Why smart accountants use an answering service during tax time

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Long hours, endless paperwork and a barrage of client enquiries. That’s tax time for accountants across Australia.

Managing time well is crucial during this busy season for tax accountants. Smart firms seek to remove distractions and increase productivity. But they also ensure they can continue to provide excellent service. After all, no client wants the phone to ring out when they call.

That’s where an answering service comes in. It can be a useful tool for firms and solo practitioners to ease the burden.

Let’s explore how using an accountant answering service can transform your practice.

The challenges of tax season for accountants

Although registered tax agents can often lodge returns for clients after the standard 31 October deadline, 1 July marks the start of an intense time for accountants. During this time, you already have to deal with:

  • Maintaining detailed financial records
  • Preparing and filing tax returns
  • Managing client communications
  • Keeping up with the latest tax laws

With so much going on, it’s easy to miss phone calls or delay responses to clients. This can hurt client satisfaction and practice efficiency.

The role of an accountant answering service

A live call answering service provider such as OfficeHQ handles your incoming calls. This may be all your calls or only those you can’t answer in-house. For example:

  • Calls made when your team can’t pick up
  • Calls made when your line is already busy
  • Calls made when your receptionist is off sick or goes to lunch
  • Calls made after hours, when your office is empty

As you can see, even if you have a dedicated receptionist, an answering service can still be great backup.

Depending on your needs, OfficeHQ’s team of virtual receptionists can:

  • Take messages
  • Screen incoming calls
  • Transfer calls based on your preferences and availability
  • Use different scripts depending on whether a new client or an existing client is calling
  • Handle appointment bookings

Our team can also personalise call handling to match your firm’s style and protocols. This ranges from specific greetings to using customised scripts to guide call flows.

The benefits of OfficeHQ’s accountant answering service are endless.

1. Improving client communication

During the peak tax time for accountants, client communication can become overwhelming. An answering service ensures client calls are answered, quickly and professionally. Even after hours, if you want. Connecting with a real person whenever they call can give clients peace of mind. It can also build trust and boost satisfaction rates.

2. Increasing efficiency

Imagine your office without phones ringing. This reduces interruptions, allowing for better concentration and higher productivity. Accountants can focus on important tasks like preparing tax documents and advising clients.

3. Capturing more leads

When you’re swamped with work, acquiring new customers is the last thing on your mind. Yet doing so is key to your long-term success. Virtual receptionists can assist with client acquisition, including qualifying leads. This can ensure you only spend time on relevant enquiries. They can also schedule appointments and handle cancellations using your preferred calendar software.

4. Cost-effectiveness

Hiring extra in-house staff during tax season can be expensive. As can using temping agencies. Both can also mean you need more office space. And then there’s the time investment into training … which you don’t have during tax time. OfficeHQ’s answering services provide a far cheaper alternative and no hassle.

5. Scalability

OfficeHQ’s answering services can scale up or down according to your call volumes. Plans can suit solo accountants, small accounting practice startups and even large firms. There’s also no penalty if downsizing after tax time and no lock-in contract, making it an ideal short-term receptionist solution if you only anticipate a temporary need.

Implementing an answering service in your practice

To get the most out of an accountant answering service during tax season, follow these steps:

1. Choose the right service provider

Look for a provider experienced in serving financial services businesses including accounting firms. They should understand the specific needs of accountants during tax season. And they should offer features like message taking, call transfers and appointment scheduling. OfficeHQ ticks all these boxes.

2. Customise your service

Provide all relevant information about your services when setting up your account. This helps the receptionists to provide a seamless experience for your callers. It only takes a few minutes within your online client portal. Even better, OfficeHQ provides a portal user guide to walk you through what’s needed.

3. Clue in your team

Make sure your accountants know how the answering service works. This includes how to toggle their individual availability for call transfers.

Want to set your accounting practice up for success?

The busy season for tax accountants doesn’t have to be stressful and overwhelming.

By using an accountant answering service during tax time, and at other times of the year, you can:

  • Maintain high service levels
  • Meet deadlines more easily
  • Exceed client expectations
  • Fuel your growth

OfficeHQ has been trusted by hundreds of financial services business owners Australia-wide to answer their calls.

Cameron Macdonald, the founder of Brisbane-based online accounting firm Countable, says having “a part-time reception resource” has been extremely beneficial.

“OfficeHQ have made a massively positive difference to our business,” he says.

Sydney-based accounting practice Continuum Accounting partnered with OfficeHQ for several weeks in 2023, when between receptionists.

Director and practice manager Suzanne Buissink says: “It was a great short-term solution that allowed the team to keep working and not have to answer telephones.”

Want your practice to thrive also? Embrace the power of OfficeHQ’s answering services this tax season.

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Fred McKie is a former News Limited journalist who owned and operated a commercial photography business in southeast Queensland for several years before becoming a digital marketing professional. He joined our Sunshine Coast head office team in 2021 as OfficeHQ's Website & Digital Marketing Co-ordinator and is thrilled to be a part of a company that helps businesses thrive.

Our services are designed for any sized business.

Our clients range from small businesses and medium enterprises to large corporations and governments. Our services have various packages and bespoke solutions are available to suit high-volume or high-complex accounts.

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