30,000Pages of printouts eliminated during tax season
1,100Client tax returns filed electronically during COVID
1Hour saved per employee per day during tax season
KBH Chartered Professional Accountants has spent over 40 years providing accounting, tax, and business advisory services with the goal of Helping People Succeed. The firm recently faced the challenge of managing personal tax season during the COVID pandemic. Rather than relying on face-to-face meetings and wet signatures, KBH needed to complete the tax filing process digitally on a solution that would be intuitive enough for its many non-technical clients to use. The firm implemented DocuSign eSignature to ensure a secure, efficient tax filing process that would enable it to meet clients’ needs while observing pandemic safety regulations.
Answering restrictions with innovation
Although much of the business world has been using e-signatures for years, the accounting sector tends to move more slowly and take fewer risks. But KBH Chartered
Professional Accountants prides itself on innovation. When the COVID pandemic hit and threatened to shut down KBH Chartered Accountants’ operations, the firm began investigating e-signature solutions.
KBH considered implementing Doc.It but ultimately chose DocuSign eSignature because of its robust security features and the fact that many employees had used the platform. Implementing was as simple as updating links on KBH’s website and creating templates and how-to instructions for users. The firm went live about one month after purchase.
KBH’s staff quickly embraced the system. During the 2020 tax season, 19 employees opened DocuSign accounts and 14 used the system to send forms. “Even for people with no technical background, it was a smooth transition,” reports Elizabeth Garbuzov, Marketing Coordinator, KBH. “We really didn’t have any complaints or major problems.”
Less paperwork, less overtime, more satisfaction
Although KBH staff were eager to adopt DocuSign, the question remained: would clients—many of whom were technology-averse—also embrace the platform? The DocuSign platform’s flexibility enabled KBH to offer its clients several options. Some were already accustomed to providing e-signatures on the Doc.It platform, which integrates with DocuSign. Others felt more comfortable giving a wet signature at the end of the process but appreciated knowing that their tax documents would immediately be stored in a secure digital location. All in all, about 1,100 KBH clients signed their tax forms on DocuSign during COVID lockdown.
Throughout tax season, KBH avoided printing 30,000 pages of paper. Along with the obvious cost savings came significant time savings for KBH staff.
“We normally spend lots of time chasing down clients and reminding them to submit their signed documents before the deadline,” Garbuzov explains. “There’s also the time it takes to print, distribute, sign, scan, and send paperwork. Saving even five minutes per client freed up at least an hour per staff member per day. Thanks to DocuSign, we finished everyone’s tax returns on time without working crazy overtime, which is unheard of in our business during that time of year.”
The “new normal”: efficient digital processes
Even as pandemic restrictions lift in many parts of the world, KBH Chartered Professional Accountants can’t envision returning to the way they used to handle tax returns. The firm has embraced the “new normal” of a highly efficient digital process—and its clients are fully on board.
“Considering how much easier and more efficient tax filing is for our clients now, I don’t see any reason to go back,” explains Garbuzov. “It goes way beyond e-signatures. Even if there’s a need to do a video meeting with a client, we can put their return up on screen and discuss it. They can then sign it and let us send it off right there, so there’s no question about whether we met a filing deadline. We expect an even higher adoption rate next year—and greater benefits from DocuSign each tax season. We are also expecting to start using it more and more for our corporate clients to sign a number of documents.”