Do you know what’s involved in processing, reviewing, and distributing ATO correspondence in your office? If you don’t – go and chat to the person responsible for the task right now, because it might shock you to discover what’s happening. It’s a clunky, cumbersome, and repetitive process; it’s prone to data entry errors; and in the event of a mistake it can have damaging repercussions on your client relationships (think not warning a client about a payment due date).
In fact, just recently, ATOmate picked up a discrepancy on a notice of assessment that differed to the information in the practice management system – a client told they’d potentially be liable for a $2,000 tax bill in fact was entitled to the same amount as a refund! While that pick-up made for a very happy phone call, it highlights the significance that even the smallest typo can have.
The reality is that, while it must be done, processing ATO documents distracts your team from what’s most important for your practice – servicing your clients, growing your business, and engaging your team in meaningful work.
Here’s three things you could and should be doing with your time instead of managing your ATO correspondence:
- Marketing your practice. With much new business growth coming from referrals, marketing is not something accountants have traditionally been known for. But in a landscape with growing competition (from new advisers, and automated compliance services alike!) it’s an activity and discipline that needs to be bumped up the list. Rather than have your Client Service Administrator spend a day each week checking, drafting & distributing ATO notices, get them to engage in marketing activities that contribute to growing your business. Those activities could include collating and preparing a monthly email newsletter, writing a topical blog post, and/or preparing a handful of social media posts to share throughout the month that highlight your services and capabilities. Sharing the good news you’re doing for clients and details of how you can help them will go a long way to positioning your practice for the future and helping you to grow your revenue – not to mention it’s much more interesting than data entry!
TIP: help set your marketing assistant up for success by creating a simple marketing plan and content calendar or engage an external adviser to help you do so.
- Improving your business processes and procedures. In the event you lost a team member, would you be able to take over their responsibilities without batting an eyelid? The chances are there are more than a handful or processes, tasks, and procedures that have not been documented, or are in desperate need of review and update. Regularly reviewing and maintaining your business processes & procedures is a must to ensure the sustainability and longevity of your business. It’s a great task you can get your Client Service team or junior advisers to assist with too (if they weren’t busy processing ATO documentation!).
TIP: start by mapping out your key business processes and ensuring each process has a corresponding document procedure and champion. Set a reminder to review annually.
- Wowing clients. Of course, the most important thing you should be focused on is delivering moments of wow for your clients. While it might sound hard to do for tax services, the reality is that a few small tweaks to your client service habits can go a long way to creating memorable experiences your clients will appreciate and want to tell their friends about. Even a quick phone call to touch base can go a long way in creating moments of wow for clients. For example, why not pick up the phone to share the news of a refund, or if you have just emailed the client a payable Notice of Assessment, give them a call to check they’ve received it and can meet the payment date. Other simple ideas could include recording coffee and tea preferences in your CRM so your Client Service team are knowledgeable and thoughtful when clients come in for their next meeting, or experiment with sending text reminders for upcoming due dates or meetings to help clients keep track of their commitments.
These are three key activities you and your team should be investing your time in and that provide much more value to you, your business, and your clients than processing ATO documentation. But just how do you find the time, and still stay up to date with getting those important ATO notifications to your clients? Utilising the power of automation can go a long way in reducing the administrative burden of repetitive processes across your entire practice, and ATO document processing is just one area that can be easily and successfully automated.
ATOmate automates the bulk download of notices from the Tax Agent Portal, as well as the processing, checking and distribution of documents including Notices of Assessment, Statements of Account and Tax Debts. Not only does ATOmate reduce manual data entry and processing time, it’s also designed to help you keep up with compliance requirements – automatically redacting TFNs to keep your client’s data safe and secure.
With ATOmate, you can reclaim the valuable time you and your team are spending on repetitive administrative processes so you can reinvest that into building and maintaining meaningful client relationships and growing your business.
Do more with your time, automate your ATO document processing with ATOmate. Find out more about ATOmate and register for an online discovery session here – www.atomate.com.au