Nov 29 2023 /

Polaris Tax & Accounting: post-acquisition expansion from a customer base of 50 to 1,500+

Polaris Tax & Accounting: post-acquisition expansion from a customer base of 50 to 1,500+

Meet Joseph Serrone, president and managing partner of Polaris Tax & Accounting, a virtual accounting firm based in Davenport, FL. Polaris’s team of 17 serves both individuals and businesses across the US with a broad range of financial services, including: 

  • Accounting and bookkeeping
  • Advisory and consulting
  • Business entity setup
  • CFO services
  • Company maintenance
  • Internal controls
  • Payroll & HR services
  • Tax preparation and planning

Recently, Joseph and his team announced an exciting new acquisition of a brick-and-mortar business near Fort Lauderdale, which will expand their client base from 50 to more than 1,500. 

As a rapidly growing firm, it was important for Polaris to achieve its expansion milestones while improving existing processes, ensuring a seamless workflow and providing a superior client experience. 

We sat down with Joseph to explore why TaxDome was the perfect platform to help them achieve those goals. 

The challenge

Like other mid-sized and large firms, Polaris had some specific challenges to overcome, including: 

Keeping everyone in their team aligned and in the loop

For Polaris’s management team, understanding who was working on what was a huge challenge — especially with an increasing number of clients to onboard and serve. 

At the same time, they needed a way of simplifying their team’s work, ensuring that everyone has access to the right accounts and tasks. 

Increasing organizational efficiency while scaling their client base

With the client base expanding to more than 1,500, Polaris’s 17-person team needed to become more efficient and organized to handle the increased demand. 

Improving organizational efficiency is a major challenge for mid-sized and large firms. The more people involved in any workflow, the more emphasis should be placed on effective collaboration. Polaris needed a system that would enable its employees to scale and organize communication both internally and externally.

An overly complicated tech stack

The Polaris team was using a combination of different software, including Asana for task management, DocuSign for e-signatures, CPACharge for payments and Encyro for document storage. 

While these are all great as standalone solutions for particular issues, combining multiple different tools naturally results in unnecessary levels of complexity, making it difficult to maintain oversight of everything. As Joseph explained it:

“It’s really easy to lose track of things, especially when you have tax returns going on, a lot of pieces of documents, a lot of back-and-forth emails.”

The solution

Polaris made the switch to TaxDome in July 2022. Since then, the team has been able to overcome these challenges by implementing TaxDome for practice management. As a result, Polaris has achieved:

  • Superior team organization: Polaris’s management team can now assign work and control access rights at a granular level
  • Automated workflows: Polaris has fully embraced the power of workflow automation, allowing the team to collaborate and communicate effectively at scale
  • A unified accounting tech stack: switching to TaxDome has allowed Polaris to replace multiple disparate tools with a single unified platform

Let’s take a deeper dive into how TaxDome helped make these outcomes possible.

Superior workflow visibility and team collaboration

TaxDome has also made it easier for Joseph to manage his team’s workflow, providing him and the rest of the management team with complete visibility into who’s working on what, and the progress team members are making towards job completion. 

“I like the ability to have tasks assigned to different team members — the ability for me or anyone in management to see which tasks are currently being done, which jobs are in what pipelines and where exactly they are at that particular moment.”

One of the issues accounting firms have when onboarding new accountants is ensuring that they have access only to the accounts they are working on, but not more. Joseph was able to solve this issue using TaxDome’s granular access controls.  

“I also enjoy being able to granularly assign clients to team members. So if we onboard team members that don’t need to see a certain subset of clients, we can just assign them to the right people. It makes team management a lot easier because we can segment the work to different team members that only need to see particular pipelines, jobs or clients.”

Further reading: find out how TaxDome helped this tax firm manager gain complete visibility into her team’s workload in The Tax Man To You experience: scaling a sales tax business 2x.

The power of automated workflows

With Polaris’s recent acquisition seeing their client base grow from 50 to over 1,500 virtually overnight, their processes needed to be as efficient and scalable as possible. The Polaris team saw the huge value that TaxDome’s automated workflows could unlock for their firm and jumped straight in. 

“One of the things that we did early on with the help of a TaxDome specialist was going through the setup of pipelines, especially for accounting and taxes. With the acquisition, we envision that we’ll need to implement a lot more pipelines, but we really spent some time making sure we had that pipeline done correctly.”

Now, all those repetitive manual tasks such as client communication and document sending happen automatically. This means the Polaris team can handle complex accounting processes with minimal manual effort — and serve a rapidly growing client base without having to expand its team. 

Once a certain task or action has been completed, the client’s job automatically moves into the next stage of the pipeline, triggering the next round of automations. 

“When we add a client on a tax return, they automatically get a copy of the engagement letter to sign. Once they sign it, they move to the next stage, and they’re informed by email that we’re working on their return. Once that’s completed, they move on to the next stage, to let them know that the tax return has been reviewed.” 

Not only do automated workflows save accountants time, but they also ensure that clients are kept in the loop at all times. And a better client experience means happier, more loyal clients — and a more successful business. This is particularly powerful for mid-sized and large firms, which can now provide personalized client communications across large customer bases with no extra effort.

“At all stages, our clients have a pulse on exactly what’s going on with their return, which stops them from having to call or email saying, ‘Hey, I haven’t heard from you, what’s going on?”

Further reading: See how TaxDome’s workflow automations helped this solopreneur scale his tax business to 1,000+ clients: Acade Tax Services: Solo Practice Growing to 1,000+ Clients with the Help of TaxDome.

A unified accounting tech stack

Since switching to TaxDome, Joseph and the Polaris team have been able to streamline their accounting tech stack. They now have a single system of record for all accounting workflows, tasks, documents and client communications. This has simplified access to information, making the team more efficient and organized. 

“We don’t have to worry about having external drives for the data. We don’t have to worry about having a digital signature software provider. It just makes it easier to have everything in one single platform, to be able with one click to know if a client has signed the contract or signed the document, and then move that person to the next stages of the process.”

Further reading: see how TaxDome helped this accounting firm get more organized and efficient in The Carter Cook CPAs experience: building a new age accounting firm.

The results

Most importantly, as a result of switching to TaxDome, the founders of Polaris Tax & Accounting now have more time to focus on growth.

Embracing a unified system for multiple accounting processes has simplified the way the Polaris team works — in a cost-effective way, nonetheless. What’s more, the management team can now oversee departments, assignments and jobs and control access rights at a granular level.

At the same time, TaxDome’s automated workflows have enabled Polaris to build truly scalable processes and expand their client base without creating an unmanageable spike in work. 

Lastly, automated workflows ensure a superior client experience. There are fewer questions to answer, and client communication is now mostly automated. As a result, the Polaris team has more time to focus on doing what they do best — delivering the best possible service for all of their clients.

Nicholas Edwards

As a content writer for TaxDome, Nicholas helps communicate how technology can transform and enhance everyday accounting processes. He enjoys simplifying complex ideas and writing content that’s accessible and useful.

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