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COVID-19: How is your firm responding?

Community Manager
Community Manager

Happy Wednesday Tax Pro Community!

COVID-19 is a continually evolving situation in the United States and around the world. Intuit CEO Sasan Goodarzi sent an email to all customers outlining our response at Intuit, but now we'd like to hear from you. 

covid19.jpg

 

 

How has COVID-19 affected you? Have you transitioned your firm to a remote setting? Do you have any best practices or ideas to share? Let's start a conversation below!

 


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37 Replies 37
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Champion
Champion

We were ordered to shelter in place at midnight last night.    I'll be sheltering at the office today, I dont have the space to work efficiently from home.  Ive given my receptionist the day off, she may drop in for a couple hours just to get the returns from yesterday out in the mail

I only have 4 clients on the calendar today (It was supposed to be a "catch-up" day for all my regular mail-ins and drop offs anyhow!), I know 2 of them will be coming in, the other 2 may end up canceling, we'll see.  I have enough space at the office to use social distancing for in person appts, and wiping down common surfaces and doorknobs in between clients.   Clients can come in one door and leave through a different one, so client to client passing would be avoided.

I'll be contacting the clients on the calendar for the rest of the week to try and get them to drop off today, and we can do phone appts at their scheduled appt time.  I dont have a secure portal, or the patience to learn or be comfortable with one on the fly like that, so my options are limited...doing the best I can with what I have to work with!


♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥Lisa♥¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪
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Champion
Champion

I am running business as usual. Illinois has not ordered a complete lockdown as of now so.....I am as careful as I can. I will trust my clients in that if they are sick, stay home or drop off their paperwork. I have a few phone appts for those that are not comfortable with a sit down. I like @Just-Lisa-Now- dont have a secure portal and I am too slammed to have a learning curve with that sh*t. 

I wipe down, disinfect, clean and do what I can do to protect myself and my clients. 

 

For now, stay safe everyone, we are all needed here on earth. Dont forget that. 😊

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Level 15

How do you disinfect?  You can't buy any of that stuff right now.  Folks are too busy hoarding crap and not thinking about anyone other than themselves.  

Most of our home stretch consists of drop offs with an appointment here and there.  For the most part, life here appears to be going on as normal other than the fact that schools started their shutdowns today and bars and restaurants shutdown yesterday at 5:00.  

It's a scary world out there right now.  Some folks may get through without getting sick, but whether or not they have a job when the dust all settles is another story.

 

Remember - keep 6 feet 3.28 inches away from everyone. I like that extra 3.28 inches - just to be safe.
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Champion
Champion

Im one of those weirdos that always has back stock of everything at home  LOL   I had multiple containers of disinfecting wipes and spray cans of Lysol at home before this even went down (I never buy just one of anything!)

One of my clients last Saturday had a dozen full size bottles of hand sanitizer in her car when she came in and gave me one for the office

Ive only got 20 rolls of toilet paper though, may have to ration if this goes on too long!


♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥Lisa♥¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪
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Champion
Champion

It's a scary world out there right now.  Some folks may get through without getting sick, but whether or not they have a job when the dust all settles is another story.

 

I think that scares me more than the virus itself. When we finally re-enter the world, what will we re-enter to? Especially if this persists into the summer. 

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Champion
Champion

You wanna see something creepy, this is a page from the Dean Koontz book 'The Eyes of Darkness' written in 1981.

deankoontz.jpg


♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥Lisa♥¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪
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Level 13

Our office is officially teleworking as of yesterday. Employees can come to the office if they want. I am in the office, as are about 1/3 of the staff. We are not under any orders to close. We are highly discouraging in person client meetings. No employees will be forced to come into the office or to meet with a client in person.


ex-AllStar
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Level 1

Will you be changing the default payment date to July 15, 2020 on the tax return letter?

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Champion
Champion

I wouldn't count on them making any programming changes for this unprecedented one time situation.


♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥Lisa♥¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪
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Champion
Champion

@reb wrote:

Will you be changing the default payment date to July 15, 2020 on the tax return letter?


This question will most likely not be answered as this thread is how we are handling Covid-19 plus how we as business ppl are handling it. 

Although, I agree with Lisa's assessment. 

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Level 1

Intuit / Lacerte MUST respond to the latest changes because of COVID-19.  These changes affect all of us and clients are asking about it - I'm very surprised we have not even received an email saying they're working on the software.  Right now I don't know if I should e-file any tax returns with a balance due. Very frustrating!

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Level 15

What is there to work on?  Give a payment voucher to the client and tell them that they can hold on to it until July.  If they want to pay electronically with the return, extend the return and after it is accepted, go back in and set the payment up for July.  People are out there actually dying from the virus.  I really don't anybody is going to die over whether or not the software will allow a July payment without a little massaging.

Remember - keep 6 feet 3.28 inches away from everyone. I like that extra 3.28 inches - just to be safe.
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Level 3

We are a decent size practice with around 2000 clients.  I as the owner have always had a remote connection. I now find myself scrambling to get 2 key accountants set up. This time of year gets really  crazy for us. We would like to be able to continue. We already use a client portal for those that wish to use it. and have used esignatures. We have not seen a downturn in appointments, but there have been more wanting to drop off than usual and family members dropping off for older clients. We are pretty booked for the rest of the season so I guess time will tell. We are not on shelter in place yet but I feel like it is coming for everyone.

Michele

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The last 24 - 48 hours I have sensed a big change in the tone of voice of clients calling and the local media.  We do not have a mandatory stay at home order here as of now but during the last day I have been thinking about calling all my scheduled appointments and telling them we going to either have do this via email or just put this on hold for a bit.   

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Champion
Champion

@Jim-from-Ohio wrote:

The last 24 - 48 hours I have sensed a big change in the tone of voice of clients calling and the local media.  We do not have a mandatory stay at home order here as of now but during the last day I have been thinking about calling all my scheduled appointments and telling them we going to either have do this via email or just put this on hold for a bit.   


I made 40 calls on Friday canceling face to face for next week, have another 50-60 to call that are scheduled further out.  I think its the responsible thing to do at this point

 


♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥Lisa♥¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪
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Ohio - just issued stay at home order. 

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Champion
Champion

Illinois too.

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Level 15

Out of curiosity, for those of you that are living in states that have declared "shelter in place", how many of you are actually staying home?

Remember - keep 6 feet 3.28 inches away from everyone. I like that extra 3.28 inches - just to be safe.
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ohio's website keeps erroring out.. trying to see who is exempt or not.  they keep using the word essential. with the deadline now july 15 I wonder if the essential clause may not fit 

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even if there is a window that accounting and slide through I feel compelled to call my appointments and offer them other choices.  If the health care experts say limiting contact with others can slow the spread that is the right thing to do.  I will contact clients and ask them to 

  • email me, fax, or some way get me the documents
  • wait until we can meet in hopefully april or may
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Champion
Champion

@Jim-from-Ohio wrote:

ohio's website keeps erroring out.. trying to see who is exempt or not.  they keep using the word essential. with the deadline now july 15 I wonder if the essential clause may not fit 


That was my feeling, when the deadline with April 15th, I felt essential, now that the due date is July 15th, Im not sure if we really qualify at this point in time.

Im either at home or the office (only me and my part time receptionist-3 room office suite)...Im almost out of coffee though (and coffee is always essential in my book!), so I'll have to venture into a store at some point.


♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥Lisa♥¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪
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Level 2

PA Governor mandates closure of tax prep and bookkeeping businesses (among others) starting

at 8am, Monday, March 23rd.  I made myself available over the weekend for drop off.  I will work to 

complete returns at home for now.  Clients will be contacted via phone or email.  

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There's not much change in the way I do business.  I'm a sole practitioner based in CA but I set up my business a few years ago to go totally virtual.  I mailed out my paper tax organizers to those who would normally meet face to face and the other half, I sent the Intuit link.  Since the Coronavirus hit, I'm finding that most of the paper organizers want to upload their documents and use the Intuit link.  I also have a portal set up for my clients to send documents that are not related to taxes and I have an appointment scheduler that's automated so my clients choose the time they can meet with me through schedule once.  When I'm done with the return,  we meet on Zoom to review their tax returns and process all of my payments through QBO. 

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How does intuit link work 

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Level 3

I use lacerte and have server at the office so I have a vpn and additional firewalles and such. I can do all the updates remotely also. We have not had any problems

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@jim I'm using PTO and it comes with the service.  When I was using Lacerte, I never used it because I had to pay as an extra service.

I am able to generate my engagement letter, questions and set up the information that I want the client to upload.  Then I send an invitation to have them access the organizer.  They can use their phone or a scanner to upload the documents.  When the client is working in the file, I get notifications and can correspond with them through the link.  When I'm done with the return, I can upload it through the link as well.

There are some things that I miss in Lacerte but definitely not the price.  I have cut my tax processing costs to about 50% of what I was paying with Lacerte and PTO almost mirrors Lacerte so the learning curve is very short.

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thank you.. I use desktop PS professional.. all i would be looking for is clients to send me their documents. w2s,,  is this a good way to go or would like a dropbox or google drive be better.

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@Jim-from-Ohio  both Google Drive and Dropbox would work.  If your client's aren't familiar with those programs, it can be a little more difficult to train them on how to use them.  Since you're using ProSeries, I'm seeing that it's included in your cost so it's just a matter of sending them the link.  

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@nancy lee  Hi.. do you use link nancy? if so do you have any time today to tell me or show me how it works. thank you.

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@Jim-from-Ohio  Yes, I use Intuit Link but I believe my version may look a little different when accessing the link since it's built into your software. 

Are you able to meet on zoom and I could probably walk you through the process to get it set up.

I'm in CA so maybe around 1:00 p.m. or 2:00 p.m. we could meet.  Let me know if that works for you and if you have zoom that I could send you a link to use.

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@Nancy Lee Ma CPA 

I never used it but I just went to the zoom site and I have signed up..   

ready when you are.. not sure if you meant 1 or 2 EST or PCT. 

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@Jim-from-Ohio 

Great, you're already on your way to becoming virtual!  

1:00 p.m. PDT.  Here's the info 

Nancy Lee Ma is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Join Zoom Meeting https://zoom.us/j/ [social security number removed] - it's not letting me give you the whole hyperlink so you'll have to enter the ID number when you click to "join" meeting

Meeting ID: 170 596 600

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@Jim-from-Ohio I'm on zoom now.  Please use this ID # to log on 170-596-600

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trying to get on.. does it show me trying to enter?

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Level 3

What is Pto I haven’t heard of it

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Level 15

PTO is the Intuit online version of their professional software offerings.

Remember - keep 6 feet 3.28 inches away from everyone. I like that extra 3.28 inches - just to be safe.
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Level 3

We are using two options our website thru cpa site solutions has a client portal. We also use efile cabinet . I didn’t like intuit link when I previewed it

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