What is a remote CPA firm?
In the fall of 2022, we became a remote CPA firm. This means we no longer have physical office locations and our team works from the comfort of their home remotely. This switch was a conscious choice on our part as we work to blend a very demanding career with having a more flexible, healthy lifestyle for our team.
As CPAs and accountants across the country run screaming for the hills from our industry due to the heavy deadlines, government struggles and a critical shortage of help, we knew we had to change if we didn't want to join them. We were headed to Burnt-out-ville. We did a deep soul search and asked a lot of questions about how we could do this a better way.
Honestly, we're not all that unique in this move to remote. Modern CPA firms across the country have been doing this for years and since covid hit the vast majority of top firms are headed in this direction. The health of our team and partners was top of mind because if we're strung out, we won't be able to serve you properly.
What does this mean for you?
For one, you'll get to work with happy people! And happy people do better work and are more fun to collaborate with.
For those of you that already send us your documents without physically coming to our office there's NO change for you other than a new mailing address.
If you did come in to see us, this is where we're going to ask for your flexibility. We realize this won't be for everyone and you may decide another CPA is more your liking, we understand you may leave, no hard feelings.
As you decide which side of the fence you're on, we'd like to share conscious decision number 2 that came out of our soul search. We missed our roots. OnaWay was built on having personal relationships with folks and it made us grow.. and grow.. and GROW. As those folks I mentioned earlier ran for the hills, we realized we valued our roots more than big. So we cut back our client list, analyzed our capacity and restricted new clients coming in.
With that in mind, let's run down the changes below with some FAQs so you can paint the scene of what it'll be like to collaborate moving forward.
How do I send you my documents?
- Mail them to our PO Box. We're working on getting a special permit with the post office to supply you with a postage paid return envelope for mailing us your tax docs.
- Use your personal online portal with us to upload documents. Simply log into your portal, click File Exchange and drag and drop your docs in, click send. Our entire team is emailed whenever you send us anything.
- Email them to us, just be careful no sensitive personal information is on them, it's safer to use the portal.
How do I receive my completed tax returns?
- Electronically inside your portal. Portals include a pdf copy of your return and a folder called Action Items for your to do's, such as efile forms to sign/return, payment vouchers and quarterlies. The same instruction letter you've always gotten will be included.
- Paper copy mailed to you along with any documents you mailed us. We use tracking anytime we mail a tax return.
What about tax organizers?
No change, you'll either get it inside your portal or a paper copy based on last years preference. If you'd like to change your preference let us know.
How do meetings work?
You'll have two options for scheduling a meeting, a phone call or a Zoom web meeting.
We've implemented new software to make scheduling meetings easier and more efficient. Zoom was the preferred web meeting software vs Teams so we switched. If you select a Zoom meeting the link will automatically be included in your appointment confirmation and reminders.
To schedule a meeting, email or call our office and we'll provide you with a link to Shannon or Bill's calendar to select the day/time that works best. No more back and forth emails of the old days. This link offers two meeting options to select from, phone or Zoom web. You'll receive meeting confirmations, reminders, even text reminders if you choose. Need to reschedule? There's a link for that too.
If scheduling yourself isn't your thing, simply call our office and we'll do it with you over the phone. You'll still get the same email reminders and texts if you choose.
How do I get my docs back if I mail them to you?
We'll mail them back when we're done. We also keep a scanned copy in our records of the items we use to complete your return.
We want to bring this up ahead of time as it has to do with calling into the office. Part of analyzing what's healthier for our team was schedule flexibility. Some are early birds, some have kids they need to get off the bus, and some like to work late. This means that when you call into the office you might get our voicemail. If that happens, we will return your call within 24 hours for general administrative needs. For Shannon or Bill it may take longer depending on their commitments. Please be sure to leave messages for administrative needs with our admin team for faster turnarounds.
We asked our admin team for feedback on how they felt they could do a better job serving folks calling in and they had some interesting insight worth sharing. They said that if someone called and left a message with what they needed it allowed them time to research, reach out to another, and gather whatever was necessary ahead of time so that when they called back they could have a more complete answer. Well that's smart! We've also witnessed in the heat of tax season they put the phone down just to have it instantly ring again not even allowing them to finish the last calls needs. That's very stressful. While it may be annoying to not get someone immediately when you call, please know that we're doing this so we can provide greater quality when we call.
We know this was a mouthful and hope it paints a picture for our future together. You've probably noticed a theme of health and well-being. These days all of us experience being spread too thin and seek still waters. While we know that doesn't happen simply by sitting in a different seat in a homey surrounding. Sometimes this means saying no, or working in a fashion that might not be one size fits all. Boundaries are often not easily laid out because of their inherent win/lose scenario. We're dedicated to getting back to our roots from a vantage point of being a tad wiser.
Our hope is that folks will read this and ask themselves "hey, I want some still waters, how can I have that too?" We don't think it always means you have to pack up and walk away. Maybe you just need to sit in a homey, different seat.