CPA FAQS – How To Manage Heavy Workload Without Affecting Quality
By Analytix Editorial Team
It’s crunch time! As you start another busy tax season, do you and your CPA partner feel the squeeze of heavy workload? If so, you aren’t alone. Accountants have to deal with long weeks, longer working hours, and the pressure of deadlines during the tax season.
According to the 2019 Post-Tax Season Firm Survey of 162 accounting firms, workload compression, particularly its impact on firm morale and quality control, is the biggest concern of CPA firms.
These working conditions can result in severe stress, and stress often leads to burnout, which threatens the performance and quality of work and, ultimately, the satisfaction of the clients. Over time, it can be devastating for your firm, causing higher staff turnover and damage to the firm’s reputation. So, how can CPAs manage heavy workload without affecting quality?
- Acquire documents well in advance – Proactively set deadlines to evaluate cut-off dates for clients to submit information. This will save both your and your client’s crucial work time and relieve your stress. Even an extra week or two gives you ample time to avoid the hassle of rushing for documents at the last minute during the tax season. The key is to regularly follow-up with your clients to ensure they submit documents to you on time. Consider creating an online document portal where clients can simply upload their documents online rather than drop printed copies at your office.
- Evaluate staff requirements – Finding and retaining qualified staff is becoming the single biggest challenge for accounting firms. Carefully assess staffing needs you may require and proactively plan your strategy to tackle the tax season. Make a rough assessment of the approximate number of tax returns that you will receive so you can gauge how the resources required to handle the tax returns of the clients. In case of insufficient resources or shortfall, rather than recruiting additional workforce, it is wise to outsource for accounting services and meet tax deadlines. Moreover, this strategy eliminates the need for in-depth training on applications, processes, and equipment since an outsourced team of CPAs and accountants arrive skilled in these areas.
- Use CPA partners to scale up workforce – It can become quite a challenge for CPA firms to balance between ensuring organized clean book in tune with latest tax laws, delivering strategic analysis to clients promptly while also venturing into new avenues to grow the CPA practice. Choosing flexible CPA partner models for end-to-end solutions offers you accuracy and reliability that you can count on. These are usually available in flexible CPA partnership models, such as referral, semi-private, or private label packaged under the CPA firm’s name, depending on your firm’s preference. This gives you access to a customized web portal and teams of experienced accounting professionals who work as an extension of your firm for fast, accurate bookkeeping and financial record preparation.
- Keep up with tax legislation – The new tax reform increases complexity in tax planning. With the IRS still working on its implementation of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TJCA), staying up-to-date can be a challenge. Further, staying on top of compliance management and amendments to tax legislation can be strenuous. Make sure that you’re keeping your software updated every month. Alternatively, you can choose to outsource client accounting services or client advisory services. They can do the heavy lifting for you when it comes to getting familiar with new tax legislations and deductions to manage heavy workload.
- Use RPA and AI – Tedious, labor-intensive and repetitive traditional accounting duties (e.g. collecting transactions, payroll, and tax form preparation) can create a hectic work environment, especially during tax season. Automation and AI can relieve the tedious work from your staff so they can allocate more time to high-value work. In fact, according to Gartner, by implementing Robotic Process a\Automation (RPA), an accounting team of 40 could save up to 25,000 hours of avoidable work. By using automation for repeatable tasks. CPA firms can streamline operations, free up capacity, increase efficiency, and even improve quality, thus keeping stress to a minimum without diluting quality.
Managing the chaos during the tax season can be exhausting and strenuous. A lot of CPAs choose to outsource their back office financial functions to save time and money and to manage heavy workloads. A trusted preferred partner of CPAs across the U.S., Analytix taps into its combined expertise in accounting and technology to offer custom tax preparation services for both small and large practices. There’s nothing better than sharing stories on how to cope with what is usually an incredibly busy four months. What has been your experience on client satisfaction during busy tax seasons?