Advice & Best PracticeFeatures

7 ways to stay ahead of the 2025 Self Assessment season

On behalf of Bright

Tax season may be a while away yet, but it’s never far from our minds.  It’s always looming in the background, and accountants are perpetually caught in a balancing act. On one hand, there’s the immediate demand of current clients and on the other, the need to get ahead of next year’s Self Assessment season. Delaying tax prep can lead to a slew of issues, from stressed-out clients to potentially missed deadlines. However, preparing too soon can come at the expense of current work. 

Navigating the waters of balance, proactivity, and foresight is just part of the job. To alleviate pressure and ensure a seamless transition into the next Self Assessment season, here are seven actionable steps for accountants to implement now.

1. Craft a digital communication plan

The key to smooth client engagement is clear and consistent communication, and there’s no better way to achieve this than through a robust digital communication strategy. This plan should outline the frequency and method of regular updates and reminders, as well as any changes in tax laws that might affect clients. 

To begin, consider creating an email campaign centred around Self Assessment deadlines, tax tips, and service offerings. Furthermore, incorporate a weekly tax update on social media to keep your firm at the top of clients’ minds. Finally, explore digital platforms for instant messaging and chatbots to quickly address any client queries.

2. Leverage tax software

Software isn’t just a convenience—it’s a necessity for efficient tax management. By investing in reliable tax software, accountants can streamline data entry, automate calculations, and reduce the risk of human error. During the quiet periods between tax seasons, be sure to explore new software solutions that offer improved features or compatibility. Bright is offering free demos of their cloud Self Assessment software, BrightTax. With BrightTax you can experience a more productive tax season with streamlined automation, seamless integrations, and direct HMRC submissions. Book your demo today.

In addition, take the time to train your team on how to use these tools effectively. This might include attending webinars or engaging with software support to ensure you’re leveraging technology to its fullest potential.

3. Schedule mid-year check-ins

Waiting until the end of the year to engage with clients is a recipe for chaos. Implement a series of mid-year check-ins to review their financial position, address any ongoing concerns, and make necessary adjustments well in advance. 

Suggested topics for these meetings include year-to-date earnings, potential investments or expenses, and any significant life events that could impact taxes. These proactive discussions can help clients plan ahead, reduce tax liabilities, and ensure you have the most up-to-date information for accurate filings.

4. Clarify expectations and deadlines

Setting clear expectations and deadlines early on can prevent last-minute scrambles. Develop a communication pack for your clients that outlines all the information you’ll need, the process for providing it, and firm cut-off dates for submissions. 

Make sure to communicate these deadlines widely and repeatedly. You might use visual aids like infographics or posters in your office, follow up with emails, and verbally remind clients during their check-ins. Clarity and repetition are crucial to ensure this information sticks. 

You can also get practice management software to chase up clients’ records for you, such as with Bright’s practice management solution, BrightManager. Just choose one of our pre-made templates (or write up your own), pick the dates you want to send them out (prior to the deadline of course), and the system will do it for you. If clients don’t provide all the info you need, no worries. Just let the system know what you’re missing and it’ll chase them up, book your free demo to learn more.

5. Monitor legislative changes

Tax laws are not static; they’re subject to frequent updates and amendments. Stay vigilant throughout the year, monitoring legislative changes and their potential impact on your clients’ financial situations. 

Subscribe to reputable tax news sources, and attend seminars or webinars that focus on the latest legal developments. This knowledge will not only keep you ahead, but also allow you to advise your clients on proactive measures they can take to mitigate potential tax increases or to capitalise on new opportunities.

6. Organise year-round documentation

Establish an organised system for documentation that tracks client information throughout the year. This could include digital folder structures, spreadsheets, or software specifically designed for this purpose. 

Taking the time to categorise documents into easily navigable systems will save countless hours during the self-assessment rush. Ensure your team is on board with maintaining these records and that they’re accessible to all necessary parties, reducing bottlenecks when information is required.

7. Strategically expand your network

A robust professional network can be your firm’s greatest asset. Connect with fellow accountants, financial advisors, and legal professionals who can offer referrals, advice, or collaborate on complex client cases. 

This step requires initiative and maintenance. Attend industry events, join associations, and actively participate in online forums. Cultivating these relationships can provide support and insights that may not only be beneficial now but also pave the way for growth and new opportunities in the future.

By integrating these proactive measures into your year-round operation, next year’s Self Assessment season will be met with confidence and control, rather than chaos. Remember, preparation is not just about staying busy; it’s about being efficient, informed, and ready to exceed your clients’ expectations. In the business of finance, being a step ahead is often the difference between a good accountant and an outstanding one.

To learn more about how Bright’s products, BrightTax and BrightManager, can help you stay one step ahead of the next tax season, book your free demo today.

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