Year-End and Tax Season Giving You the Blues? Turn ‘Bah Humbug’ into Merriment

It’s supposed to be a merry time of year, but many finance and accounting managers are thinking, “Bah humbug,” thanks to heavy year-end and tax season workloads and pressure to craft business plans for 2015.

In an online survey by Robert Half Finance & Accounting, finance and accounting department decision makers said this time of year is “very challenging” when it comes to ensuring their finance and accounting departments are adequately staffed to meet seasonal deadlines.

The majority of professionals surveyed said increased workload is their biggest concern when it comes to year-end closing work, and nearly 20 percent said their current employees lack needed skills for such tasks. Additional Robert Half research has found hiring highly skilled professionals remains a challenge for financial leaders.

Given the workload volume and the need for staff with specialized skills, now is the time to have a smart year-end hiring and tax season strategies in place. Peter Tiffany, a CPA and managing partner at the firm of Bradshaw, Gordon & Clinkscales in Greenville, S.C., has solid advice for tax season:

  • Use an in-house software system to track client returns.
  • Shift to working more hours at the end of tax season rather than the beginning, to help ease the stress of later returns.
  • Keep your email inbox clean. At the end of the day make sure you look at each email, download the appropriate files and update the client’s profile with key information.
  • Offer small incentives for your team to boost morale.

workload-1Don’t make the mistake of thinking hiring has to come to a screeching halt over the holidays. The work still has to be done, and the candidates who keep their search in high gear are looking to make a move. Best practices for hiring at the end of the year include reviewing your recruiting process, tapping your network and reaching out to a recruiting firm.

Check out our library of articles packed with great hiring tips, such as how to write a great accountant job description, how to set competitive salaries and how to work with an employment agency.

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