SURVEY: Confronting Coronavirus Chaos

Preparing for the new paradigm of economic and medical realities.

Today's commentators (clockwise from top left): Martin, Zacarias, Finning, Simms, Bowers, Collins
Today's commentators (clockwise from top left): Martin, Zacarias, Finning, Simms, Bowers, Collins

https://www.research.net/r/busy20econBy CPA Trendlines Research

CPAs are hunkering down for a quadruple-whammy as the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic slams society and the economy. Information is tenuous and changing.

See All CPA Trendlines Special Coronavirus Coverage

More: Tax Season Turns Ugly under Coronavirus | Lessons from the Trenches of Tax Season | Coronavirus Rattles Tax Season | More Firms Falling Behind | Accountants Cautiously Bullish on the Economy
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No one knows for sure what’s going to happen, but in the tax & accounting industry, four things are pretty certain:

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Geared Up for Exponential Growth at Mowery & Schoenfeld CPAs

A conversation with Gale Crosley, growth consultant.

The Principles behind the Leaps and Bounds of Mowery & Schoenfeld

By CPA Trendlines

More Gale Crosley here

When Jeffrey L. Mowery and Keith A. Schoenfeld decided to bail out of the big firms and start their own, they were just a couple of CPAs with a couple of folding tables and a dream.

That was then. This is now. After a series of astonishing leaps and bounds, they have raised their revenues from $3.5 million in 2008 to over $17 million today. And they plan to double that in five years.

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The Scourge of Shoddy Tax Preparers

Man staring at pile of paperworkCongress needs to step in ... and make it stick this time.

By CPA Trendlines Research

Are you a shoddy tax preparer? We doubt it.

MORE: Tax Season Turns Ugly under Coronavirus | Lessons from the Trenches of Tax Season | Coronavirus Rattles Tax Season | The IRS Needs More to Get More | More Firms Falling Behind | Does IRS Need a Practitioner Services Division?
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PRO Membership in CPA Trendlines demonstrates a certain commitment to professionalism – an understanding that tax preparation isn’t just a means of making money. It’s a responsibility and an obligation to do the job well.
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Tax Season Turns Ugly under Coronavirus

CPA Trendlines Busy Season Barometer shows a marked decline in practitioners reporting a "better" year and increases in "worse."

Early optimism turns to fear and dismay as the COVID-19 crisis spreads.

Busy Season Barometer:
How Does This Year's Busy Season Compare to Last Year's?
BetterWorse, or About the Same?

By CPA Trendlines Research

Whether the Covid-19 panic is much ado about nothing or not enough being done about something, America’s tax and accounting practitioners are already seeing their early-season optimism shift into a mid-season nosedive.

More on Tax Season 2020: Tech Tools for Working through the Coronavirus  |  What’s NOT to Like about Tax Season?   |  Why ‘Tick and Tie’ Needs to Die   |  Lessons from the Trenches of Tax Season   |  Coronavirus Rattles Tax Season   |  Tax Season Funnies: The ‘Service’ in IRS   |  Can Your Reviewers Answer These 10 Questions?   |  Top Tech Choices for the Virtual Firm  |

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The CPA Trendlines 2020 Busy Season Barometer has been fielding responses since early January. And, for a while, things looked good. Until the end of February, early respondents generally saw their season moving along swimmingly, the economy booming, clients doing well, families hunky-dory. This year was going to be so much better than last year.

That was then. This is now. READ MORE →

The Celebrity Accountant

A high-profile accountant, played by Paul Giamatti, struggles to reel in the spending of wealthy clientele – one, in particular, played by Kieran Culkin.

More Tax Season Funnies here

Giamatti’s character is frustrated by the spending habits of his clients, as he counsels them against over-the-top financial decisions including the purchase of a solid gold jet-ski, private plane, and claiming a tiger as a tax write-off.

In the last moments of the spot, Culkin’s character calls the accountant to boast of his latest purchase, a Volkswagen.

 

Lessons from the Trenches of Tax Season

The points not taught in college.

By CPA Trendlines Research

The CPA Trendlines Busy Season Barometer:
What’s different this year?
Join the survey. Get the results.

CPA Trendlines’ annual Busy Season Barometer is always a useful instrument for peeking into other professionals’ tax prep practices. Among the data that can mined from survey results:

  • How other practitioners are doing this season
  • How this season compares with last year’s
  • What other practitioners are doing differently this year
  • What practitioners have learned since last year
  • How others feel business and the economy will go – for the nation, for their firms, for their families
  • How practitioners rate their own firms – and why

MORE: Coronavirus Rattles Tax Season | The IRS Needs More to Get More | More Firms Falling Behind | Does IRS Need a Practitioner Services Division? | IRS Urged to Form Tax Preparer Strategy | Accountants Cautiously Bullish on the Economy | SURVEY RESULTS: Tax Pros Forecast a Better 2020 | Can the IRS Enforce the Tax Code?
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What tax preparers have learned since last year is always especially interesting. The comments of professionals in the trenches are a list of all the lessons not taught in college. Here are a few of them…
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Coronavirus Rattles Tax Season

Can you turn a crisis into an opportunity?

The CPA Trendlines Busy Season Barometer
Benchmarks, trends & analysis

Join the survey. Get the results.

By CPA Trendlines Research

Coronavirus—Covid-19—is coming. Don’t imagine it won’t reach your community. It will. And even if you manage to keep it out of your office, and even if its lethality is less than the flu, just the threat of Covid-19 is already impacting many tax and accounting firms.

How accountants are preparing for the worst:

  • Do you have the portals, web-based apps, and cloud accounts necessary for staff to work from home? Have you tested them? Maybe you should have an everybody-works-from-home-day drill.
  • Do you have policies and procedures in place for home-based work?
  • Do individual staff have plans for caring for their family without disrupting work?
  • Have you prepared clients for the possibility of electronic delivery of data and documentation? Do they understand what to do?
  • Are you ready to request filing extensions due to staff or client illness or local quarantine?
  • Have you established sanitation procedures for your office?
  • Do you have a vision of the worst-case scenario? This could include a) long-term quarantines of your office, other businesses, and all clients, b) widespread illness and absence of staff, c) general economic downturn, d) interruptions in cash flow, e) slower than usual responses from the IRS, and f) well…what else can go wrong?

The CPA Trendlines Busy Season Barometer has always asked a variety of poignant questions about everything from the status of firms to the state of the economy. This is the first year, however, that it includes a question about disease. READ MORE →

The IRS Needs More to Get More

Man with net chasing winged moneyTighter enforcement leads to more service needs.

The CPA Trendlines Busy Season Barometer:
Today's Bonus Question:
Are You Ready for Covid-19 Conditions?

Join the survey. Get the results.

By CPA Trendlines Research

Between 2010 and 2019, the budget of the Internal Revenue Service was cut by 20.4 percent, after adjusting for inflation. The situation has been severely aggravated by legislative changes that demand more work from the IRS even as it has less to work with.

MORE: More Firms Falling Behind | Does IRS Need a Practitioner Services Division? | IRS Urged to Form Tax Preparer Strategy | Accountants Cautiously Bullish on the Economy | SURVEY RESULTS: Tax Pros Forecast a Better 2020 | Can the IRS Enforce the Tax Code? | Tax Pros Upbeat on Cusp of Busy Season | IRS Undertakes Overhaul
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Over the past decade, the IRS has had to spend

  • more than $2.6 billion to implement the Affordable Care Act
  • more than $500 million to implement the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act
  • more than $600 million to implement the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act

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More Firms Falling Behind

Rate Your Firm Performance metrics decline from last year
CPA Trendlines Research Annual Busy Season Barometer

More accountants see their businesses weakening under competitive pressures.

The CPA Trendlines Busy Season Barometer:
Today's Bonus Question:
Are You Ready for Covid-19 Conditions?

Join the survey. Get the results.

By CPA Trendlines Research

Competition among tax and accounting firms is clearly intensifying, according to new readings from the annual CPA Trendlines Busy Season Barometer. It's a stark warning.

MORE on TAX SEASON 2020: What Makes a Good Tax Season Client?  |  Call the IRS for Answers? Good Luck!  | Do Your Clients Feel Important? | 5 Small Leaks to Beware During Tax Season | 5 Tax Review Keys | 4 Reasons to Push Ahead with Tax Question Research | One Can’t-Skip Touch for Tax Season | 5 Steps for Tax Season Success | Help Tax Clients Help You | 3 Steps to Tax Season Happiness | 12 Ways to Have More Fun This Tax Season | Bill with the Tax Return, Get Paid Faster
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The CPA Trendlines annual Busy Season Barometer asks a lot of questions about how things are going at tax and accounting firms, and the results are always interesting for comparative purposes and, sometimes, advice from peers.

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Call the IRS for Answers? Good Luck!

IRS Levels of Service for Total Enterprise, Accounts Management, Consolidated ACS, and Installment Agreement Telephone Lines for Fiscal Years 2015–2019

IRS insists your call is important. But the numbers don't add up.

The CPA Trendlines Busy Season Barometer:
New year, new strategies

Join the survey. Get the results.

By CPA Trendlines Research

Nothing kills a day like a phone call to the Internal Revenue Service. A caller put on hold during the busy season literally has enough time to go out to lunch and come back before anyone answers.

MORE on TAX SEASON 2020: Does IRS Need a Practitioner Services Division? |  Slow Start for Tax Pro E-filingIRS Urged to Form Tax Pro Strategy | Accountants Cautiously Bullish on Economy | Tax Pros Forecast Better 2020 | Can IRS Enforce the Tax Code? | Tax Pros Upbeat on Busy Season | IRS Undertakes Overhaul
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Unfortunately, given the inhuman complexity of the IRS Tax Code, taxpayers often need to call for guidance or advice. Last year, 99.3 million did so, and only 28.6 million of them actually hung on long enough to talk with someone. Over the course of the year, the average time it took to get connected was 16.2 minutes.

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Does IRS Need a Practitioner Services Division?

Typing numbers for income tax return with pen and calculator

Practitioner orgs say “Yes!”

By CPA Trendlines Research

The Internal Revenue Service has less than six months to provide Congress with a comprehensive strategy for providing taxpayers with better service. The report, due July 1, is mandated by the Taxpayer First Act of 2019.

MORE: IRS Urged to Form Tax Preparer Strategy | Accountants Cautiously Bullish on the Economy | SURVEY RESULTS: Tax Pros Forecast a Better 2020 | Can the IRS Enforce the Tax Code? | Tax Pros Upbeat on Cusp of Busy Season | IRS Undertakes Overhaul
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The IRS is already hammering out a strategy on several fronts – enforcement, technology, modernization, training, cybersecurity, overall structure and organization, and, yes, taxpayer experience.
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