Just as ice cream truck owners have a lot of business clustered in the summer and ski resorts tend to get all their business in the winter, accountants also face a lot of seasonality. To keep your firm afloat all year long, you have to plan around the industry’s seasonality.
On a financial level, you need to have funds ready to hire extra help during the first few months of the year as you prepare for the Canada Revenue Agency’s filing deadlines. If you get most of your revenue during those months, you also need to set aside enough money to cover your bills (and pay yourself) during slower months.
To soften the financial blow of seasonal work, spread the work out throughout the year. Taking on corporate and individual clients can help; corporate tax returns are due six months after the end of the year, while individual federal returns are due on April 30. If you help corporate clients set up fiscal years that aren’t based on the calendar year, you can stagger their due dates to spread your workload more effectively throughout the year.
Help your clients stay on top of their accounting records throughout the year. That streamlines the process at tax time and evens out the workload. Rather than just focusing on tax prep, offer your clients services they can use all year long, such as financial statement preparation, help with monthly and quarterly returns, bill paying, and advisory services. Accounting can be very seasonal, but with the right approach, you can survive the seasonality and structure your firm so that you have work throughout the year.