Avoid Next Year’s Tax Season Staffing Disaster

Have you recovered from your after tax season depression? My ex-wife told me that life moved on without me during tax season. What that really meant was that she felt justified in buying new cars and jewelry while I was away. If you noticed a few new items in your house after tax season, you might want to reconsider your staffing for next tax season now. That is – unless you feel your spouse deserves a new loaded 2017 Ford Expedition in your absence. Maybe spending a few more hours at the homestead from January through April would be a good idea. Getting staffing right assures that you’ll be occupying your side of the bed next year.

Determining the staff you need for next tax season is easy if you have the right information. You need just two pieces of information.

First, estimate the number of tax returns you expect to prepare next tax season. Break it down by type of return such as individuals, S corporations, C corporations, and partnerships. Projecting your workload doesn’t require IBM’s Big Blue super computer. It should be as simple as determining how many of each return type you prepared last year and allowing for 5% or 10% growth.

Second, look at the returns prepared by each of your staff last tax season. Create a table in a spreadsheet with staff names on the Y axis and number of returns by return type as the X axis. Your aim is to determine, on average, what a typical preparer accomplishes for you during tax season. For instance, I know that a competent individual tax preparer will complete about 150 – 160 tax returns during tax season. If I know I have 1,500 personal returns to get done next year, I need ten preparers. The math’s pretty simple. You can prorate if you use part time staff.

If you’re not tracking tax return statistics for your firm, you’re flying totally blind when it comes to staffing. Your practice management software should make compiling the statistics easy. If it takes more than an hour to recap last tax season, you need new software.

Start thinking about next tax season today. Otherwise, your spouse may list your bedroom for rent on AirBnB next year, or you may find your next child doesn’t look very much like you.

Thanks for reading!

Frank Stitely, CPA, CVA

Clarity Practice Management

1 Response

  1. Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you penning this article and the rest of the site is also very good.

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