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accountants and bookkeepers

Tax Season for Accountants

Tax season is right around the corner. For many accountants, this can be an exciting yet challenging time of year.

Increased demand, overburdened staff and ongoing recruitment challenges are just a few of the many hurdles you may face during the busy months of April to June. However, with proper planning and the right tools, you can ensure you and your firm is ready to take on the tax season and come out successful. 

In this article, we’ll look at how taking a proactive approach to managing clients, processes and people planning can make the tax season a success for you

Tips for this year's tax season

Tax season challenges

As an accountant, you've undoubtedly experienced the rapid increase in demand in the lead-up to the tax season. While it can be one of the most profitable periods, it can also be stressful. If not managed properly, you could see a decrease in engagement, and satisfaction and increased turnover, stress and burnout for anyone working for you.

Increased demand

For accountants and bookkeepers, April to August is the busiest time of year, but that doesn’t mean your normal work stops. Your clients will still expect you to complete their profit and loss statements, payroll, balance sheets, bookkeeping, audits and financial documents on time.

Manage customer expectations during tax season

Tax season puts accountants in the spotlight and balancing standard client requests with tax-related tasks can be demanding. If you’re unprepared for the rush, you may miss deadlines, lose clients or see the quality of your team’s work decline.

One way tip to help manage the demands of the tax season workloads is scheduling client appointments well in advance. It will ensure your team doesn’t become overwhelmed, you can manage workloads properly, and customers receive the care and attention they expect.

Proactively managing your team resources is also key. We suggest the following to determine the required capacity to manage workloads without risking burnout:

  • Making sure you’ve worked through your capacity planning process
  • Looking at your expected returns workload with current and prospective clients
  • Assess your team BAU workload, along with anything affecting your team’s capacity like annual leave

Overburdened staff

If you’re one of the many accountants struggling to recruit experienced professionals, you’re not alone. The industry has been facing a talent crunch for almost two years now. Tax season’s usual surge in demand may increase profits, but at what cost?

Overwhelming workloads during tax season could have an impact on your team, including: 

  • Anxiety, depression or other mental health challenges exacerbated
  • Reduced productivity and engagement
  • Lower employee satisfaction and retention
  • Higher turnover

Managing your team’s needs with flexible, structured workloads will ensure your accounting firm’s success through the tax season and the rest of the year. Providing them with the tools they need to work anytime, anywhere and ensuring you have enough staff to handle incoming work will also be crucial to your success.

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Preparing for the tax season

There are several reasons to ensure your tax season preparations are well underway, including:

  1. Forecast for demand - Tax season’s soaring demand comes around every year. Understanding how it impacts your team and profitability is a must. Ensure you’ve recruited enough people in advance of the season and that they are all trained properly. This will ease workload pressures and ensure clients are serviced adequately.
  2. Meeting deadlines - While tax season is busy for all accountants and bookkeepers, ensuring all tax-related documents are prepared, reviewed and submitted before the deadline is vital. Proactively communicating with clients to set expectations on when they will supply their information can help.
  3. Accurate and timely filing - As an accountant, you play a big role in ensuring your clients’ taxes are filed accurately and on time. Incorrect or late filing can lead to additional taxes, interest and penalties, which can be costly for clients.
  4. Maintaining compliance - Tax laws and regulations are constantly changing, and you as an accountant must stay up-to-date with these changes and ensure all clients comply with applicable tax laws. Leaving planning to the last minute risks things being missed in the rush.

With the following preparation tips, you can ensure you’re ticking all the boxes, increasing billable hours, meeting clients’ needs and reducing the burden on your team. 

Training for the tax season

Training your team is essential for a successful tax season. While it's important to be updated on the latest tax laws and legislation, training your team on internal processes and the tools they'll use during tax season is equally vital.

The QuickBooks’ website’s learning and support section offers a range of resources that can help advisors stay up-to-date and ensure the team is properly trained, including:

Productivity and flexibility for the tax season

Moving to the cloud or making a digital transformation has enabled accountants to take advantage of increased billable hours, decreased staff stress and modernisation. Using cloud-based infrastructure and accounting platforms like QuickBooks supports tax season in several ways, including: 

  • Accessibility - Access data anytime, anywhere, as long as you have an internet connection. It means teams can work remotely, easily collaborate and access data on the go.
  • Automation - Reduced manual data entry time frees up your team’s time to deal with busier periods like tax season.
  • Integration - Cloud-based platforms can integrate with other software and platforms, such as CRM, project management and payment processing tools. It means data can flow seamlessly between different systems, reducing the time and effort required to enter data manually.
  • Real-time data - Get real-time updates on clients’ financial data making it easier to quickly spot issues, make adjustments and provide advice in real-time instead of waiting for monthly or quarterly updates.
  • Security and backups - Cloud-based platforms like QuickBooks offer secure backups and disaster recovery options, ensuring data is safe and restored in case of disaster or cyberattack.

Read more: Online Services for Tax Agents

Solving recruitment challenges

The global labour and skill shortage continues to wreak havoc with Australian accounting and bookkeeping firms. If you’re struggling to recruit and retain talented, experienced professionals, there is a solution. 

Many Australian tax firms have adopted an outsourcing business model. Working with a trusted outsourcing provider, such as Cloudstaff can help easily solve recruitment challenges by:

  • Providing access to a large, global talent pool of experienced, educated professionals
  • Enabling cost-effective recruitment - allowing for an increase in billable hours with lower overheads
  • Improving efficiency - Lowering stress levels while freeing up time and resources for your in-house team

Empower your EOFY with QuickBooks

Intuit QuickBooks is powerful cloud-based accounting software that will empower your team during Australia’s upcoming tax season. By automating many time-consuming, repetitive tasks, your team can focus on what it does best - working with clients. And since it’s cloud-based, your team and clients can work in harmony, no matter where they are located.

Sign up for our latest webinar or contact our team to find out how QuickBooks can help ease the burden of tax season demand on your firm.

This article was written in partnership with CloudStaff. Cloudstaff is a premium outsourcing provider with over 6,000 staff placed with small to medium-sized businesses across the globe. The organisation offers flexible and tailored workforce solutions to clients who want to grow their businesses while managing staff costs. 

More than just back-office support, Cloudstaff provides high-end professionals such as Accountants, Bookkeepers, and Payroll Processors, to name a few. Cloudstaff is proud to support over 500 accounting firms in their journey towards success by providing full-time offshore professionals who are qualified in accounting.

Cloudstaff breaks down barriers of distance by making remote staff management easy and convenient thanks to their proprietary software and tools designed to help clients make the most of their offshore teams. Find out more about Cloudstaff on their website.

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