LUTZ BUSINESS INSIGHTS
tips for staying connected with your accountant during virtual times
MISSY JACKSON, TAX MANAGER
Undoubtedly, COVID-19 has changed the way we do business. From meetings with your accountant to exchanging documents, once in-person activities are now seemingly void of contact. Thankfully, technology provides simple solutions, protecting your health and increasing collaboration. Below are three tips you can use to stay connected with your accountant virtually.
1. Find the Right Equipment
The technology available today is exponentially better than it was just a few years ago. That said, having a suitable camera and microphone is crucial for virtual meetings. High-quality tools enable your accountant to clearly visualize or comprehend your message, ensuring there is no miscommunication. Although many devices today are versatile, be sure to check the compatibility of each tool to your laptop or desktop computer before purchasing.
It is also important to install the proper software. There are many different platforms that businesses use for virtual communication. Here are a few of the most common you might encounter:
- Microsoft Teams
- Microsoft Outlook
Having these programs downloaded or installed ahead of time will allow for a seamless connection when needed.
2. Video Meetings vs. Conference Calls
As mentioned above, there are many different video applications available for use. When available, you should opt to do a video meeting. Chatting “face-to-face” using video offers a greater sense of connection you otherwise miss by talking over the phone.
For virtual video chats, Zoom continues to be the go-to app. The great thing about Zoom and similar video apps like Microsoft Teams is that it gives you access to tutorials on how to use its features.
It also gives you a choice to either chat while sharing video or just voice. Most CPA analysts recommend accountants use the video chat feature due to financial information being very visual. Explaining complex financial data over the phone can sometimes lead to confusion, especially when citing facts and figures.
With screen sharing, complicated meetings like this work well with multiple people. In the case of doing audits, quick virtual meetings are recommended to allow you to ask questions.
3. Share Documents Through a Client Portal
Online portals are already a popular option for more personal communication with clients. In the world of accounting, this is essential to help pass on private information when necessary.
Document sharing is sometimes a security risk, so consider utilizing a digital portal for this reason. All information can become compromised in a digital environment, unfortunately. That said, establishing a secure way to send important documents needs consideration before meetings begin.
The same goes for file storage. Various federal regulations are in place to protect the privacy of financial information with clients. Breaking any of these could mean fines for your accountant, not including breaking the trust you had in them. If you are a business, consider using a platform like ThreadWorks. TheadWorks helps you streamline processes, improve response time, and allows you to easily manage and store critical documents online. ThreadWorks also makes it easy to access and e-sign documents on mobile devices.
In summary, consider doing more informal video chats throughout the year with your accountant to keep in touch. Allowing a more personal chat now and again goes a long way toward building a trust-based relationship. Contact us at Lutz if you have any questions related to virtual technology or accounting. You can also find related articles here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
MISSY JACKSON + TAX MANAGER
Missy Jackson is a Tax Manager at Lutz with over 6 years of related experience. She specializes in the review of corporate and multi-state returns, maintains and manages client relationships, and assists with international compliance.
AREAS OF FOCUS
- Corporate Returns
- Multi-State Returns
- International Compliance
AFFILIATIONS AND CREDENTIALS
- Certified Public Accountant
- BSBA in Accounting, University of Nebraska, Omaha, NE
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