Study: Top Concern At Tax Time Is Too Much Work

As CPA firms ended their 2019 tax season, 40% reported that the top concern was the consequences of workload compression on morale and quality. The biggest concern of 30% of respondents was keeping staff and clients informed on new tax law changes.

That’s according to the 2019 Post-Tax Season Survey by Right Networks, which hosts cloud-based tax and accounting applications. The survey was sent to more than 3,500 members and prospective members of the CPA Firm Management Association (CPAFMA) April 18-April 30, drawing responses from 162 firms.

“Entering tax season, firms were balancing workload compression with the education of staff and clients on the implications of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” says Roman Kepczyk, director of firm strategy at Right Networks. “Add in late legislative updates on tax software and you can easily understand why most firms were in scramble mode from the very start of busy season.”

Fifty-five percent of respondents said this busy season was either substantially more difficult or slightly more difficult than in the past.

To prepare for tax season, many firms upgraded software or hired staff to handle the work. Seventy-five percent of firms increased staffing, including accountants, administrative staff and interns. Training new staff on firm systems proved a challenge for half the respondents, so firms may look to train earlier in the year in the future, the report said.

When asked about cloud services, “72% reaffirmed the convenience of anytime/anywhere access and 67% touted the secure environment provided,” the survey says. Also, 34% cited improved collaboration with personnel and 20% cited improved collaboration with clients.

“Tax season is always the most stressful time of year for CPAs, and 2018 filings were expected to be the most complicated in recent memory. Yet it appears that a combination of increased staffing and use of cloud-hosted applications helped firms successfully meet the challenge,” according to Kepczyk.

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