Even the most passionate accountant may feel overwhelmed by the idea of tax season. The best way to calm your staff's nerves and keep your team operating smoothly is by preparing for the increased workloads and deadlines.
Many businesses know bringing aboard temporary tax preparation staff is a smart way to survive the season. In fact, companies are increasingly relying on temporary workers to fill a wide range of important jobs such as tax preparation. More than 70 per cent of CFOs in a Robert Half survey reported that interim professionals helped their companies "access specialized skills on an as-needed basis."
Part of the team
Temporary professionals work more efficiently when they are integrated into the company. Introduce them to your full-time staff and be sure everyone understands their roles. Just as you would for full-time hires, offer an orientation session for your temporary workers. This can include a chance for them to observe your permanent accounting staff in action with daily office operations.
Interim staff working on tax preparation, payroll and other important accounting projects are vital to your organization, so include them in relevant communications, such as meetings, companywide emails, and even staff parties and special events. Temporary workers who feel like they are part of the team will be more invested in doing their best work and also will grow to understand the organization on a more intimate level.
Open lines of communication
When welcoming interim staff members into your company, be sure to set up an introductory meeting between them and the manager who will be their designated point of contact. Ensure that this person is equipped to answer any questions your temporary staff might have. For example, the point of contact for a tax preparation team should have access to and an understanding of the company's bookkeeping process.
Dates and updates
To ensure your temporary workers are prepared for their assignments, create a schedule beforehand that lists important work milestones so each worker understands your expectations. Encourage your temporary staff to ask questions and offer feedback frequently and, in turn, provide them with updates and encouragement along the way.
By integrating interim accounting and finance professionals into your organization, providing them and your permanent tax prep team with the necessary support to succeed and keeping the lines of communication open, your company can make it through tax preparation season with your sanity intact.
Preparing your full-time staff
Of course, your full-time staff are an important part of the tax season team, too. Don't forget about them. The training process for those staff members involved in tax preparation should begin well before December. Consider encouraging this team to attend tax classes that cover topics like tax software, new tax codes, and preparation of federal and local taxes. Requiring the completion of such courses allows you to observe how reliable and skilled your team is, and you'll have a much clearer idea of which staff members will be best for specialized responsibilities. For example, some employees may demonstrate an extensive knowledge of government regulations, while others might be particularly adept at finding ways to minimize tax liability and maximize deductions.