Busy Season 2015: Short-Term Staffing Problems Need Long-Term Solutions

Get a read on the busy season. Join the survey; get the results
Get a read on the busy season. Join the survey; get the results

Not enough trained staff, not enough seasonal staff, not enough staff.

Next question: The smartest moves this busy season? Join the survey; get the results.

By CPA Trendlines Research

The CPA Trendlines annual Busy Season Barometer is eliciting a panoply of lessons learned and plans for a smoother season next year. A lot of professionals’ comments this year are nothing short of outright complaint. And not without reason. It’s been a rough year. If the snow didn’t get you, Forms 3115, 8962, 8965 or 1095a did. Plus all things IRS got more complicated, clients got more desperate and, apparently, tensions rose as CPAs and staff stretched themselves to the limits of professional endurance.

Nancy Casburn

One of the main lessons learned is the need for enough staff — enough staff hired early enough and trained well enough. Nancy Casburn at Casburn CPA in Lee’s Summit, Mo., sums up the importance of the softest of software: “Staffing is the most important reason for failing or succeeding at tax season.”

If we can draw any conclusion from all the staff-related lessons reported in this year’s Busy Season Barometer, it is that the profession needs more staff, better trained staff and an availability of seasonal staff. Given the increasing complexity of tax returns, the solution of this problem — more training, more accounting majors — needs to arrive quickly and be broadly based.