Contributed by CeCe Morken, Senior Vice President & General Manager, ProTax Group at Intuit 

Tax professionals play an interesting role in the business world. Because they serve customers across a wide range of industries, they have a unique view into how digital technology is changing the way business is conducted. Our team at Intuit works closely with these professionals. They’re using technology to eliminate static, inefficient practices in their own business, and to bring about better ways to serve their clients so that clients can get peace of mind – and their refunds – faster!

Some of the most notable changes we’ve seen include the following:

Taking the “Place” Out of Workplace:

More and more individuals are taking their lives – and, by extension, their businesses – online. We’ve watched tax professionals do the same, building entirely new business models with this trend. One such trend is the rise of on-the-go tax pros, who serve previously unreachable clients. For example, Garilynn in San Diego, CA, works with only homebound, elderly tax filers. She serves as a trusted partner to this unique client base, managing her business online and traveling to her clients, wherever that may be.  By taking the “place” out of workplace, Garilynn has developed an entire reputation based on her reliability, flexibility, trustworthiness, and client-focused approach.

Elevating Transparency:

Warren Buffet once said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation – and only a minute to ruin it.” In the digital age, it takes even less time than that… for both.

Businesses today live and die by their online reputations. Angie’s List, Google Local and Yelp are full of honest, uncensored reviews from customers, and are often the first places potential clients look when looking for a new tax professional. This trend also catapults transparency to the top of the priority list for many professionals, who are now addressing concerns, answering questions and expressing gratitude more publicly than ever before.

Reducing Downtime:

At its very core, digital technology allows modern businesses to operate more efficiently and more effectively than their predecessors. It helps us make smarter decisions, save time and cut unnecessary expenses – all while creating a better experience for both the business and the customer.

Tax professionals, for example, need each individual client to sign IRS Form 8879, which allows the tax pro to do the client’s taxes in the first place. What was once quite the “paper chase” could be time consuming for both parties. I say “once” because thankfully digital tools are streamlining these requirements, offering new ways for tax professionals to collect signatures electronically. And partners like DocuSign, The Global Standard for Digital Transaction Management®, are integrating into the software that tax professionals already use to make that “chase” as short and as simple as possible.  

So tell us, how has digital changed the way that you or your clients do business? Have things become simpler or more complicated? Are there any tools that you rely on completely now that didn’t exist five or 10 years ago?