With several weeks of summer left to enjoy, tax season may seem a long way off. While you may be tempted to relax as long as possible before the fall deadlines, I would strongly encourage you to take an assessment of how things are running at your firm.

Now is the perfect time, when you aren’t over your head with upcoming deadlines, client requests and endless filings, to assess the situation at your office and make the changes that will pay dividends for years to come. As Benjamin Franklin, Renaissance man and world renowned epicurean once said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” so let the wiser side of your inner epicurean out this summer so you can take it easy all year long.

Here are five quick tips to ensure that your office is working seamlessly and securely before the year heats up.

1. If you haven’t done a post-tax season security assessment, do it now before deadlines approach

  • To-do items: Cover the basics. Make sure you are using anti-malware programs on all of your work machines and that sensitive client data is encrypted on all devices (including mobile devices) that you and your staff work from. Ensure that you have a program for encrypting communications and file transfers with clients throughout the year. Lock filing cabinets and shred physical copies of sensitive client files that you no longer need. Ensure that your staff is up-to-date on your office’s chosen security procedures.

2. Identify your most critical day-to-day tasks. Take some time to think through what tasks you want you and your staff to focus on this year. 

  • To-do items: Do an audit of all the work you and your staff do and prioritize it. Determine which of those items is critical to your business and which ones are not.

3. Automate as many non-critical business functions as possible

  • To-do list: If mailing takes a significant amount of time, adopt a secure digital means of sharing critical files with clients. If your staff still spends a lot of time manually filing paperwork, go digital and reap the benefits for years.

4. If in need of new software, look for programs that work with your work-critical software

  • To-do items: When adopting new technology, make sure that compatibility with these workflow critical programs is something you carefully consider.

5. Get ahead of the curve

  • To-do list: It’s time to look into tools that will help you not just work better, but work the way you want to. If spending more time with the family or at the vacation home is a priority, look into tools that will help you work remotely. If work shifting is something your staff has been requesting, look into tools that will help them work efficiently while out of the office so you can keep them around. Consider adopting software that will help you work shift from anywhere in the world so you can go from just working to working the way you want to.

Grady Slane is product manager at Citrix

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