Up Against the Deadline: How Financial Services Providers Can Make Filing Taxes Easier

As many as one in four Americans will wait until the bitter end to file their tax return. With the filing deadline looming and a glut of returns in the queue, tax preparers across the country will be slogging away around the clock right up until April 15th to push through those last minute returns.

One of the most cumbersome aspects of the tax preparation process is the back-and-forth between the tax preparer and filer – tracking down and compiling W2s, 1099s, investment account year-end statements and deduction receipts is a tedious and exasperating exercise. And then there are the questions and clarifications about the missing documents and numbers.

If you’re a last-minute tax filer, you’ve dodged the inevitable for a reason. And frequently that reason is that you’re avoiding pulling it all together. So, when your tax provider calls or emails you with questions, it’s anxiety provoking.

If there’s a missing document and you’ve waited until the last minute, how are you going to get your hands on what you need in time to meet the deadline?

If you’re a financial services provider, you’re likely inundated with requests for copies of statements and tax documents at this time of year. You can count on customers procrastinating and losing important documentation, and you can also count on them to realize it at the last possible minute.

So what do you do when a customer calls your support line to request a copy mere days – or hours – before they need it?

Because of the confidential nature of the information contained within financial statements, financial services providers must be extremely cautious about how they disseminate sensitive documents to their customers. And, to ensure security, it typically takes a few business days to successfully deliver a tax document to a customer.

However, if the deadline is closing in and your customers need their documents to complete and file their returns, they can’t wait days. And if you tell them that there’s no other option, they’re not going to be happy. How can financial service providers safely deliver these documents to customers quickly?

Through secure document delivery via email.

If your customers need their documents immediately, you can eliminate the waiting, hassle and expense associated with traditional post while preserving customer security and managing liability through secure document delivery via email. And, if you can separate and encrypt the content associated with the email – the attachment – from the email message itself, you make it easy for your customers to safely access the information they need.

It’s about supplying your customers with the information and documentation that they need precisely when they need it. This not only preserves the quality of the customer experience but also eliminates the expense and hassle associated with delivering these materials via post. Essentially, it’s a win-win all around.

What Financial Services Do Credit Unions Offer?

If you’re looking for financial services, you may want to consider checking out what your credit union has to offer. Many credit unions today offer more than just a checking and savings account, they’ve expanded into upgraded financial services tailored to meet many needs.

Credit unions are cooperative banking and financial companies. They are usually non-profit and cater to a particular group of people that work or live in the same place, for example. Credit unions are owned by the accountholders, who also participate in the management and direction of the company.

Today, credit unions offer more than just checking and savings accounts, although these low-cost basic accounts are the reason most people join. Most credit union savings accounts pay slightly more than their counterparts at for-profit banking institutions. Credit union checking accounts usually carry less restrictive requirements and lower fees than those at banks.

Credit unions have expanded into the realm of financial services as well. Most offer loans for a variety of needs, including personal loans, automobile loans and mortgage loans. Interest rates are usually a bit lower than those at other commercial lenders, and sometimes their qualification requirements are easier to meet. Before shopping for a automobile, boat, motorcycle or home improvements, you may want to consider talking to your credit union. Shopping with a pre-approved, lower rate loan from your credit union increases your bargaining power and your buying power. Many credit unions can also write student loans and signature loans.

In addition to loans, many credit unions offer additional financial services. These include dividend bearing checking accounts, which usually carry no fees and pay better interest than most bank’s savings accounts, and higher rate certificates of deposit. Most now offer low or no-fee access to automated teller machines and debit cards that can be used almost anywhere. Credit cards are also available at most credit unions, with discounted fees and more reasonable interest rates making them more attractive than national offerings.

Other financial services that you can expect to find at your credit union include stock brokerage services, mutual funds and personal financial planning. Some are even offering individual retirement accounts and insurance coverage. Of course, choosing someone to help with your financial planning is an important decision, but consider the helpful folks at the credit union when you are investigating your options. You may find that not only are their fees lower, but they offer many of the same types of products as other financial planners.

Credit unions offer many financial services today, and there is one out there for almost anyone. Check your local phone directory or online and you’ll most likely find one that you’ll qualify for. Since today’s credit unions are federally insured up to $100,000 by the National Credit Union Administration, your deposits are safe. When you start looking for financial services, consider your credit union as well. You’ll be surprised at what they have to offer today.

Trusting Your Financial Services Provider

There are financial services providers and there are Financial Services Providers, with a major difference between the two. They both provide services, but the major difference lies in the quality of the services that they provide. The first are some providers that are only in business to get as much money form their clients as possible, while the other type are in business to give as much benefit to their clients as possible.

There are some examples of both type in every aspect of financial services, but the problem is determining which type is which before you run into problems. One of the most important things to check on is whether they work with the FSA or not since the regulatory body is a good indicator of a financial services providers’ standing in the industry.

Whenever you look for a service provider, financial or otherwise, you need to be sure that you do proper investigation in to the different providers who work in that area. Before you take a final decision regarding your money you also need to analyse the company and check its track record. If you can organise it, talking to a previous client might give you a good idea of how they operate. The more open a company is about how they operate the easier it is to build up a good level of trust.

One of the most interesting ways to build that trust was seen on the National Guarantee website where they have established a financial Journal. This financial journal is a step against the flood of business that are setting up huge adverts with unfeasibly low interest rates on their loans without giving you any details about how they really do business. The journal contains accounts from mortgage advisors at National Guarantee about different cases that they have handled before.

The interesting thing is the details that they share show that the cases are real, not just made up to generate false trust. I’ve had a look at them and I’m surprised by the amount of honesty in them. One of the cases even mentions them referring a potential client back to their current lender instead of just jumping at the business. They can be a bit of a surprise in an industry where most companies go to huge lengths to obscure the least little detail from potential clients.