USA staying on top of clients - how do you do it?

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how is everyone staying on top of reminding clients/customers to send in required docs?

spending time chasing clients and rushing to submit by X deadline is not fun

asking because working on a free automated solution and would love your POV
 

BIG E

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At the beginning of January I send them all a cover letter explaining it is now tax time, these are the documents that will be arriving in the mail, look over last year's return to check you've got everything, get the stuff to me by XXXXX. Extensions are only extensions of time to file the return, but the money due is due by April 15 regardless and there's interest on balances due.
Yes, every year there are a couple of stragglers.
 
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got it. helpful.

how do you/others chase stragglers? from speaking with others - my understanding is that there is a bunch of chasing around. can't control others and yet, tax deadlines do not move

full transparency: asking to understand if its a real pain or not
 
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Seems to me you've got to clearly and regularly outline the consequences, ie, "turn in by x day=this price, after that, you pay rush charge, and if you miss deadline, well, that's going to cost you buddy!" In this scenario, something like a countdown might work, or a series of emails removing the barrier (ie they're too overwhelmed so they don't even do it)...so like "in 10 minutes a day, you can probably get your tax stuff ready to send to me"

I suppose the fear would be if you're too harsh they might go to another tax preparer.

It has been proven by the medical community that appointment reminders really do work. Think of it like raising a child, sometimes they need a little guidance.
 

BIG E

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Seems to me you've got to clearly and regularly outline the consequences, ie, "turn in by x day=this price, after that, you pay rush charge, and if you miss deadline, well, that's going to cost you buddy!" In this scenario, something like a countdown might work, or a series of emails removing the barrier (ie they're too overwhelmed so they don't even do it)...so like "in 10 minutes a day, you can probably get your tax stuff ready to send to me"

I suppose the fear would be if you're too harsh they might go to another tax preparer.

It has been proven by the medical community that appointment reminders really do work. Think of it like raising a child, sometimes they need a little guidance.
That is the most assinine policy I've ever heard in this profession. I first heard it over 30 years ago and objected vehemently then too.
Can you (or the client) predict when they will receive the necessary financial information they need for you to perform your services diligently from year to year? Or if COVID type conditions will exist to prevent sticking to a schedule? Then having to reschedule an entire office of prescheduled appointments.
I have let the clients (who come in for their needed services) schedule their needed appointments and really never had a real problem because they would normally come in the same sequence year after year. Yes- there are exceptions that you have to chase - but the bulk of them were dependable to be consistent. And the ones who come in the last week who have the most monstrous problems - I advise them ahead of time in my initial cover letter sent in early January that extensions would most likely be needed, but balance dues have to be paid on time. No plan is foolproof.
 
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That is the most assinine policy I've ever heard in this profession. I first heard it over 30 years ago and objected vehemently then too.
Can you (or the client) predict when they will receive the necessary financial information they need for you to perform your services diligently from year to year? Or if COVID type conditions will exist to prevent sticking to a schedule? Then having to reschedule an entire office of prescheduled appointments.
I have let the clients (who come in for their needed services) schedule their needed appointments and really never had a real problem because they would normally come in the same sequence year after year. Yes- there are exceptions that you have to chase - but the bulk of them were dependable to be consistent. And the ones who come in the last week who have the most monstrous problems - I advise them ahead of time in my initial cover letter sent in early January that extensions would most likely be needed, but balance dues have to be paid on time. No plan is foolproof.
Thanks for your feedback on my attempt to offer a more collaborative approach to client/vendor relations.

I must have misunderstood the question. I believe they were asking for ways to deal with stragglers, and yes, being clear at the outset is a great way to ensure documents are delivered by the required deadline, and yes, stragglers are always going to straggle (if that is even a verb) and so yes, of course, there will be consequences for them.

I support the idea of an automated solution to reel stragglers in as it seems to offer a bit of ease.
 

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