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Navigating Tax Season Challenges: Strategies for Accounting Firms

Sharissa Barnett Apr 19, 2024 11:09:59 AM
Workload management for accounting firms

Accounting firms face a myriad of challenges, especially during the tax season. They have to deal with the complexities of tax laws, meticulous record-keeping to avoid errors, and the growing staffing challenges in the industry. What makes a bad situation even worse is that more accountants are about to retire, and fewer students are choosing accounting as a profession. 

These challenges have made the tax season for most accounting firms crunch time. They have to prioritize workload management and seasonal hiring to meet their clients' demands. 

To help ease the burden, here are strategies that offer staffing solutions and ways to manage workload during the tax season.

Prepare Early for the Tax Season

The accounting industry has peak seasons when accountants are busy gathering documents and filing tax returns. If you don't prepare early, the peak seasons can be hectic, and you might end up making lots of errors. 

Early preparation is not what you do at a particular time once a year. It's a year-round process that helps with the workload management process. 

You can start by encouraging clients to keep proper financial records at the beginning of the year to ensure you get the right information on time. That way, you'll avoid the last-minute rush of trying to add figures or look for receipts just a few days or minutes before the deadline. 

It also helps to gather documents early before the tax season arrives. These documents include:

  • Bank statements. 
  • W-2 information.
  • Investment records.
  • 1099 information.

Having previous tax return records nearby is another strategy that can help you compare data and file the correct information. 

To familiarize yourself with any tax information that may have changed, you can visit the IRS website and comply with the laws. 

Choose Season Hiring to Reduce Workload

With everything that accountants need to do during the tax season, it's highly likely that most accounting firms and accounting departments will experience staff shortages. Seasonal hiring can get you temporary staff that will help with work management, which is critical in filing your tax returns on time and avoiding penalties. 

The seasonal accounting staff can help prepare your tax forms, offer tax filing advice, and ensure you comply with the tax laws. 

It's also important to clarify their duties and responsibilities in the job description so that they can perform them optimally. Besides, a detailed job description attracts the right professionals. It enables you to gather the correct work performance metrics to measure efficiency. 

When you get the right staff the first time, you don't waste time and money onboarding people who cannot do what you expect them to do.

Training and Development of Staff

staffing challenges at accounting firmConsider inviting experts to offer specialized training to your staff to enhance their expertise. Training and developing your staff helps them understand tax filing best practices and tax laws. They also get to learn innovative technology trends in the industry that enable them to optimize productivity, which in turn boosts employee morale and helps you retain top talent.

Investing in the training and development of your staff in preparation for the tax season will give you the best returns. A well-trained staff has the right knowledge and expertise to get the job done correctly and on time, which eliminates stress and speeds up tax refunds. 

Timely tax returns also put organizations in a good position to quickly get loans from lending institutions like banks. Organizations that get such benefits from your excellent services will always recommend you to other clients.

Offer Remote Work Options

Professionals like CPAs and auditors usually buckle themselves up for a tiresome tax season because of the workload management that lies ahead. Sometimes, they have to deal with unexpected work. When the unexpected happens, accounting firms will need to take immediate action to ensure they offer their clients the best services. 

For example, a CPA firm that only handles individual tax returns can get a client request to do corporate tax returns. Hiring an expert for this one task can be expensive. The best option is to choose a remote worker. That means the CPA firm will not have to buy a desk, computer, or any other resources for an in-house staff because they've chosen remote work options. 

Additionally, you can access the work of the remote accounting expert anytime, anywhere, including on a mobile phone, using cloud computing software. These are software that keep your accounting information safe and work together with other accounting platforms like QuickBooks. You'll also be able to share information with multiple users.

Boost Employee Morale

The tax return season is usually not an easy one for any accountant. From dealing with lots of pressure from clients to ensuring your performance metrics are good. 

The season can be draining and overwhelming, making your employees unproductive and unfocused. That's where you introduce these employee morale boosters to improve performance.

Encourage a Good Working Posture 

Sometimes, accountants have to work long hours to beat deadlines and meet clients' expectations. The last thing they need to deal with is back aches and pains from sitting long hours on chairs, which are hurting them. 

Installing ergonomic furniture like adjustable desks and comfortable chairs can make working long hours more bearable. Furthermore, a proper sitting position increases concentration and productivity. It also ensures you won't have your top employees asking for sick off to treat injuries, which adds to the already existing staffing challenges.

Avoid Many Meetings

Meetings are important, but some of them may be unnecessary, especially when you're dealing with a huge workload and staffing challenges. Check to see that you only meet when it's necessary, and keep the meetings concise and to the point. 

Meetings can be productivity killers, so evaluate them and do the following.

  • Ensure the meetings last for not more than 15 minutes.
  • Prepare the agenda early and invite only the people affected by it.
  • Ask participants to switch off their phones to avoid distractions.

Give Praises and Perform Regular Check-ins

Regularly checking in with your employees paves the way for open communication and fosters a culture of transparency, which makes staff feel valued. It also ensures there are clear expectations and feedback, which is critical in retaining your best team, managing workloads, and reducing staffing challenges. 

Check-ins can also go well with giving praises. But you should know that while it's advisable to give praise when an employee performs exceptionally well, how you do it also matters. 

Some people may feel great when you praise them publicly whenever they do something great, like get a new client or meet a deadline. Others prefer one-on-one check-ins and private praises. 

Performing regular check-ins and praises the right way boosts employee morale and makes them more productive.

Use Basil Refreshingly Simple Technology for Accountants

Use a refreshingly simple accounting software that's easy to learn and implement. A simple accounting system is a staffing solution that lets you onboard permanent and temporary employees fast. It makes seasonal hiring a smooth process and offers relevant tools for managing workload. 

With the right technology, you can keep track of your tasks and projects and automatically remind your clients of incomplete work so that you meet deadlines. It also makes collaboration easier with unlimited e-signatures that let you access documents anytime, anywhere, for fast job processing. 

It keeps your client information in a central place and lets you chat, prepare reports, and schedule meetings fast.


Tax season is always a demanding time for accountants, and the stress levels can further escalate with the increasing staffing challenges. But there are ways you can significantly reduce stress and transform the tax accounting period from a time of dread to a time of growth and employee engagement. It starts with proper preparation at the beginning of the year, innovative staffing solutions, teamwork, and the use of refreshingly simple technology like Basil. Leveraging the right technology can make collaboration and seasonal staffing easier during hectic periods. Sign up, and new users will get a 30-day free trial.

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