each year and there is even a function to “uncheck” all check marks across your entire practice to get ready for the next year. Let’s be honest. This can potentially take some time to set up and I had an intern do it in the Spring. However, there is not one thing I can point to in my entire practice that has saved me so much time and grief as the Checklist. Maybe start with a few of your more complicated clients to test it and populate on the fly from there.

I send a mass “Hey, it’s January” email to all clients and we include the Checklist with it. I then periodically send Reminder emails individually with the Checklist to stay top-of-mind. Spoiler alert – Email Reminders are the topic of my next Pro Tip.

Have an antidote for another client? I’d love to hear about it.

Send me an email to kevin@CPApp.io and let’s make it happen. We’re all about keeping Amber et. al. under control.

Pro Tip: Sync with your Online Client File Sharing Service

This is a good one.

Remember the old days when you had to use a carrier pigeon to send data to/from your client?  Me either. But a fax machine, bicycle messenger, personal phone calls and a meeting for each client was not so long ago, I’m afraid. Alas, it is 2020 and my fax machine now rests comfortably in a storage closet somewhere.

CPApp now has an amazing new feature to share data back and forth with your clients. You can now include a Dropbox/OneDrive/Google Drive (or other data sharing software) link within our automated emails. For example, you send a checklist where it lists everything outstanding the client still needs to send you to complete a tax return. They gather their docs, hit the link in the email and drag and drop to their heart’s content. You have the accounting and/or tax data, the client gets it off their desk and everyone wins.

In the Contacts screen > select a client > edit a client.

Halfway down the screen, you’ll see a text box labeled “File Sharing Link”, although any doc sharing platform will work as long as everyone has their own specific link.

Copy this link from Dropbox, et. al and paste it in this box.

Repeat for all clients.

Go to E-Mails and add in “{c:shared_file_location}” at the end of the text. The software will link the name of the recipient with their own specific link.

It only takes 10 seconds per client to set up and do it once, it’s there forever saving you unbelievable amounts of time, season after season.

Like this idea? Hate it? Have another one that would make your day better? Let me know, I read them all!  kevin@CPApp.io

Pro Tip: Centralized Web Links

Know what’s silly?

It’s silly that we all share company contacts, a server, our individual calendars, QBs files… even a restroom. In spite of this, we all keep our own browser favorites on our individual computers like it’s a double-super-secret place to find where to get a FEIN or to see the Chipotle’s menu.

Has no one else thought about making a single place to share the most important and commonly used URLs so we all don’t have to try to find the same information on our own? Not to mention it’s available no matter what computer or device you’re using?

Problem solved.

  1. Go to Settings > Web Link Categories and create a category you want to share (ie, “Taxing Agencies”, “Client Websites”, “Dinner Menus”, “Administrative”, “Really Important Stuff”, etc.)
  2. Click on Weblinks on the side menu bar > Add New to enter a URL you want to save/share companywide.
  3. Save www.beancountersday.com under “Super Important Stuff”, because let’s face it. That one’s hardly silly at all.

Got a time saving idea you want to see included in CPApp? Let us know at kevin@CPApp.io.  I read ‘em all! Oh, and for the one who suggested a place in CPApp to share recipes.. ummm… no.

Pro Tip: Sharing Notes

Let me guess. You’re talking to your client on the phone while furiously scribbling down notes on a sticky note, a torn open box of Yodels and even a little on your forearm with a Sharpie. You then need to pass these notes to your staff so they know everything you do and they can update the tax projection accordingly. You could swear you put the note in the file, but it’s just not there. And, to top it off, if your admin complains about your handwriting one more time, you’re moving him, and his red stapler, to the basement.

Relax. CPApp has a much better way to share accounting and tax-related notes.

  1. Click on Notes > New
  2. Select a client name
  3. Highlight those staff levels that are able to see this note, just in case something is sensitive.
  4. Pick a category (you can add new ones under Settings)
  5. Enter an amount if it applies or leave it blank.
  6. Type your notes for all to see & share.
  7. Attach a pdf, Excel doc or even a jpeg photo of your forearm for archival purposes.

Now everyone in your accounting firm has the same data you do and it’s updated in real-time. You can even print selected notes as a pdf and keep a copy in your client’s file, if that suits you.

It seems like common sense to have this feature. Admittedly, even we got off to a slow start on this one, but now we use it all the time for nearly every phone call, meeting and even internal discussions. It’s SOP to be the first place we look for info before working on a client. And now I can once again wash my arm before Tax Season.

And think of the money saved by not buying boxes of Yodels to be used as note paper.

Got a comment, idea, question or {gasp!} even a complaint?

Give it to me straight at kevin@CPApp.io.

Pro Tip: Monthly vs. Periodic Invoicing

Invoicing. It’s the best of times. It’s the worst of times.

Surely, we all have some clients to whom we send a monthly invoice and still others get sent invoices only periodically.

Wouldn’t it be great to be able to print a WIP Report showing just those monthly clients so we don’t need to slog through all those other entries?

Problem solved!

  1. Go to Contacts and pick your monthly clients.
  2. At the top of the screen, under billing cycle, select “Monthly”
  3. In Timesheets, select “Work in Process”, then “Monthly” and “Submit”.
  4. Finish reading A Tale of Two Cities with all the time you just saved each month.

Got an idea or a compliment you want to share? Send it to kevin@CPApp.io.

Got a complaint? Send those to ted@CPApp.io. Just kidding. I’ll take those, too.

Pro Tip: Parent/Child Billing – Paying for your Child’s Tax Return

Your client comes in and says they want you to prepare their kid’s tax return and to bill the parent for it. Maybe the same client has a number of businesses and the holding company pays for the tax work for all entities.

Hmmm… so we need separate time tracking and separate due date tracking entries to manage these clients. How on earth are we supposed to bill it on one invoice?

Back in the old days when we had green visors and fourteen column ledger paper, you would have prepared two (or more) invoices or manually moved the time from child to parent.

Then CPApp came along!

1. Go to Contacts. Select the name of the child.

2. At the top of the screen, check “Yes” where it says “Will you be billing someone else”.

3. Select the name of the parent in the dropdown menu immediately to the right.

4. When you do your invoicing, go to Reports > Invoice Reports and select the parent’s name. Both sets of time will be in there, although listed separately so it’s easy to see how the time was spent.

5. Send a message to kevin@CPApp.io to tell him how much time you saved using this feature and how you want to build a monument in your parking lot in his honor.

Okay, maybe a monument isn’t necessary, but drop me a line anyway to tell me what works, what doesn’t and what you’d like to see in a future release. I personally read them all!

But seriously, a monument would be awesome.

Subscribe to have new time-saving Pro Tips, CPApp new features, giveaways, and other promotions delivered to your inbox. Sign up at https://cpapp.io/cpapp-connection.

Questions? Contact us at support@CPApp.io

Pro Tip: Client Email Reminders for Quarterly Estimated Taxes

As you know, Q2 estimated taxes are around the corner. Did you remind your clients? I did and it only took me a few seconds. Let me show you how you can do it as quickly as us.

Setting it up the first time should take 5 – 20 minutes, depending on how many clients you have. It will then take no time at all every subsequent quarter. Forever.

1. Go to Settings (the Wrench) and create a Tag called “Estimated Tax Reminder”.

2. Go to all Contacts and select/add “Estimated Tax Reminder” at the bottom of the screen to everyone who should get an email every quarter.

3. Go to E-Mails/Client Reminders/Add New.

4. Create a customized message that works for you. I use (and feel free to edit as it pertains to your own practice):

Dear {firstname},

This is a reminder to let you know personal estimated income taxes are due on the 15th day of this month.

If you pay the same amount every quarter with protective estimates you already received, then this is just a reminder.

If you wish to pay the actual tax or are not sure if this applies to you or not, please contact us. Remember, estimated taxes can be paid via this link: https://your-link-here. Please disregard if you have already paid, have discussed with us already or are otherwise not paying at this time. This is not a monitored address, please do not respond to this e-mail directly.

Thank you.

Now the hard part is done and you’re ready to send the email.

5. In E-Mails, find the specific reminder you wish to send. Hit Select Recipients and select the names within the Tag that should get the email. Conceivably, it’s all of them, but it allows you the flexibility to exclude some if necessary.

6. Click on “Send Email”.

7. Sit back and wait for everyone to thank you for the reminder. Then go home early and watch Netflix with all the time you saved.

We use Reminders to send an annual “Welcome Back” email every January, information on new tax developments, a personalized checklist of what’s outstanding to complete every clients’ tax return, Digital Holiday Greetings, etc.

Take the few minutes to set it up. Your clients will appreciate the proactive reminder!

Subscribe to have new time-saving Pro Tips, CPApp new features, giveaways, and other promotions delivered to your inbox. Sign up at https://cpapp.io/cpapp-connection.

Questions? Contact us at support@CPApp.io

Want some feedback? Feel free to add me to your Tagged-list!
Kevin Wenig, kevin@CPApp.io.

Pro Tip: Provide Feedback or Report A Problem

Did you know that there’s a button in the lower right corner of every page in every module of CPApp that can be used to provide feedback or report a problem?

If you have an idea that would make CPApp better, any feedback, or would like to report a bug or a problem, let us know here!