How to Streamline Tax Preparation Process With Forms and Customizable Organizers

Accounting and tax firms rely on organizers to obtain information needed to facilitate their work from clients. They offer a more efficient option for streamlining client onboarding and workflow.

You don’t have to take your clients through the tedious process of filling PDF forms that need to be submitted to you or handed over to your front desk.

While custom organizers are an excellent tool for accounting professionals, many firms still rely on other form creation tools like Google Forms, Cognito, Paperform, and Typeform to obtain information from their clients. Each of these tools has its strengths and weaknesses when it comes to obtaining client data. That’s why it’s crucial to pick the right solution for your firm.

To help you get started, we’re going to look at:

  • What an organizer is and its benefits
  • Why PDF organizers are an outdated solution
  • Available tools and their pros and cons
  • Why having an organizer inside a portal is a better solution
  • Why you should go for TaxDome’s customizable organizer

What is an organizer?

An organizer is simply a set of questions created by an accounting or tax firm to help them get the answers they need from clients to facilitate their workflow. It offers firms a better and faster way to get crucial information while enabling clients to complete the organizer from the comfort of their homes at any time.

Why PDF organizers are an outdated solution

For many years, accounting firms have long used intake forms to obtain client information. Even before that, practitioners had to schedule interviews with clients to ask questions and note their answers. Then came the PDF questionnaire printouts, which clients filled out by hand and mailed or dropped off at the firm’s office. While this worked well, the extra paperwork only added to the workload needed to store, analyze and even digitize the responses.

When firms realized this inconvenience, they started shifting to online solutions like Google Forms to digitize client information. Still, it didn’t offer a complete solution as they couldn’t integrate the forms within the firm’s CRM. Clients had to rely on another platform to complete forms. That significantly affected the user experience and brand appeal.

Comparing online form building tools

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Google Forms

Google Forms enables you to create custom forms for questionnaires or surveys using pre-made themes or from scratch. You only need a Google account to get started. Accounting firms can use this online form builder to create as many fields as they want to collect the information they need from clients, collect payments, and sign contracts.

Pros

  • Free
  • Easy to use with a quick way to see results
  • Multiple templates are available for customization
  • Users can edit, suggest and add comments, ensuring easier collaboration
  • Access to the entire Google cloud ecosystem, especially for G Suite users

Cons

  • Limited branching, which only works on specific question types
  • No branding options, it doesn’t look like your firm’s official document
  • Overly simple functionality with limited customization capabilities
  • Not designed for dedicated power form building that firms need

Verdict: While Google Forms is great for creating simple questionnaires, it’s not ideal for busy accounting and tax firms who need more functionality and customization in an organizer.

Cognito

Cognito is a powerful drag-and-drop online form builder with an easy-to-use interface and the flexibility and layout you need. Accounting firms can use it to build contact forms, facilitate client onboarding, and even collect and accept client payments. It supports data encryption and offers advanced features like electronic signatures, integrations through Zapier, and multiple publishing options for creating complex forms.

Pros

  • A built-in workflow that allows submission review
  • Easy to use for all types of forms
  • Zapier integration
  • Easy sorting of questions and responses

Cons

  • Fewer repetitive email notifications
  • Limited template options for aesthetic purposes
  • Not much in analytics and reporting on data in the forms

Verdict: Cognito is excellent for creating, publishing, and managing forms that can be embedded directly into a website. You can use it for onboarding, too, but it has limited capabilities when it comes to giving your accounting firm full visibility and automation over your workflow.

Paperform

Paperform makes it easy to create an online form for any need, fast with no technical knowledge. You can insert more than just questions when obtaining information from your accounting firm clients or during onboarding - you can insert videos, pictures, and styled text anywhere on the forms.

Pros

  • A minimalist interface that’s easy to use
  • Easy to embed photos and videos in forms
  • Expanded form customization for better branding
  • Numerous form templates and layouts
  • Flexible pricing packages
  • Zapier and other integrations

Cons

  • Limited functionality with entry-level tiers
  • Need to upgrade for additional functionality and integrations
  • Embedded forms can be a bit slower
  • Learning curve to fully utilize the form builder

Verdict: Like other online form builders, Paperform is not an ideal option for accounting and tax firms looking for a more convenient and easier way to obtain information from clients. Creating the forms and sending them out each time when you’re onboarding clients can be tedious.

Typeform

If you love high aesthetics, Typeform is an excellent solution for your accounting survey form creation needs. It offers custom themes and layouts to customize the forms to match your brand.

Pros

  • Most attractive forms and surveys which boosts completion rates
  • Great balance of usability and functionality
  • Extensive library of survey templates
  • Easy to analyze high-level reporting

Cons

  • Less features options for larger firms
  • Clunky data exporting that affects usability
  • It doesn’t offer its own collaborative functionality like Google Forms
  • Lack of flexibility when customizing forms to match your brand

Verdict: Typeform is more suited for survey form creation than straightforwardly obtaining client-specific information. Although it’s beautiful, its functionalities are not a complete package of what accounting firms need to take control of their client-business interactions.

TaxDome Organizer

On the left: customizable forms for tax firms; on the right: client view via mobile app.

TaxDome Organizer helps you create fully customizable questionnaires that cover every situation that your firm may require while ensuring optimal client experience. It’s the ultimate tool for scaling client onboarding and workflow management in your firm and the perfect solution for setting up and automating your firm’s workflow.

Pros

  • Fully customizable and custom branded
  • Mobile-friendly with everything autosaved
  • Automatic reminders & client progress status
  • Embedded into CRM — no “download there and upload here”
  • Ready-to-use templates from tax professionals
  • Data encryption
  • Automated for client onboarding and workflow

Cons

  • Learning curve to fully customize the organizer (Free 1-1 onboarding sessions and product webinars available)
  • Lacks integration with various tax software
  • Conditional organizers are coming soon

Verdict: TaxDome Organizers are fully customizable, auto-saving, and digital. It enables you to create interactive questionnaires that help you gather all the information you need from your clients. You can create multiple organizers with all your important questions and ready-to-go for onboarding clients and answering FAQs. They are also great as automation in your pipelines, so they’re automatically sent to clients when needed.

Why having an organizer within a portal is a better solution

When you look at the various tools we’ve compared above, you can see the difference between using standalone tools like Typeform, Paperform, Google Forms, and Cognito for obtaining client information and a customized organizer set up within a firm’s portal. Forget having to do double work. TaxDome Organizers allow you to request your clients to provide specific information and upload documents in specified sections.

You get everything in one place and ensure clients avoid the frustrating back-and-forth feedback with your firm. Your clients can complete the organizer from wherever they are, and you don’t need an assistant to organize files as all your work is done within your TaxDome portal, ensuring a seamless client experience.

Get started with TaxDome custom organizer

If you’re looking for a reliable tool to build customizable organizers into your firm’s workflow, get started with TaxDome. Having a customizable organizer within your practice management software greatly reduces administrative time around obtaining the necessary information for different needs. That way, you can provide a high-level user experience to your clients.

TaxDome Organizers benefits:

  • Integrated document saving - Enjoy automatic saving of documents uploaded by clients with the integrated organizer within your own portal. This saves you a great deal of time and administrative work expenses.

  • Automatic reminders - TaxDome Organizer offers automatic reminders that automatically go out to clients when they don’t respond to email prompts, contracts, messages, bill payment, document request, and signing.

  • Enjoy real-time viewing of workflow progress - Everything you need to make progress on client work is in one spot. You can view the real-time progress of every process in your workflow, boosting your productivity and efficiency. Everything you need from important documents and action items for clients is at your fingertips.

  • Excellent user experience for your clients - With the capability to create many custom organizers, you can provide your clients an amazing user experience by providing questions and requests that cater to their specific accounting, tax preparation, and booking needs. You don’t have to start from scratch - start with customizable templates.