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Have you gone appointment-less? Do you like it?

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#1
Wiles  
Posts:
3888
Joined:
21-Apr-2014 9:42am
Location:
Bay Area – CA
We have gone 100% no appointments this year, from about 50% appointments.

We are loving it!

You can come to work, get to work and not be concerned about starting a project that you are going to have to set aside in 1 hour when your first appointment shows up.

We also are enjoying not having to put on our "happy face" for clients. That gets hard to do when you are tired and work is piling up around you.
 

#2
Posts:
1987
Joined:
21-Apr-2014 11:24am
Location:
North Carolina
I am only taking appointments on Tuesdays and Thursdays, as well as one evening appointment each weekday and a couple of Saturdays per month. So far it is working well. I am limiting appointments to thirty minutes and blaming COVID-19
 

#3
TaxDude  
Posts:
130
Joined:
21-Apr-2014 2:54pm
Location:
California
We are also 100% no appointments. And are loving it too! We're hoping to keep a majority of our tax business like this for future years post-Covid.

But I have noticed the backlog of files has increased because now there is no buffer on the amount of paperwork that comes in each day. Before, we would have paperwork come in at the pace of the appointments. Now, we get many files dropped off or sent to our portal each day.

But still, we do love it.
 

#4
Wiles  
Posts:
3888
Joined:
21-Apr-2014 9:42am
Location:
Bay Area – CA
Yes. We have noticed that, too. Or at least our admin staff have noticed that stuff is piling up with them. They are not of the same mindset and are very uncomfortable leaving anything for the next day.
 

#5
Posts:
551
Joined:
30-May-2014 7:38am
Location:
NC
I wish my admin staff was uncomfortable leaving things for the next day.
 

#6
Posts:
135
Joined:
5-Feb-2015 9:28am
Location:
TimBuckTwo
100% appointment free. Working well so far. But we do set "pick up" appointments which are handled in a no contact manner. Dont want a million people trying to pick up at the same time. And we may need to tweak a few things, but so far so good. Operating like we did when the covid **** hit in March. The biggest thing is, no more clients coming in snotting, coughing and sick !! So we are hoping we dont get anything this year.
 

#7
novacpa  
Posts:
790
Joined:
28-Apr-2014 1:16pm
Location:
Arlington, Virginia
You want a tax appointment to see me? Didn't you see/hear where all "face-to-face" appointments
must first be cleared by the Covid-Health Dept? With an application fee of $500?
Instead, we can talk over the phone and you will send me "images" of your tax documents, you keep
the originals.
If you haven't connected a scanner to your laptop, go to Fed Ex and they will scan your tax docs
and send them to me.
Scanners are the best thing since sliced bread.
We'll meet up when this pandemic is over.
I'll send you a PayPal Invoice for my tax work.
Tax prep and e-file can all be done by phone, and email, and e-signatures.
I love not having to get ready to see clients and wait for them to show up - and listen to "sorry to be late>>>>"
 

#8
Posts:
1552
Joined:
21-May-2018 7:50am
Location:
SC
I am continuing my no appointment policy, overall, but I have also only done them on Wednesdays and Thursdays. For clients that are not willing or able to use my portal to upload or receive documents, I do GO TO THEM to pick up/drop off documents--no one comes to my office, EVER. It is continuing my push for 100% virtual services and, sooner than later, a few clients will get the boot if they do not adopt technology.
 

#9
Eduardo  
Posts:
111
Joined:
28-Apr-2014 1:27pm
Location:
Midwest
We're not quite there yet. We're not worried about Covid but are using the excuse that I'm working from home a lot due to kids (not quite true, but I have had to work from home when my wife has to go into her work) and trying to get more to either mail/drop off. We did go through a list of people that I'm willing to see in person and are trying to stick to it.
 

#10
Posts:
135
Joined:
5-Feb-2015 9:28am
Location:
TimBuckTwo
I sort of miss the <bleep> sessions with clients. Hearing all the stories. Married couples bitchin at each other. But we get more done in a timely manner... Hmm Bitchin or productivity ? Which one. Toss up !!! Not !!!
 

#11
MWEA  
Posts:
172
Joined:
8-Feb-2018 7:37pm
Location:
Minnesota
It’s early, but this the first tax season where I’ve been able to be home in the evenings for dinner and not go to the office on weekends. It’s been a game changer.

Clients schedule on Calendly and note their preference for getting documents to us:

1. Upload link - my assistant sends it out right after they schedule.

2. Mail - we send a flat rate Priority Mail envelope to send their stuff to us. It feels weird mailing an envelope in an envelope to them, but it costs less than $10 round trip and makes it easy for them.

3. Drop off.

My realization rate is almost twice as high by not having in-person interviews. I keep stressing at each interview how “clients are really embracing it since they don’t have to leave the comfort of their home and drive across town.”

Never never want to go back to the old way. We realize we might lose some clients along the way, but the efficiency savings are worth it.
 

#12
mts4602  
Posts:
9
Joined:
5-May-2014 12:15pm
Location:
Denver
So do you guys ever meet your clients in person? Do you have phone conversations with them when they first reach out to you?

Maybe I’m misunderstanding.
 

#13
Taxaway  
Posts:
280
Joined:
22-Apr-2014 11:25pm
Location:
Boston, MA
Having mostly prior clients with most of them 5-10+ years and a handful over 20 years, I sort of miss the face to face chat. With most, not all!

On the other hand, splitting days in-office with 3 and working from home 4, I'm enjoying not having to travel in the snow and sleet and single digit wind chill! :D Clients send me their documents beforehand; if some clients want to meet in person, it's for a wrap-up session only with most opting for fully remote since the pandemic hit.
 

#14
Posts:
4485
Joined:
21-Apr-2014 7:21am
Location:
The Land
Yes. We have noticed that, too. Or at least our admin staff have noticed that stuff is piling up with them. They are not of the same mindset and are very uncomfortable leaving anything for the next day.

We have a policy, that is communicated to all clients with an organizer insert each year, that we do not want to receive documentation “sight unseen.” That is, they send nothing to us until we have a phone interview. At the end of that interview, we have a solid set of notes and a list of what the client needs to supply to us. This way, when we get it, it is not too much, not too little and is not confusing. It is a very controlled process. There are a few exceptions, about how we want certain things prior to year-end, as they arise, like closing statements for real property sales. In addition, if something involves monthly bookkeeping, like a Sch C or Sch E, that is handled during the year as things go. We do no bookkeeping as part of tax return preparation during tax season (except for the prior December work). There are some other exceptions to the general rule, which I can go into if you’d like. But at the end of the day, it is a very controlled process and allows us to keep our schedules straight. If someone, out of the blue, starts emailing tax documentation without our permission first, for example, we put a kibosh on it immediately. If someone mails their tax documentation to us with a phone interview first, they go to the back of the line and are reminded of our policy.
 

#15
Posts:
4485
Joined:
21-Apr-2014 7:21am
Location:
The Land
Yes. We have noticed that, too. Or at least our admin staff have noticed that stuff is piling up with them. They are not of the same mindset and are very uncomfortable leaving anything for the next day.

We have a policy, that is communicated to all clients with an organizer insert each year, that we do not want to receive documentation “sight unseen.” That is, they send nothing to us until we have a phone interview. At the end of that interview, we have a solid set of notes and a list of what the client needs to supply to us. This way, when we get it, it is not too much, not too little and is not confusing. It is a very controlled process. There are a few exceptions, about how we want certain things prior to year-end, as they arise, like closing statements for real property sales. In addition, if something involves monthly bookkeeping, like a Sch C or Sch E, that is handled during the year as things go. We do no bookkeeping as part of tax return preparation during tax season (except for the prior December work). There are some other exceptions to the general rule, which I can go into if you’d like. But at the end of the day, it is a very controlled process and allows us to keep our schedules straight. If someone, out of the blue, starts emailing tax documentation without our permission first, for example, we put a kibosh on it immediately. If someone mails their tax documentation to us with a phone interview first, they go to the back of the line and are reminded of our policy.
 

#16
Wiles  
Posts:
3888
Joined:
21-Apr-2014 9:42am
Location:
Bay Area – CA
Another thing I have noticed, that having no appointments does significantly reduce the number of those "what if this" questions we would get. This is both good and bad. There is value in exploring legitimate what-if scenarios. But many times those questions either send the meeting down a rabbit hole or they being asked with not-so-legitimate intent.
 

#17
Wiles  
Posts:
3888
Joined:
21-Apr-2014 9:42am
Location:
Bay Area – CA
Another observation - More clients are spending more time on preparing their information for delivery. Rather than throwing all their "Important Tax Information" into a folder and bringing it to the appointment (usually unopened) thinking I will take care of the rest.

I am seeing more use of the organizer and more handwritten/typed explanations of things they want to bring to my attention. Some of it is nonsense, but better to read it than hear a story about it.

This is certainly a better use of my time. Especially, because now I can give it to a staff person immediately and then it comes to me for review and final changes.
 


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