Updated with responses from May 2013. The latest update to the topline results for the CPA Trendlines Busy Season Barometer shows additional confirmation of four key findings, beginning with the across-the-board problems of a late-starting season and buggy software. How did your season compare? We’d love to hear. Send your comments, rants raves, ideas, or questions to me here. – Rick Telberg Key Finding #1: Most practitioners, across all size firms, report a tougher 2013 than 2012. (See chart below for comparisons by size of firm.)
Topic: busy season
Stress management is critical to a successful season. By Sandi Smith, CPA Accountant’s Accelerator I don’t want to stress you out, but we really do need to do something about our stress levels. The American Psychological Association says our kids are getting headaches, having difficulty sleeping, and eating too little or too much due to pressure from school and household finances. The worst part is that most parents were not aware of the severity of their children’s stress. Many adults reported not knowing what to do to change their lifestyle so they could reduce their stress, so it just makes sense to talk about this a little. Here are the most common stress-reducing tasks that some people do, according to [...]
And a couple more ideas for high performing firms. by Ed Mendlowitz Tax Season Opportunity Guide If you have staff, have happy, cheerful, helpful people. Don’t surround yourself with downers and nay-sayers. Make sure they are team players. Part of this is your firm’s culture. It takes work to get people to work together and to focus on doing what it takes to service the client fully, properly and timely. Everyone working together gets it done. You need to create that atmosphere. Here are three things that might help:
Washington brinksmanship spells big crunch for preparers. Join the survey; get the updates. by Rick Telberg CPA Trendlines Research With Tax Season 2013 delayed by last-minute code changes, staffing problems and software glitches, the mood of the profession is turning markedly sour. “IRS delays will cause confusion and errors, and many upset clients,” says Charles Postal at Santos Postal, a five-partner firm in Rockville, Md. “More extensions will depress cash flow.” At the same, Postal adds, “Clients will have more tax needs, but the struggling economy will depress their ability and desire to pay for services.” In order to battle the business pressures, Postal’s firm is “pushing back on fees, using standardized billing by product rather than hours, and adding [...]
The top ten tax questions that too often go unasked. Ed Mendlowitz, CPA Trendlines contributor and tax practice veteran, says he sees many professionals fail to systematically ask clients some basic and important questions. Here’s his top ten list of key questions to ask this year. What would you add? 1. Foreign bank accounts: Make you ask every client if they have a foreign account and if they do report the income and file the proper forms. The penalties are too great if it is wrong.
How to be at your best through April 15th. Tax season can be a marathon. Everyone has their own tips and tricks, habits and techniques for staying sane and healthy. Here are 10 from CPA Trendlines contributor Ed Mendlowitz: Eat lunch out of your office. Go for a 15 minute walk in middle of afternoon instead of eating a snack. Take off either March 17 or 18.
Mergers, tech and the economy create a volatile mix in forecasting filing season. by Rick Telberg Join the survey; get the updates. Washington gridlock, last-minute tax changes and continuing economic uncertainty are undermining tax professionals’ outlook for the 2013 filing season, according to new CPA Trendlines survey results. The new survey results shed light on: The changing mood of the profession and it’s leading competitors and decision-makers, The effects of mergers and new technologies, The chief operational, competitive and economic concerns, Expectations for key financial metrics, including revenues, profits and number of clients, and The strategies firms are implementing to cope with the issues and opportunities. Despite political gridlock and economic uncertainty, practitioners are trending increasingly confident about how well [...]
This busy season will test new processes – and a firm’s leadership. [How are accountants feeling about about busy season? Join the survey; get the answers.] by Dustin Hostetler Flowtivity As many firms get ready to implement and leverage new and improved processes as busy season ramps up, I thought It’d be worth considering a few pointers for the partner leadership group to keep in mind over the next several months. RELATED: The Coming Storm in Staff Turnover (VIDEO) | Three Strategies to Improve Buy-In for Change And I should probably add a disclaimer to take the accounting hats off for a minute and realize this isn’t an exhaustive list nor is it literal in every example. There are always [...]
What the election means for busy season: Join the survey, get the answers. by Rick Telberg The re-election of President Obama may sweep away a few uncertainties in tax and economic policies that have been stymieing business decision-making. But it also sets the stage for a very busy busy-season, complete with last-minute changes in code and forms. And I’d be surprised if the partisan gridlock in Congress suddenly loosens.
Plans for 2013 center on tighter management, new investments. With a better 2012 behind him, Jim McGowan at McGowan and Baker in Davis, Calif., says, “We have invested in tech solutions which make the process of tax prep more predictable and efficient.” So he’s only half kidding when he says his big plan for next year involves approaching retirement. This will mean changes in the way I approach things and change is not always easy.” His main goal: “Try to work less.” Thomas Westfall at Westfall Financial Service in Cincinnati will be looking for ways to “get returns in and out of the office faster” since he added a slew of new clients this year. Bob Quarte a partner at [...]
Majority of practitioners reporting improved results. Complete findings are published in The CPA Trendlines Practitioner’s Tax Season Performance Review and Outlook Report. (Learn more here) by Rick Telberg The CPA Trendlines busy-season mood-barometer is showing significantly higher satisfaction and confidence ratings as the profession grinds through one of its best performances in years.
Tools for balancing work and life in the most special time of year. by Ira Rosenbloom Optimum Strategies LLC Three nights a week and Saturdays. For many accountants, this describes the extra effort that is made to properly service clients during tax season. The quality of life for accountants and their families typically takes a turn for the worse during this special time of year. Most will tolerate the change because it brings cash flow and profits. But are accountants truly making the most of this extra effort? What if it were possible not only to improve tax season but also to enhance profitability and improve quality of life, as well? Here are ten steps that will give you a [...]
And so, too, the mood of the accounting profession. by Rick Telberg The outlook for a better busy season is improving among tax and accounting practitioners, with 16% reporting “much better” operations in January, up from 11% in the year-ago month and continuing a string of monthly year-over-year advances in the CPA Trendlines polling. Complete findings are published in The CPA Trendlines Practitioner’s Tax Season Performance Review and Outlook Report. (Learn more here) Overall, practitioners are headed into the jaws of the February busy season with 57% of them reporting generally positive results. Only 19% are calling for worse and 25% forecast no change.
NEW SURVEY FINDINGS: Tech Investments, Better Economy, More Complex Returns Buoy Busy Season Outlook
Four in five expect the same or better than last year’s busy season. by Rick Telberg As Busy Season 2012 gets into full gear, tax and accounting professionals are holding steadfast to their confidence that this year’s results could show a marked improvement over last year’s, according to current readings of the profession by CPA Trendlines. With January 2012 just beginning, 55% of accountants expect 2012 to be overall “somewhat” or “much” better than 2011, which is relatively unchanged from readings in November and December. To be sure, 26% expect no change from last year, and 19% are bracing for “worse.” In other findings from the CPA Trendlines busy season barometer and related reports: Accountants Expecting a Better Busy Season [...]
Major metrics suggest rebounding business. Most tax and accounting professionals heading into busy season are expecting meaningful improvements over last year in revenues and profits, according to new CPA Trendlines research. Complete findings are published in The CPA Trendlines Practitioner’s Tax Season Performance Review and Outlook Report. (Learn more here)